The FIS World Ski Championships Åre 2019 are creating positive legacies around the community. Thanks to the investments in Duved, the venue for the 2019 Championships qualification races is becoming one of the main training centers for Swedish ski clubs.
Just eight kilometers from the Swedish National Alpine Arena, Duved is a small community belonging to the Åre municipality. With just around 1000 people calling it home, Duved is less well-known than the village of Åre, which is popular as the home of the ski resort with a lively square, a number of restaurants and activity all year round.
In terms of skiing, however, Duved is a formidable option. Its top-of-line infrastructure of 10 lifts and 20 slopes is even connected with the slopes of the Tegefjäll cabin village. Duved’s gentle slopes and compact set-up are especially liked by families and well suited for various skill levels.
During the Åre 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, a total of four competitions will be staged in Duved as the locality will play host to the ladies’ and men’s qualification races in slalom and giant slalom. Since these events at the World Ski Championships typically see more than 200 entered athletes including many from developing ski countries, FIS introduced the so-called ‘quali races’ first for the men’s tech events and later also for the ladies’ contests. The qualification races in Duved will be held from 11-16 February. The top 50 from each race will gain the right to partake in the medal events in Åre between 14-17 February.
In preparation for 2019, the slope facilities at Duved have undergone substantial development, including enhanced snow-making, improved flood lighting and slope widening as well as other terrain work.
Thanks to its now leading-edge snow-making system, Duved was the first lift to open in Åre on 25 November this year and has been in operation since. What’s more, because of its very high-quality, convenient set-up, Duved is in the process of becoming one of the most used training centers in the country for ski clubs from all around Sweden.
– From the perspective of ski racing, the training facilities now available in Duved for use by the entire SkiSverige are one of the biggest positive legacies of Åre 2019, says Niklas Carlsson, CEO of Åre 2019.
– We are really pleased that as one of the Championships’ by-products, the next generation of Swedish ski stars can already now take advantage of these opportunities and we are starting to see many of them doing so, adds Carlsson.
On average there is at least one club training every day in Duved these days. Training activity is especially busy in the evenings, enabled by the excellent floodlighting system. SkiStar recorded more than 650 hours of club training in Duved last season, when all levels from youngsters to elite levels are considered.
Duved also hosts a large number of high level youth and children’s competitions. For example the national finals of the Kalle Anka Cup which is a Swedish national youth series, have been staged in Duved, and the only downhill race focused on the youth known as the “Guldhjälmen” (Golden Helmet) also takes place there.
– We at SkiStar obviously want to see more people skiing. We have found out that Swedish success at the highest levels is good for our business: it inspires people to take up skiing, including the youngsters, and when children like to ski, their parents will join, states Niclas Sjögren-Berg, Head of SkiStar Åre.
– Our investments in Duved, amounting to some 25 million Swedish crowns in the last three years, are part of our long-term marketing strategy that supports skiing at all levels, concludes Sjögren-Berg.
To be prepared for the Championships in just over a year’s time, the Åre 2019 team will also host a FIS race in Duved as a dress rehearsal for the designated qualification race organizing team and slope facilities during the current 2017/2018 ski season.