There are always risks associated with event organization. Sick staff is one of those while for the slopes there is a long list of details that need to be controlled before a competition can be carried out in safe and secure manner. That is why the competition slopes in Åre have undergone a series of inspections before the World Championships. Monday, 15 October, saw the final one of those before the actual event gets underway in February 2019.
Hans Olsson was one of the members of the Åre 2019 sport department who inspected the slopes with the International Ski Federation Race Directors, key staff from SkiStar, rights holder Infront and others involved in the event organization on the slopes. Everything from safety precautions to TV angles, banner positions and time-keeping was reviewed. And it is looking good!
– There are no measures that we need to implement before the snow falls. We are feeling pretty relaxed, there were few notes taken as we came down so that was good, said Hans Olsson, Assistant Sport Director at Åre 2019.
The slopes were inspected from start to finish and a few details remain to be discussed and decided. The logistics of athletes, especially during the Alpine Team Event where they have to return to start rapidly, is something that still needs to be resolved.
– Since we are expecting a lot of spectators to attend the Alpine Team Event we have to think it through so that we do not have cut through the crowds. There is a good option to pass behind the grandstand which will allow the racers to be cheered by the crowds and to celebrate with a few high-fives, added Olsson.
Åse Angland Lindvall, Assistant Chief of Course for the ladies’ competitions, was also part of the inspection team on the slopes on Monday and agreed that there are a few smaller details to be clarified before racing gets underway but overall Åre 2019 is ready for action.
– It went really well. There were no surprises and we just walked down slowly. There were some discussions about overall safety measures and communication procedures within our respective teams. Those were really helpful, she said.
On the ladies’ sides, there are a couple of changes to be made but overall those are few, such as moving one of the starts sidewise and preparation of the public viewing area near the finish line. There are many details but in the final analysis it will come down to the human factor. To minimize risk, the Åre 2019 race organization has chosen to work with an experienced and well-trained team on the mountain.
– As the Chief of Race for the men’s races, I am always nervous that something goes wrong with communication and we end up having an accident. I am not worried that we make a mistake but the human factor always remains and we have to be extremely careful, concluded Hans Olsson.
The FIS Final Inspection takes place from 15-17 October. The meeting among FIS, Åre 2019, the Swedish Ski Association, SkiStar, marketing and TV rights holder Infront and the municipality of Åre, among other stakeholders, represents the final official check before the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Åre 2019 in February.