The Winter Games are officially upon us! No, not the Olympics. We’re talking about the real competition—or, at least the real competition when it comes to Bachelor Nation. The franchise’s latest spinoff, The Bachelor Winter Games, premieres tomorrow, Feb. 13, bringing together past Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants from around the globe to compete in winter-themed athletic challenges. But since this is a dating game at heart, it won’t be all snow sports all the time. Off the slopes, there’s sure to be enough hookups, drama, and rose ceremonies to keep us glued to the screen.
Many fan favorites will be taking part in the ABC franchise’s latest venture, including 26-year-old Dean Unglert. After first appearing on Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette in 2017, he proved to be a true heartbreaker on last summer’s Bachelor in Paradise. Now, he’s looking to redeem himself by putting his playboy ways behind him. “Going into Winter Games, I feel like I had this stigma where people were like, ‘Oh, Dean? F—k that guy,’” Unglert recently told InStyle. “So for me, it was a matter of just showing that I've learned from the mistakes that I've made in my dating history and just kind of continuing to learn.”
As for what he’s learned after two failed attempts at finding love on realty TV? “I didn’t learn a lot on The Bachelorette—it was Bachelor in Paradise where I learned,” he said. “I think what I did well on The Bachelorette was communicate, and I really focused in on what I wanted. But on Bachelor in Paradise, I was a little more lackadaisical, I guess. I didn’t communicate clearly enough, and that was kind of my Achilles heel. Over the past six months or so, I've learned that communication is much more important than I ever thought it was—so Winter Games will hopefully be a reflection of that.”
While Unglert was looking to change his public perception, contestants like Ashley Iaconetti showed up for Winter Games just looking to have a good time. “I went into it with a solid group of friends—specifically, a good group of guy friends,” she said. “That’s always nice because you can ask them for more advice than you can ask the girls. So I just kind of went in being like, ‘I want to hang out with my friends and have a blast. This is a competition thing plus a romance thing, so if it doesn't work out romantically, I have a great crew to hangout with. And we'll have fun doing things I've never done before, like being on skis.’”
In terms of the “romance thing,” Iaconetti wasn’t quite counting on finding her happily ever after in the mountains. “I've done this three times before, and it hasn't worked out yet,” she said. “So I didn’t go into this expecting anything, and I think going in with that attitude was good for me.”
Iaconetti’s past attempts at televised relationships may have hardened her outlook on the process a bit, and fairly so. But less seasoned members of the franchise, like Eric Bigger, were still hopeful to find love on Winter Games. After coming in third on Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette, Bigger was eager to give romance another go—although he was surprised to find himself in uncharted territory this time around.
“This was really, really different because when I first came into The Bachelorette, there were a lot of guys and just one girl,” said Bigger. “Here, there were a lot of guys and then several girls. It was like, ‘Do I go right after what I want? Do I sit back and wait? Is it all about timing? Like, how does this really work?’ It’s a different flow, so you have to adjust.”
The Bachelor Winter Games premieres Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.