The summer interview series continues with the organiser of the Summer Grand Prix’s third stop and Nordic World Championship host Oberstdorf (GER). Secretary General Florian Weidel answers questions about one of the busiest times of the year in the popular holiday destination.
The Summer Grand Prix 2017 is coming closer and closer. How are the last preparations going?
Florian Weidel: After having hosted the Summer Grand Prix 12 times already, you get a certain routine. We have already tested the facilities at the traditional Ski Club Oberstdorf night jumping event with over 2.200 people in the stadium, so that I can well and truly say, we are prepared.
With two night events and the roller-ski track right in town, the competitions in Oberstdorf are always very atmospheric. What are the special challenges you as the organisers have to face to host the events in such a way?
Weidel: Yes, we have the roller-ski part on a very attractive course in the town centre, right in the middle of the busy summer tourist season. As we have to partially close some roads, the coordination with all stakeholders like the city, the police, fire brigade, residents and touristic partners is the biggest challenge. But as I said, we developed some routine, same as with covering the outrun of the Erdinger Arena to enable the athletes to roller-ski through the stadium. As usual, the start and finish are planned right in the middle of the arena again.
Which side events can spectators look forward to next to the competition action?
Weidel: They can look forward to an attractive program. We will use the short breaks needed to restructure the area between the competition parts to honour the ski club’s successful athletes of all disciplines of the past winter. We will celebrate the walk-in of the athletes in the well-known and beloved big way. The Fan TV on the big screen will enable the audience to follow the action at all times and will also entertain in the breaks.
As in the past few years, the FIS Youth Cup is on location at the same weekend. How do the entries look like at the moment, will the event be as big as in the past years?
Weidel: The FIS Youth Cup in Oberstdorf will stay one of the biggest Nordic Combined youth events in the world. At the moment, we have about 120 entries, girls and boys from 13 nations.
How do you manage to host two events of this magnitude at the same time?
Weidel: It is definitely a challenge and double the workload to host both big events at the same time. But we have a very experienced team of helpers and co-workers and a very good cooperation with the local ski club. With a well-planned program, it is doable. We also really like to offer the young athletes the chance to be a part of this fantastic atmosphere with the highlight of the joint prize giving ceremony with Nordic Combined’s big stars on both days.
What will happen in Oberstdorf once you have the big summer weekend behind you?
Weidel: We have another big ski jumping and Nordic Combined weekend coming up from the 14th-16th of September with the DSV Jugendcup / Deutschlandpokal, the most important German youth series. From October 23, it will be possible to train with our ice track on the bigger hills. From experience we know that it will get busy with national and international training groups coming.