KANGWONLAND, Korea — The FIS Council will award the two most prestigious events the international governing body has to offer when they announced the winners of the Alpine And Nordic World Championships bids for the 2017 games on the fourth day of their congress. The 15 member FIS council decides the winners in a secret ballot.
The bidding for the Nordic championships is between four organizers and is seen as the closest contest. Competing for the prestigious event are Zakopane, Poland; Lahti, Finland; Planica, Slovenia; and Obersdorf, Germany. While all the candidates have mounted strong bids, FIS insiders believe the final vote will be between Planica and Obersdorf. Obersdorf, which ran very successful games in 2005 marked by huge crowds, might be considered the favorite but Planica has mounted a strong challenge for the championships as well.
Zakopane which last held the championships in 1962 is thought to be geographically too close to Liberec, the Czech resort which hosted the championships in 2009. The Finnish contender, Lahti, may still be suffering from the doping scandals which occurred during their Nordic world championship event in 2001, but the resort has perhaps the finest Nordic stadium and facility in the world.
There are three challengers for the Alpine World Championships: St. Moritz, Switzerland; Cortina, Italy; and Are, Sweden.
St. Moritz is felt to be a strong front runner. The sophisticated and ultra-chic resort is no stranger to big events having hosted two winter Olympics and three alpine World Championships. The Graubünden town last ran a very successful World Championships in 2003. Are, Sweden also ran very popular games in 2007. It was marked by the exploits of Swedish star Anja Paerson who won a stunning total of three gold medals and a bronze at her home ski area. Are, however, is thought to be looking further forward to 2019’s bid rather than the upcoming election.
Cortina, Italy is thought to be a distant contender for the award because of its immediate past national ski federation difficulties. The Italian federation’s past president and FIS Council member, Giovanni Morzenti, was suspended by the governing body after being convicted of extortion leaving the federation in disarray. While the association has undergone a complete change of both board and management, it is felt that the weight of past events has not worn off sufficiently to gain Cortina the championships.
The Freestyle and Snowboard World Championships will be held in Sierra Nevada, Spain as the resort was the sole bidder for the 2017 games.
(2015 bid in hand, Vail/Beaver Creek introduced its Dream It, Live It,
Share It theme at FIS Congress, High 1 Resort, Kangwonland Hotel, South
Korea. (USSA/Tom Kelly)