The start of the ceremony featured children from the Åre Slalom Club, Sweden’s future stars, entering the stage each carrying the flag of one of the 76 participating nations to the great pleasure of their friends, parents and neighbors in the audience.
– What a great opening! Just thinking that my town, my home since 1976, can stage something this fantastic, is amazing. I am so happy to be here tonight and have the chance to experience this, said Eva, a 76-year-old Åre local.
Joy, community and love for the sport and the town of Åre could be felt throughout the opening ceremony held at the epicenter of Åre. Even FIS President Gian Franco Kasper declared his affinity to Åre in his opening speech and called on all athletes to make sure to have some fun with their friends while at the Åre Championships.
Niklas Carlsson, CEO of Åre 2019, emphasized the importance of cooperation with everyone involved for successful World Championships and spoke of the confidence and pride he feels on the opening day of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2019.
Further highlights followed one another all evening long.
Anja Pärsson received a massive applause when she wished for more gold medals on home snow and identified Frida Hansdotter as one of her personal medal favorites at Åre 2019.
Lindsey Vonn and Aksel Lund Svindal, both of whom will retire during the Championships in Åre, joked about life after ski racing and the crowds were excited to have the one final chance to see them race here in Åre this week.
Teddybears, wearing their trademark bear masks, delivered the first-ever live performance of the official World Championships song Young, handsome & fast together with Åre-local Rakel. The crowd was thrilled!
The grand finale of the ceremony kicked off with 37 fir horn blowing school students from Åre, Duved, Hallen and Östersund and concluded with Åre-resident Petter, one of Sweden’s best-known rappers, inviting the crowd to sing along with him. ”The joy comes from within” sang Petter and that was the very feeling left with the crowds at Medals Plaza. The town of Åre now prepares itself for two weeks of racing, new experiences and making many new friends.