During their autumn meeting on Thursday and Friday last week, the members of the Coordination Group for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Oslo 2011 had a chance to bear witness to the construction progress at Holmenkollen, where massive work has been underway all summer. The group saw the advances with the two new jumping hills – the new large hill Holmenkollbakken and the new normal hill at Midtstuen – as well as with the renovation of the Cross-Country stadium and tracks, and building of a new snow-making system. Compared with early April, when the previous meeting took place, the project had made notable strides. And based on current status, the FIS World Cup events scheduled for March 2010 will be able to take place in the new arena and serve as a test for the 2011 Championships, even if parts will still be reminiscent of a construction site.
“With two modern hills and ski stadium, the new Holmenkollen will be a truly iconic venue. As one of the most visited touristic destinations in Northern Europe, it has been and will continue to be a spectacular landmark of the city and one of the most comprehensive Nordic ski facilities in the world. The new arena will serve thousands of athletes and spectators with modern infrastructure and facilities for decades to come,” commented Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General. “Clearly, a lot of work still remains to be done and we will stay vigilant until the first jumper takes off and the first cross-country skier finishes their loops. What we were most pleased about, however, was the great support and a strong basis for cooperation that has developed among the city of Oslo, the organizing committee, the Norwegian Ski Association, the Skiforeningen and other stakeholders to ensure that the project is progressing according to the plan.”
In the other areas of preparation, the Oslo 2011 team is advancing well, too. With a current staff of 20 people, it is in the process of moving from the detailed planning phase to the operational mode for the test events in mid-March. Ticket sales for those will start in October 2009. The undisputed highlight of the meeting were the highly detailed plans of the host broadcaster NRK that is taking advantage of the latest 3-D models for confirming camera positions and ensuring stunning images in 18 months’ time. For more information and updates, make sure to visit www.oslo2011.no.
The project has gone over budget by 600 million NOK (just over $100 million USD), creating significant controversy in Oslo.