“HAND IN HAND” is the motto for the Nordic hotspot Seefeld, which is scheduled to host the Nordic World Championships together with Innsbruck.
The Olympic flame has already burned three times in the Olympiaregion Seefeld in Tirol, which acted as the venue for the Nordic disciplines during the Winter Olympics of 1964 and 1976 as well as the Youth Winter Olympics of 2012.
In 1985 Seefeld was the setting for the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships. The plateau once again made an impression during the award of the Wold Championships for 2019 in Barcelona, with the experience and knowhow of the Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV), the excellent infrastructure, the prize-winning trails, the sustainability und the outstanding sporting competence being particularly striking. Seefeld was picked to host the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships 2019 for a second time.
The Innsbruck Winter Olympics in 1964 saw Seefeld making improvements: the new railway station and the north-south road bypass on the eastern side of the village were part of the works undertaken for that event. In those days, cross-country skiing was seen only as a competitive sport: tough training and then run until you drop once the starting gun is fired. This sport also left its mark on Seefeld, with the international teams training in the trees around the village. The first efforts to provide optimal conditions for the sport and training trails came from the Seefeld Tourist Office, first with tractors and council workers on skis and then later with a skidoo especially obtained from Canada. The new cross-country movement was underway: Seefeld was the first place in the Alps to make this sport popular for locals and visitors under the name ‘Skiwandern’ (‘Ski Walking’). But it would still be a while until Seefeld developed into the best cross-country resort in the Alps and this competitive sport became amateur fun for all ages.
The next big step came with the Winter Olympics in 1976. New projects were carefully considered with an eye to the future. On December 19th, 1975, the time came to open the Seefeld pedestrian area with the construction of the Olympiastraße (northern bypass) and the Gschwandtkopf tunnel (southern bypass). Today the pedestrian area is the oldest in the whole of the Tyrol. The town hall was located in the centre of the village and hosted the information office of the Seefeld tourist board as a focal point for the village and its activities. Further highlights came with the first swimming pool and the first sauna on the plateau in the Sports and Congress Centre (SKZ). The unique design of the indoor and outdoor pools has remained the same through to the present day. The entire building was used as a press centre during the period of competition. The existing trail network underwent a massive expansion to provide optimum conditions for these Winter Games. The Olympiaregion Seefeld encouraged every spark which helped Nordic sports.
1985 was the year of the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Seefeld. Companies with professional machines were brought in to widen the trails and to help with preparation. For the first time Seefeld offered two competitive tracks, which allowed the faster athletes to overtake on a second perfect track. The WM-Halle was remodelled and used as a press centre during the event. Surrounded by the sublime scenery between the Wetterstein mountains and the golf course, the Wildsee saw a monument erected: the three prongs represent the two Olympic Games and the one World Championships. The medal winners in the Nordic disciplines are remembered here. The silver ball marks the ski races for the ‘Seefeld Silver Ball’: a former FIS downhill race at the top level which was later taken over by Kitzbühel.
Work has been going on tirelessly since August 2016 to prepare for the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships 2019 in the best way. The trail network is being carefully prepared in line with the FIS regulations while still allowing locals and guests to enjoy the championship-level trails in the meantime. This spring sees the start of the renovation of the Seefeld train station. “The gateway to the Olympiaregion” is the symbolic title, which will provide environmental benefits in traffic management and a lasting improvement in the public transport around the railway station. The whole forecourt will become a pedestrian area, another addition to Seefeld’s new traffic concept. Inside the building, visitors will find the information centre for the Seefeld tourist office as a focal point for enquiries.
The WM-Halle is being renovated and remodelled to the latest standards. Additionally, a new technical centre and administration building are being constructed in the World Championship arena.
These improvements are being made with an eye on the future to provide lasting benefits for the inhabitants of the Olympiaregion and their guests.
The impressive landscape on the sunny plateau at 1,200 metres in altitude with 256 km of perfectly-prepared trails, bordered by the Karwendel nature reserve, the Wetterstein mountains and the Hohe Munde, will satisfy every wish for keen cross-country skiers.
As well as opportunities for activities such as sleigh cross-country, a separate dog track, floodlit evening trails, winter walks, ice skating, curling or a chance to test abilities in the modern biathlon facilities, the concept of cuisine is not ignored. The gastronomy of the plateau ranges from traditional Tyrolean specialities through to haute cuisine. Why not take a stroll through the oldest pedestrian area in the Tyrol with its welcoming boutiques? Those who want to risk everything on the turn of a card will find a warm greeting at the alpine-style Casino Seefeld.