St. Moritz, Switzerland – The 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships got underway today in Switzerland, with FIS President Gian Franco Kasper officially opening the event this evening during the Opening Ceremony.
It is the fifth time that the Swiss town, located in Canton Graubunden, has welcomed the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The previous editions were in 1934, 1948, 1974 and 2003. The region is famous for its international sports events as it was also the host of the Olympic Winter Games in 1928 and 1948.
“We are thrilled to have the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz for a fifth time,” said Kasper. “There is not a doubt in my mind that the next two weeks will be a fantastic celebration of Alpine ski racing both on the slopes and around the entire town of St. Moritz and the region. The organizers have worked tirelessly to ensure that the athletes will have ideal conditions to show world-class performances in their quest for gold.”
All in all, nearly 600 athletes representing 76 nations have entered to participate in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2017. In total there will be 11 medal events; five individual competitions each for men and ladies and the mixed team competition.
St. Moritz has long been home to a stop on the ladies’ Audi FIS World Cup tour and last season hosted a successful Final under blue skies with packed stands. The men’s downhill course features one of the most spectacular starts with the “Freefall” drop that puts the racers at over 100 km/hr in a matter of seconds.
All races will be carried out on the Salastrains course, which has ideal viewing for spectators to follow the athletes live, both at the massive finish area tribune, as well as lining the course. Numerous facilities have been built up around the finish area at Salastrains using temporary infrastructure to provide refreshments and entertainment for spectators. Some 85,000 spectator tickets have been sold.
There will be no lack of action in the town, either, as all medal ceremonies, together with a full entertainment program, will be held at the Kulm Park in the heart of St. Moritz. This beautiful venue also hosted the ceremonies and the Olympic Winter Games in 1948 and has been renewed in time to showcase the world’s best Alpine Skiing athletes receive their hard-earned medals.
In addition to the Medal Ceremonies, local organizers have planned a full line-up of side events for the thousands of visitors travelling from Switzerland, neighboring countries and from further afield for the World Championships. Throughout the town there will be hospitality houses and interactive shows, cultural displays and musical acts.
Local organizing committee president Hugo Wetzel commented, “We are ready to showcase St. Moritz to the world. Not only will we offer a fantastic program on the mountain, but after the races are finished there will be no lack of entertainment and festivities to keep visitors busy.”
The competitions will begin tomorrow with ladies’ super G, followed by the men competing on the super G course on Wednesday.