Åre and Östersund in Sweden are set to host the 2023 World Para Snow Sports Championships, it was announced this week.
The news comes as Åre, jointly with Capital Stockholm, has hit the final sprint in a bid campaign to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Bid organizers will be able to show that not only are they prepared to host events to be staged at the Paralympic Games, but that major events are already scheduled to further test logistics in the run-up to the event.
The major biennial championships are to be sited at existing world class facilities in Åre where the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships were held in February this year. The same site could become a major venue at the 2026 Games if the Swedish Stockholm-Åre bid defeats a joint Italian contender from Milan-Cortina during an International Olympic Committee (IOC) members vote on June 24.
Östersund recently hosted the 2019 IBU Biathlon World Championships.
It will be the first time Sweden hosts a World Championships in Para Alpine Skiing and the Para Snowboard that are set to be staged in Åre. Östersund’s Para Nordic World Championships were also held in Sweden in Sollefteå, in 2013.
“We have worked with the local Organizing Committee on previous occasions and know that athletes and fans can expect amazing events,” Dimitrije Lazarovski, Head of World Para Snow Sports said.
“Bringing all of the Para Snow Sports World Championships to the same region is a great way to increase the visibility of the sports and the host cities, provide more commercial opportunities and attract new fans.
Swedish Paralympic Committee Sport Manager Fredrik Andersson said “Åre and Östersund will be a very good host for these competitions.”
“In a way it’s almost going to be like hosting the Paralympics – I mean it’s just going to be one less sport really.”
The 2019 World Para Snow Sports Championships were held in multiple locations including Slovenia, Italy, Canada and Finland. In 2021 the event will be staged in Lillehammer, Norway.
Sweden’s 2026 regional concept leverages the IOC’s Agenda 2020 that underlines efficiency and sustainability for future host cities and countries.
Last week Stockholm-Åre 2026 Olympic bid chief Richard Brisius aligned the bid’s approach to sustainability with “The Ocean Race”, the world’s leading round-the-world sailing race of which he is President.
“It’s an honour to be leading this truly global event where we are putting sustainability at the heart of the Race´s future,” said Brisius.
He added “Inspired by the direction set by the IOC members, The Stockholm Åre 2026 bid is built with sustainability in full focus.
“We believe that Sweden can set a new standard, not just for the nation, but for the Olympic movement as a whole.
“We want to deliver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in a truly sustainable way.”
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.