With the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games now under way, it might be too late to book a trip to the Games, much less an affordable one. But, there are plenty of other places where you can capture the winter Olympic spirit without shelling out a small fortune. And don’t limit yourself by thinking you have to go during the Games. Certainly, the magic of any Olympic Games will linger long after the cauldron has gone out. That said, when planning a gold medal trip, consider all the potential destinations where Olympic dreams are birthed and realized, such as athlete training centers or previous host cities. Over the next few days I’ll highlight two affordable spots close to home that continue to offer Olympic-themed experiences or special events during and after the current Games! If you plan accordingly and take advantage of available deals, you can even go for under $500! Colorado Springs A natural starting point for a quick overnight or weekend getaway is Colorado Springs! While Colorado Springs has never hosted the Olympic Games, it serves as the headquarters for the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Olympic Training Center programs. You can visit the U.S. Olympic Complex, which has housed both summer and winter Olympians like swimmer Michael Phelps and snowboarder Shaun White. Tours are free and you just might catch a glimpse of an athlete working out or walking across campus. The famous Broadmoor Hotel has a deep connection to Olympic history since it was the former site of the Broadmoor Skating Club, once home to Olympic figure skaters like 1968 gold medalist Peggy Fleming. Nowadays, the club has its own training facility at World Arena, which is home base for current U.S. ladies champion Rachael Flatt and recent training ground of two-time U.S. men’s champion Jeremy Abbott, both hopefuls for Vancouver. Most practices are open to the public, and skaters often test out their programs in front of live audiences in special “Fire and Ice” exhibitions. While in the Springs, you can also stop by the World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame ($5 for adults) showcasing memorabilia like the red dress Michelle Kwan wore for her Scheherazade long program during the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, as well as an exhibit on Norwegian skater and Hollywood film star Sonja Henning, featuring the only known restored copy of her performance at the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Deals: If you want to stay at the upscale Broadmoor Hotel, which is Celebrating its 50th consecutive year as a five-star hotel by Forbes Travel Guide(formerly Mobil Travel Guide), winter is the best time for value. The Spectacular Winter Savings package, available through February 28, starts at $80 per person, per night based on double occupancy. Other deals and discounts are also available in town. Or, stay at any one of the more affordable B&Bs in the charming Victorian town of Manitou Springs, located right at the base of Pikes Peak just four miles from Colorado Springs. No matter where you choose to stay you will have an amazing Olympic Experience when you visit the Springs!