The World Cup Finals 2018 week is nearing its end and what a great week it has been! An eager, excited and a bit jittery atmosphere has filled the host town, reaching culmination with Friday’s and Saturday’s successful events (unfortunately, the races on Sunday had to be canceled due to heavy winds).
In the final analysis however, the Finals are “just a warm-up” for next year’s World Championships here in Åre. We wondered about the general feeling in town and decided to ask a few locals about their expectations for next year’s Championships.
Tomas Olinder, owner of Broken, Timmerstugan and Åregården, finds that events such as the World Cup and the World Championships 2019 are extremely important to position Åre as a leading ski resort.
-We have many returning guests who first came for the World Championships in 2007 and are now happy to come back to Åre regularly. These kinds of events provide a reason for many international guests to find their way here for the first time and most are fascinated when they arrive.
As a hotel and restaurant owner, Tomas has already begun preparing for next year’s Championships and his expectations are high.
– We are looking forward to Åre 2019 and to providing our guests the best possible service.
Åsa Andersson, who is responsible for events and conferences at Copperhill Mountain Lodge, moved to Åre 15 years ago and thinks that the World Cup and World Championship events are a source of great pride for the community.
– I think that an event like this is great marketing for the destination and opens up many new opportunities for the town. As a local resident, I am proud when I see TV images of the same hills that I see from my own window.
Åsa is looking forward to being part and contributing to the event.
– It is a bit difficult to grasp that we are hosting the World Championships but it is also very exciting!
Bobbo Nordenskiöld, a former ski racer and Åre community leader, is excited about the World Championships.
– My father was the one who managed to bring the 1954 edition of the FIS World Ski Championships here and the town has really benefited from all the development that has happened ever since. We have great experience in ski event organization and are one of the leading organizers when it comes to race organization inside the nets. Thanks to our natural environment, we are also the only one this far in the North that can offer slopes with 1000 meters of vertical drop.
Bobbo finds it is fantastic that Åre will host the World Championships 2019 and is convinced that the competitions will be at a high level. However, he also thinks that more focus must be paid to the overall customer experience
– I think we need to have a separate team focused on ensuring a great customer experience – there needs to be program along the road from town to the Arena and in the venue the visitors should receive flags, funny hats and Glühwein to create a great atmosphere. We do not really have the same tradition here in Sweden as in Central Europe and that’s why the organizers will need to help create a great atmosphere.
Although the expectations are high, the final countdown is on and Åre is ready to shine!