Falun is located in Dalarna, in the heart of Scandinavia, readily accessible by frequent rail and air services. This is a region where the people love everything having to do with skiing, competitions, culture and festivals. Ski competitions have been arranged here since the late 19th century and Falun has a tradition of genuine hospitality among the staff involved in the service and tourism business.
One of the world's oldest international World Cup competitions, Svenska Skidspelen, is hosted in Falun and the finish of the ski competition, Vasaloppet, is only one hour drive away.
Falun and the neighboring town Borlänge is the centre of a growing region with 100.000 inhabitants today. Apart from the Lugnet ski facility, Falun boasts a number of world class sights, such as the world heritage with the Coppermine, the home of the artists Carl and Karin Larsson in Sundborn and the lake Runn which offers great opportunity for outdoor activities such as skating and ice fishing.
Lugnet, with the national ski arena and jumping hills, is a sports facility for both summer and winter use. It is a unique arena only 2km from the downtown in Falun. The Swedish Sports Confederation recognizes 67 sports of which 57 can be practiced at Lugnet. There are also many hiking and exercise trails, as well as skiing trails.
In the Lugnet arena, there are two jumping hills, which have become a trademark for Falun since being built for the World Championships in 1973. For the World Championships in 2015, the whole area underwent major overhauling and reconsruction and now features a brand-new HS 134 and HS 100 hill The HS 134 was equipped with a viewing platform, ice-tracks were installed on both hills and new coaches' stands plus a modern lift joined the existing facilities.
The cross-country races take part in the neighbouring ski stadium which has been the venue for the Cross-Country World Cup Finals for many years. In the summertime, for example, Lugnet is transformed into one of Sweden’s most popular centres for equestrian sports and has also been the venue of major orienteering events.
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Unfortunately, the final Team Event of the season 2013/14 had to be cancelled. Jumping was not possible on Falun's Lugnet hill today due to the strong and changing winds.
After the competition program had to be changed due to the difficult wind conditions on Lugnet's hill today, Akito Watabe claimed the last individual win of the winter and stood on top of the podium for the first time this season. After a strong race, he crossed the finish line 4.9 seconds ahead of Joergen Graabak from Norway who claimed the silver rank like in his first race of the winter in Kuusamo. The third place went to Alessandro Pittin from Italy who finished 6.8 seconds after the winner and returned to the individual podium after a absence of about two years.
Eric Frenzel is simply unstoppable on the jumping hill. The overall World Cup winner of the season 2013/14 gave his competitors no chance once more and won the Provisional Competition Round with a new hill record of 99.5 metres. He was closely followed by Olympic silver medallist Akito Watabe from Japan who jumped 98 metres and with 127.4 points, this meant a time behind of only two seconds on the cross-country track. Third on the intermediate result list was Norwegian Thomas Kjelbotn who continues to move up into the top jumpers of the field. He set 94.5 metres and with 126.3 points, this means a time behind of seven seconds for the cross-country race.
Even though it seems as if the winter 2013/14 just began, another season is nearly over with just one more highlight at the very end to go: the pre-World Championships in Falun, Sweden. With an Individual Gundersen and a Team Event, Falun will see the return of Nordic Combined to Sweden after the last competitions have been held in 1999 and will at the same time be an important test for all teams in regards to the World Championships which are going to take place next winter.
Right after the Nordic Combined Triple, the next highlight will follow suit: the Olympic Games in Sochi. Part II of the extended season preview will take you to all stops of the later part of the winter!
With the Olympics in Sochi and the brand-new Nordic Combined Triple coming up, Nordic Combined is gearing up for one of its most exciting seasons ever. Race Director Lasse Ottesen sat down with us for the latest TUESDAY TALK to walk us through the most recent developments before the season kicks off in Kuusamo at the end of November.