The penultimate Coordination Group Meeting between Åre 2019 and the International Ski Federation (FIS) was dominated by constructive dialogue and positive feedback. However, a major challenge remains: making sure that 120 000 visitors find their way to Åre in February 2019.
Approximately nine months remain until the Åre 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships open on 4 February. The 6thFIS Coordination Group meeting took place on 23-24 April with FIS, Åre 2019 and all key stakeholders in attendance, marking the penultimate meeting before the Final Inspection in October that will review the last details.
– It is excellent to have these regular opportunities for us to meet. As the presentations have shown, we are well on schedule and have done what we need to do so it feels great, said Niclas Sjögren Berg, General Manager of SkiStar Åre and member of the Åre 2019 AB board.
The main stakeholders behind the Alpine World Ski Championships meet twice a year during the so-called FIS Coordination Group meeting which is an opportunity for FIS to review what has been done and what is being planned until the next main checkpoint. The Municipality of Åre and Åre Destination, as well as the event’s TV and marketing partners, also participate in these meetings.
Therese Sjölund, CEO of Åre Destination, which provides a cooperation platform for the local industry, has been closely involved in the preparations for the Championships. She finds it important for the village to be fully engaged and that its spirit, heart and soul are reflected in the event.
– Åre’s main strength is that although it is a small village at the foot of a mountain, we tick like a big metropolis. That combination is unique, she stated and added:
– We know that our visitors appreciate that combination. We also want to showcase it and attract more people here. Our lively village and its atmosphere must be visible in everything, and that include the two weeks of the World Championships.
The FIS Coordination Group Meeting features updates by Åre 2019 on their work across all areas of organization. FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis, who is impressed by the engagement of the local team, provided diverse feedback and suggestions. After two days of review, meetings and a dinner at the Åre Hotel and Restaurantschool’s restaurant, Niklas Carlsson, CEO of Åre 2019, is also happy with the result.
– We’ve learned a lot and had very good discussions over these two days. We will now focus on structure, planning and documentation until October. A colleague of mine likes to say that ”The Devil is in the Details”. We really want to deliver a world class show and know that we need to work hard this summer but we are also motivated to do just that.
One of the greatest remaining challenges is to reach the goal of 120 000 visitors during the two-week event. Niclas Sjögren Berg is convinced that the goal is realistic.
– I am not worried at all; there will be many people coming to Åre for the World Championships. But we want to have extremely good crowds and that is what we need to work on, stated Sjögren Berg.
So that lots of people can enjoy watching the competitions on site, a valid ski pass will also serve as a valid entrance ticket to the Åre 2019 Arena. This policy fully supports Åre 2019’s vision to ”Inspire the World to Ski”.
– I think the combination with the ski pass is very important to attract visitors to Åre 2019 but there are many things that can be done. For example, it will make a huge difference if all ski fans decide to bring a friend with them or convince someone else to experience the event on site instead of watching it on television, continued Sjögren Berg.
The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships opening ceremony will take place on 4 February 2018. The competitions will take place between 5 and 17 February.