All eyes will be upon Narvik when the Junior World Championships will be hosted in March 2020. We have to use this opportunity to show what we can deliver in 2027.
In the week before Narvik’s annual Winter Festival, the slopes will be swarming with juniors from the whole world competing in a 10 day-long event. On 17th May last year, Narvik was nominated as the host venue for the Alpine Junior World championships for 2020. That in itself is not very lucrative for Narvik in the short term. In the long term however, a Junior WC can prove to be extremely important for Narvik in terms of the international status gained for being a host venue. This will be a right step in the direction for a nomination to host the Alpine WC in 2027. This is why the events committee will be doing all they can to deliver a noteworthy Junior WC. Local business have also pulled out the stops financially in order to back the implementation of the Championships.
This is also why you and I should also line the slopes and cheer on the participants skiing down our world championships slopes and ‘Party like it’s 2027’ (a variation of Prince’s mega hit ‘1999’). This means a lot to the competitors. For most, this will be the most important competition they’ve ever been in. “We want them to remember when they skied in Narvik” says Erik Plener CEO for Alpin VM 2027 and for Junior WC 2020 at a breakfast meeting with local businesses last week. And of course, we shall successfully host the Junior WC 5th – 14th March despite how demanding this will be. The Junior WC will be on a larger scale than the Norwegian championships in Narvik. On that occasion, we needed around 150 volunteers. The Junior World championships will require 400 volunteers, 200 on skis and 200 operating around and about without skis. 600 visitors including participants and their entourage from 50 nations will need accommodation. Catering students at Oscarsborg will make 800 meals for the athletes, parents and coaches on a daily basis. Hosting a Junior WC which will impress the International Skiing Federation will demand much of us. Success here is really important should we have some hope of a nomination for World Championships in 2027. An Alpine WC is the world’s largest winter sporting event and a Junior WC will be an important litmus test. But we are going to make it, of course. We have succeeded many times before and now is when it counts.
The Norwegian Championships winter 2017 is one such event. That same year, Narvik Slalåmklubb won a prize for hosting the National Alpine championships. Quoting the jury, “The sporting conditions for the events were very good”. Good TV coverage, side events for leaders and trainers, together with ceremonious and exciting events for athletes, all contributed to a memorable experience for both participants and spectators. The great efforts from volunteers were also acknowledged. The local club gained enormous financial support to host the National Championships, thus extending Narvik’s capacity to host a World Championships in the future.
Just over one and a half million Norwegian crowns was invested in improving the skiing facilities at the resort in Fagernesfjellet. Already in March 2020, we will able to utilise equipment in which was invested was made. We can also make use of the vast experience from earlier voluntary efforts.
We delivered when it mattered also during the WC application ceremony for last year when 10,000 people gathered in the Narvik’s town centre, to celebrate. The Narvik community used a couple of months to plan and arrange an Application Ceremony that many still speak of, the seed of which has afterwards bloomed to the ‘Haikjeften’ festival which came of being in August this year.
We also delivered under the Arctic Race of Norway this year. The final stage was set up in Narvik. We managed to create an event which, seen from the outside, ran without a glitch. The streets were full to the brim with people who contributed to the celebration and a lively event.
It’s time again though everyone. Last week, the events committee invited local businesses to a breakfast meeting. On the agenda were two items. In addition to announcing details of the event and organisation to local businesses, it was disclosed that the Championships needed financial support to realise an event of this size. VM needed a whole load of volunteers who could contribute to implementation of the event just as flawlessly as the National championships in 2017.
Sparebanken Narvik has announced that all of its employees have taken leave with pay to contribute voluntarily under the Junior VM. “We will close the bank if neede a couple of days. This is a clear signal about how important this is. If we are going for the World championships in 2027, we need to succeed with this and everyone needs to contribute with what they can. Now we challenge others to do the same”, said Stein Trygve Bergland from Sparebanken Narvik. If you are unable to acquire leave with pay, you can contribute in any case as a spectator on the slopes, for example. What is most important, is that we all, in our own way, work as a team. We will succeed once more.
Have a good weekend!
“Ukeslutt – End of the week” by Christian Senning Andresen – Fremover 04.10.2019