Hosting an Olympic Games has the ability to considerably change a city and community, its image and infrastructure, with long-lasting effects in host cities and regions. However, securing long term function of Olympic sites and venues has proven a difficult task, as the increasingly specialist nature and scale of venues pose a major challenge for post-Olympic use. Appropriate planning is sited as central to achieving positive legacies as a result of the games. Legacy planning and policy development expanded considerably in the context of the post-war Winter Olympic Games held in Europe between 1948 and 2014. The development of legacy policy and legacy planning have affected the design, construction and legacy of venues throughout the history of the Winter Olympic Games. Through a rigorous horizontal comparative analysis of all post 1948 Olympic Winter Games candidatures and official reports from within Europe, alongside a review of Olympic legacy policy, it is clear that richer understanding of the impact of past Olympic Winter Games policy and planning developments on the built environment benefits both present and future planning.