None of us had ever dreamed that the Alpine Junior World Championships would end like this, but this is obviously an unusual situation for the whole world at present. The decision to cancel by the Municipal Doctor/ Race Doctor, Sverre Håkon Evju was one with which both FIS and I were in 100% agreement. Had we not cancelled, if one person had been infected, or thought to have been infected, there would have been the risk that all participants who had been in contact with this person would have been put in quarantine or isolation in Narvik for 14 days. No one wanted to take this chance.
Most of the teams have been able to rebook their tickets and have now left Narvik. Only a few nations remain. They will travel on Friday or at the latest, Saturday/ Sunday morning.
We still have a lot to clear up and put in storage. The tents need dismantling and everything needs to be transported down the mountain. Equipment needs to be returned, the race office and the volunteers’ pick up point needs to be cleared. The stages, the sound rig and screen need to be taken down. The ski room needs clearing up. Cars and other vehicles need to be prepared for return etc. There are many volunteers still at work and we are especially grateful for this.
Earlier, we have expressed that we would like to leave our visitors of these championships with the impression that we have been a world-class host. We managed this successfully, 100%. All visitors including athletes, leaders, FIS, volunteers have given us feedback that being with cheerful, helpful and kind ubiquitous “red and blue jackets” has been a fantastic experience. We like this type of feedback. It has been an impressive feat to prepare racing conditions on the slopes that athletes and leaders claim to have been the best they have experienced this season. This can only be attributed to the efforts by our volunteers, with good help from Narvikfjellet’s personnel who have also contributed, over and above and beyond the call of duty. The good conditions also meant that we did not have any serious accidents. Had there been an accident, I think we can safely say that we have never had a more competent medical team in place on the mountain, coordinated with the setup of extra facilities at the hospital.
When we planned the race programme, we were totally sure of one thing, and that was that it would be changed. We experienced this every single day. We were prepared that we had to plan with alternatives A, B and C. However, snow, wind and mild weather challenged us to find alternatives D, E and F, but we managed this with a smile. The crew with the tracked vehicles, the crew on the slopes, the timing group, secretariat, the equipment crew and the crew in the arena solved all of this impressively.
The ceremonies were just as good as and perhaps better than expected. They were very formal, dignified, appropriately brief and with fantastic prizes. The opening ceremony is something no other Alpine Junior World Championships has had or will match. We have also had a lot of praise for this. We had planned events for volunteers, team leaders and sponsors. Unfortunately, we were not able to host any of these, but we can assure you that these were also well planned and would have been a guaranteed success.
The ski room has also worked out well, according to plans. The facility at events like these is usually a tent, so at this event, the service personnel from different countries and the ski factories have had working conditions, which were unusually good for them. Narvik High School’s pupils studying Carpentry built 43 units for us so that each nation could have their own unit.
The logistics group also made impressive efforts. They have staffed the ski room from 06.00 in the morning to 01:00 at night every day, staffed the parking areas and carried out several transport tasks.
The planning of activities in the food tent did not go quite as expected. Adapting to changes in the race programme and the weather posed challenges. From really early in the morning, the tent was manned by cheerful and service-minded staff who made and served breakfast and sandwiches. The tent was also used as a place to drink coffee and a place for athletes and volunteers to warm themselves. Feedback received about the food that has been served in the tent has been outstanding. Those who are vegans, vegetarians, Muslims and those who do not like other food than they are used to, have given feedback that the alternatives we had on offer, meant that they had something good to eat every day. In general, people thought that the food tasted good.
It is probably just as well that we have not calculated the total amount of hours that have been put in regarding preparation, execution and work afterwards. It would be doubtful that we would go for arranging new, large and important events, had we had a full overview over this. The number of hours put in is enormous, but as long as we all had fun, we think that it will be easy to recruit volunteers next time.
The group that has organised, staffed the race office, and set up the team captains’ meetings have had their hands full each day. Many of them have also had a lot of work to do in advance, prior to the arrival of athletes and leaders: invitations, agreements with hotels, allocation of hotels to the nations etc. An impressive amount of work has been put in here. It has been important to be decisive when it comes to a demanding or spoilt team leader expecting his/ her own room. However, the team has done well and all nations have given excellent feedback regarding the way they have been received by the cheerful blue-jacketed personnel at the race office. This is despite the negative response they may have had to their demand for a single room.
We have had around 70 volunteers who have needed accommodation during the championships. This has been resolved in an outstanding manner with the loan of different flats and houses in town. The work that’s been done in association with the volunteers: reception at the Volunteer Centre, clothing, organising food, transport and general information has been admirable and executed fabulously. Clothing is always a challenge in relation to such an event. Because of earlier experience, we tried to have stricter criteria and we hope that everybody who feels that they deserved a jacket has received one.
We have had our own team working with social media in advance of and during the championships. We have seen all the fantastic pictures and videos that have been published under the event. These will be actively used in the future in work to acquire new and larger competitions for Narvik. First and foremost, work now involves clearing up and putting all equipment back in place. At the same time, we will work with the accounts and conclusions around this. We both hope and believe that the accounts will balance. Many businesses have contributed with both money and equipment. Those who have worked with this in advance have done an especially important job for this to be a success.
We will use our time well to evaluate the whole process around the championships, which began a year and a half ago lasting until completion and clearing up. It is important that we get to know of both good and bad experiences from the whole process in order to make things easier and more effective for the next event. We therefore wish for feedback from each of you with regard to suggestions for improvement. We wish to point out that no feedback is too little. It is the detail that will make us better.
We would really like to have ended the Championships with a fantastic party, but because of the situation we have in the world today, we have chosen to postpone this.
We wish therefore to invite you to a volunteers’ party when things have calmed down. This will be announced in Spond.
We understand that this will be difficult for volunteers from afar, as it is a long way to Narvik. Nevertheless, we hope you will able make the trip. In any case, you are heartily welcome and have been of great help.
It normally takes 3 years to plan an Alpine JWC. We only had half the time, but what has impressed us, is that many volunteers, new to the alpine world, have done a great job and used both their free time and some time from work to make this as good as possible. We hope all of the ‘new’ folks will want to help us out again, on the coming occasions that we host a large event.
We hope that no one feels left out here because everyone, absolutely everyone deserves a huge thank you and hug for the enormous efforts that have been put in to make this a success. WE DID IT! Moreover, we should be proud over what we have shown the world. We are now ready for new and bigger challenges in the future and we hope that you will want to contribute then as well.
Thank you ever so much, each and every one of you!!
On behalf of the organization committee