Bundle up, Bachelor Nation: the Winter Games are around the corner.
On the upcoming Olympic-themed spinoff, two dozen-plus singles from the U.S. franchise and a smattering of countries across the world will gather at a Vermont resort to compete in winter sporting events, with the winners of the challenges earning date cards — and according to fan favorite Ashley Iaconetti, it’s “better” than Bachelor in Paradise.
“It was fun because the activities broke stuff up a little more, so it wasn’t just lounging around and drinking and eating all day,” she told PEOPLE at the Lord & Taylor/The League speed-dating event in New York City on Tuesday, joined by fellow franchise stars Dean Unglert, Eric Bigger and Amanda Stanton.
“ was pretty much constantly hanging out,” the 29-year-old explained. “We didn’t drink until the sun went down, so we never drank when we were doing athletic things.”
“Everybody was cool, everybody was open, everybody was just free,” said Bigger, 29. “It was a good time.”
Unglert said his experience on Paradise — how could anyone forget that disastrous love triangle? — shaped the way he approached the Winter Games.
“Bachelor in Paradise was a good learning lesson for me,” he said. “I don’t want to say it wasn’t fun, but it definitely wasn’t fun. It was a growing experience, I guess. So with Winter Games, I was able to take that knowledge and new perspective that I gained in Paradise and apply it to dating there. It was good.”
Plus, his Colorado upbringing came in handy.
“I’ve been snowboarding since I was 3 years old, so I have an affinity for snow sports,” he said. “Except for ice skating! There were a couple of skating sports, and I just wasn’t very good at those.”
And while we’ll have to wait until the show premieres to find out if any of them found love, Bigger said “sparks flew” — and of course, a few tears were shed by Iaconetti.
“The was at the end of the first 24 hours there, and it’s exhausting,” she said. “It’s a whole bunch of scenarios unfolding in front of my face — I’m seeing my guy friends go on dates and I’m seeing another guy that I may have interest in having interest in another girl. So it’s just like, a culmination of emotions!”
And considering they’re pretty much professional daters, Iaconetti, Unglert, Bigger and Stanton had plenty of tips to share with members of The League at the speed-dating event.
“Eye contact, body language — just being authentic and feeling yourself,” Bigger said. “Just feeling the moment and letting it all happen instead of trying to force things. Just be natural! It’s not about being smooth, it’s about being you. And if smooth is you, cool, if not, then it’s alright. Just be yourself.”
“My advice is just to put it all out there,” said Iaconetti. “I’m kind of shameless — I just embrace myself so much now at my old age of 29. Like, whatever, this is me, accept it. I’m not going to put on an act.”
Unglert, 26, said he’s learned that communication is “the most important” when it comes to relationships.
“I do have a podcast called Help! I Suck at Dating, so I think anyone that takes my advice should take it with a bit grain of salt,” he said. “But the one thing that has become abundantly clear to me is it’s very important to be honest. I think I’m honest to a fault nowadays! I’m overly communicative and overly honest, which sometimes has gotten me into trouble. But communication is so important.”
And all four stars were decked out in their own approved date night looks, all available exclusively at Lord & Taylor and mostly under $ 100.
“For a date night, you want to look good, but you don’t want to look like you tried too hard,” said Stanton, 27. “So I usually go with a nice pair of jeans, heeled boots, a cute top and a jacket. I don’t think I’ve actually ever worn heels on a date, unless I was going somewhere really nice.”
“Even if they don’t realize it, I think subconsciously guys definitely notice what a girl is wearing,” added Unglert. “You guys put a lot of effort in and you deserve all of the ogling that you get — respectfully of course!”
The Bachelor Winter Games premieres Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, with subsequent episodes airing Feb. 15, 20, and 22.