The sun is shining over Renfjället as suddenly the clouds begin to darken to produce a rain shower yet just an hour later the sun reappears. Despite the typical April weather, spring winter in Åre is a wonderful season and not least during the Åre Winter Finale.
Spring is in the air and although the snow now begins to release its grip on the region, the ski season’s final weekend in Åre is bound to see a huge party taking over the village. The schedule for the last two ski weekends features such major events as Skutskjutet, Ski Finals and Åre Sessions and draws great crowds to enjoy the 5th season and spring skiing.
Sunday, 21 April saw 1400 ski enthusiasts, including former ski cross champion Anna Holmlund, take part in the traditional Skutskjutet. The annual family downhill contest is one of the season highlights and delivered a great ski festival despite heavy winds.
– It was a lot of fun, a wonderful day with much laughing and skiing even though the weather did not cooperate with us, said Niklas Carlsson, CEO of Åre 2019, who is also one of the organizers of Skutskjutet.
True joy at skiing is also what the Åre Ski Finals are all about, starting with a ski cross event on Thursday, and continuing over the weekend with moguls, parallel slalom and cross-country sprint competitions. At the Åre Ski Finals, the professional racers compete side-by-side with the amateurs. The idea for the event is based on the so-called Åre Ski Week that was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s.
This year Åre 2019 is sponsoring the parallel slalom competition taking place on Saturday and yields its own Team Åre 2019. Three students from the ski high school in Malung, Emelie Henning, Matilda Grundén and Louise Jansson, will be sporting the red and white ski suits in the Åre 2019 look and feel.
– It feels good to be part of it. It is all about racing from now on and we think it is only natural that we support a large local event where the most complete all-round skiers are crowned, notes Carlsson, and continues:
– Obviously we hope that the Åre 2019 team will dominate the ladies’ category.
The coming weekend will also see Åre Sessions take place in Åre for the second time. The inaugural edition in 2017 was a great success and expectations will likely be exceeded this year again. Music shows and much more will go down on stages both in the village and on the mountain. Select sneak previews kick off the program on Thursday evening.
Åre Sessions is a unique concept that combines skiing with live performances by well-known bands such as Rebecca & Fiona, Icona Pop and Graveyard. Entrance to the shows is included in the ski pass and last year’s premiere drew 8000 visitors to the final weekend of skiing. This year, more than 10 000 are expected. Liza Nilsson, head of marketing at Luger, the company tasked with the event’s organization, finds that Åre presents a unique opportunity to present something that has not been available on the Swedish market previously.
– Åre not only provides the best skiing in Sweden but it also features many inspiring companies and actors who make this entire festival possible. The village is full of creative talent who have enabled Åre Sessions to develop and grow.