The 2018 Winter Olympics are well underway in PyeongChang, South Korea. Thus adding to the necessity for a fire playlist to warm the sports’ cold surroundings.
The Winter Olympics is arguably my most looked forward to sporting event. I could watch skiing and halfpipe snowboarding alone for the rest of my life. As with every great sporting event, a killer playlist is key.
As an avid skier myself, my preferred winter activity is far and away, spending time on the slopes of my local winter park. Part of what has made my skiing experience so memorable over the years is (surprise, surprise) music.
Before I had skis of my own, I rented them. There was always a waiting line at the winter park’s resident ski shop. Thankfully, the rad staff always had great taste in music and blared it from a boombox placed by the cash register. The same music would also play out of the speakers at the top of the chairlift servicing the bigger slopes. Made up of a mix of “old hands” and snowboarding high schoolers, the music reflected the ranging demographic. “Enter Sandman” would play after “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, followed by “All Along the Watchtower” and it just worked. Somehow, the sun-soaked anthems made you feel a certain swagger as you raced down the slopes egging on your friends.
Just like a fine wine complements a delicious meal, the perfect playlist enhances the enjoyment of any sporting event — most of all the Olympics. Luckily, I’ve got you covered with my NDSU 2018 Winter Olympics Warm Up available on Spotify.
‘Immigrant Song’ — Led Zeppelin
From the opening verse, “I come from the land of the ice and snow,” this Led Zeppelin staple solidifies its spot on any winter sports playlist. The viking conqueror storyline and marching bass line add to the power of this song. It demands victory and as a fan of Team USA, it is what we demand.
Other Medal Winners: “Ramble On,” “Rock and Roll,” “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” — The Doors
‘Snow (Hey Oh)’ — Red Hot Chili Peppers
Like I mentioned before, the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is a prominent feature in my fond ski memories. The reason “Snow (Hey Oh)” specifically belongs on everyone’s Winter Olympics playlist goes beyond its name. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ patent brand of funky, rhythm-centric rock is full of feel-good confidence. To me, Red Hot Chili Peppers will always be synonymous with Shaun White. It most likely has something to do with their shared home state and the vision of California snowboarders. Whatever the reason, a healthy dose of the RHCP is essential for me.
Other Medal Winners: “Can’t Stop,” “Around The World,” “Give It Away”
‘Purple Haze’ — Jimi Hendrix
I largely blame a 2014 Sochi Olympic Games commercial for tying this iconic tune to the Olympics for me. The commercial featured a U.S. ski jumper soaring through the air perfectly timed with Hendrix’s vocals, “‘Excuse me while I kiss the sky. Ever since then, the association has stuck with me. Not only is this song an undeniable classic from an all-time guitar god, its lyrics lend themselves flawlessly to the enhancement of Winter Olympics viewing.
Other Medal Winners: “All Along the Watchtower,” “Smoke On the Water;” “Deep Purple,” “Dream On” — Aerosmith
‘Free Ride’ — The Edgar Winter Group
I am obsessed with Edgar Winter, especially the album from which this song comes from, “They Only Come Out At Night.” It is by far Winter’s best album with multiple hits spanning both sides. One of the classic rock additions to the playlist, it is such a feel-good energizing song; it just makes sense. It is destined to have you down the hill and eagerly waiting for the chairlift to go again.
Other Medal Winners: “Born To Be Wild” — Steppenwolf;” Runnin’ Down A Dream” — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
‘Epic’ — Faith No More
An essential from the late ’80s, this heavy metal/hip-hop/funk conglomerate bleeds confidence. It eats your doubts for breakfast with its jagged nicotine-stained bridgework.
Transitioning from punchy, confronted verses to a rolling beach wave of a chorus, this song makes an impact in its unexpected contrast. Perfect for psyching yourself up before heading down that black diamond or calming your nerves before your favorite competes for gold.
Other Medal Winners: “Man in the Box” — Alice in Chains; “Smells Like Teen Spirit” — Nirvana; “All The Small Things” — blink-182
‘Bang a Gong (Get It On)’ — T. Rex
This song may seem out of place at first. However, I ask you to consider the groove factor and playful nature of this song. You will no doubt agree that the song pairs well with friendly, good-natured competition. Such as Shaun White’s ego trip in the qualifying round of halfpipe, or the confident wit of American downhill skier Bryce Bennett.
This song proves that being an outlier doesn’t have to be a bad thing, which is equally as valuable a lesson in life and when watching the Olympics.