Åre 2019 english

The noble art of moving snow: The heroes of Åre 2019

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Snow is a prerequisite for the FIS World Ski Championships. A key part of carrying out a championship is the ability and capacity to manage snow, huge amounts of it. When watching ski racing on TV, it is hard to imagine how much work goes into event preparations. Courses, arenas, infrastructure, accommodation and side events all have to be planned and managed. And up on the mountain, massive amounts of snow has to be made, groomed, shaped and removed. Let's call it the noble art of moving snow.

After a snowfall it takes good cooperation to get the races going. Photo: Åre 2019, free publishing.
After a snowfall it takes good cooperation to get the races going. Photo: Åre 2019, free publishing.

The men's downhill course is 3122 meters long with a width of approximately 100 meters. That's the surface of an airport runway. When, overnight, there is 10 centimeters of snowfall and wind gusts causing drifts, there's the equivalent of 30 000 cubic meters of snow. We all know how insanely hard it is to clear an average garage driveway off snow. Imagine this driveway with the dimensions of a runway. Now, imagine that the  driveway is uneven. Stövelbranten on the men's course has the slope of 69% and an icy surface. And that's not icy as in ”it’s a bit icy today” but actual ice. Rock solid. That's where you are expected to shovel snow. By hand. Not with a snow-blower, but with a shovel.

This might to be one of those things that need to be experienced to be understood. No matter what, the FIS World Ski Championships need people who can remove snow in those conditions. Massive amounts of snow, even at night atop Mount Åre. Often over and over again. Indeed, they need people who are ready to work until the job is done, 24 hours a day if needed. Luckily Åre 2019 has a large group of people willing to do that, day after day. They are the heroes of these championships.

Snowfall is unpredictable. No matter what the event program. And every time, the result is: all hands on deck. The workforce handling the snow on the mountain during Åre 2019 consists of 5 supervisors each with a team of 20. These teams are divided into two shifts, which, if required, work around the clock. In addition there are volunteers who are slipping and shoveling by hand. They have 400 shovels, snow-sledges andhandheld motorized snow-shovels at their disposal. Heavy equipment can only be used as the last resort. But if that is necessary,there are snowcats, four- and six-wheelers, and snow blowers available 24 hours a day because all snow cannot be removed by hand. The slope crews run on coffee and power bars. They are a central part in making the Championship successful, and in providing the athletes the opportunity to compete in fair and safe conditions when it comes to snow. They are the people who truly make the Championships happen!

Good to know about base preparation

For major championships lasting 14 days or more, the competition slopes are “injected” with water to ensure that they will remain hard enough and in good condition to handle the required number of training runs and the competition program. Injection means that water is inserted into the snow at high pressure and that water is added on the surface as well. Before that, the snow surface is broken with a snow cat. For the slopes to be able to meet the requirements of safe and fair conditions and the equipment used by ski racers especially in the speed events, the slopes will need to be extremely hard on the surface. Dry snow requires more water to be injected than wet snow. The entire slope is prepared to prevent injuries if riders get stuck in the looser snow on the edges of the track.

Read more about preparing snow for races here >>

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After a snowfall it takes good cooperation to get the races going. Photo: Åre 2019, free publishing.
After a snowfall it takes good cooperation to get the races going. Photo: Åre 2019, free publishing.
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A certain passion for snow also comes in handy. Photo: Åre 2019, free publishing.
A certain passion for snow also comes in handy. Photo: Åre 2019, free publishing.
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Photo: Åre 2019, free publishing.
Photo: Åre 2019, free publishing.
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About Åre 2019 english

Åre 2019 english
Åre 2019 english
Årevägen 180
83152 Åre

http://www.are2019.com
ABOUT ÅRE 2019

Scheduled from 4-17 February 2019, Åre 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships will mark the third time that the second largest winter sport event after the Olympic Winter Games is held in Åre, Sweden. After the 1954 and 2007 editions, Åre 2019 will welcome the world’s top skiers and some 120’000 visitors to an epic celebration of skiing, snow and winter. The 11 medal competitions staged in the unique atmosphere of the leading Scandinavian ski resort will excite millions of global viewers and inspire great numbers to join the sport in active practice.  

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Where life can be lived - reflections of a volonteer19.2.2019 09:34:46 CETPress release

Yet another Alpine World Championship in Åre has come to an end. The third through the years. Skiers, visitors and volunteers have lived and breathed the World Championships for weeks. The organization has done the same for years. Beyond all the races that have been raced, the medals that have been awarded, something else has taken place. Perhaps the thoughts have been thought before, maybe they have been awaken when being here. Thoughts of the real meaning of life, or rather, thoughts of what kind of life we want to live. Thoughts of where our children should grow up, of where our everyday lives should take place. Where life should be lived.

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