When Singapore's 22 athletes compete at the Asian Winter Games (AWG) which begin on Sunday in Sapporo, Japan, most will venture into uncharted territory.
After all, competing on ice is not the conventional activity of choice for the Republic's tropical city dwellers. And given that Asia has many world-class winter athletes, Singapore's debutants will also likely be competing alongside some of the best in their sport.
With participation across three sports - short-track speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey - this is Singapore's biggest contingent yet at the quadrennial event, up from a single representative at the last edition in Kazakhstan.
There is excitement for a national ice hockey team bound for their most high-level competition yet, but there are also nerves.
"We're just a bit worried about the level (of play)," said forward Lam Kin Yu.
"Many of the countries we're up against have a deep and young bench because they have development programmes that have been going on for 10, 15 years."
TEAM SINGAPORE AT THE 2017 ASIAN WINTER GAME
SHORT-TRACK SPEED SKATING
Ang Yu Jin
Chen Pei Huan
Chiong Woon Lip
Lam Kin Yu
Liu Zhi Yang
Loh Chee Seng
Siah Ming Zhe
Singapore are eyeing a medal in the second tier, where they have been grouped with Hong Kong, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Mongolia and the United Arab Emirates. They expect the stiffest opposition in the round-robin tournament to come from Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, who they meet on Saturday, one day before the Games' opening ceremony.
Countries like Japan, South Korea and China play in the four-team top tier. Kazakhstan complete the top division.
Added Lam, 39: "We're going for the experience but also to see where we stand against our opponents. The competition exposure will allow us to work on our tactics and try out different formations."
They leave for Sapporo tomorrow, while the remaining Singapore athletes will fly to Japan from either training or competition stops around the world.
Figure skaters Chloe Ing and Yu Shuran will be fresh from competing at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, which begins today in South Korea.
Ing, 18, told The Straits Times yesterday in a phone interview from Gangneung: "Being able to compete against (world-class skaters), watch their practices... it's a good experience, especially for developing countries like Singapore.
"Just to be in this environment is quite different from a junior competition.
"We're working towards attaining personal bests and skating well."
Four years after his debut at the AWG and now more confident and competent, short-track speed skater Lucas Ng's abilities and expectations of himself have altered greatly.
The 29-year-old has been training full-time, even moving to South Korea, the top performing nation at the Winter Olympics with 21 golds, so he can train more and at a higher level.
Said Ng, who moved to Goyang in October: "Short-track speed skating is never about timing - it's about ranking and placing and it's really unpredictable.
"Anything can happen, so all I can do is do my best to get stronger and faster, so that I will have a better opportunity when I race alongside the best."