Flocke in Oberhof
Fotoquelle: Christian Heilwagen/Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH
Picture caption: In 50 Tagen kehrt der Biathlon-Tross zurück in die ARENA am Rennsteig. Beim BMW IBU Weltcup Biathlon 2024 stehen insgesamt sechs Rennen an vier Tagen auf dem Programm. Fotoquelle: Christian Heilwagen/Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH

50 days to go until the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024 in Oberhof: Preparation for the competition days starts into the hot phase

Tomorrow, Wednesday (November 15, 2023), the countdown to the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024 in Oberhof will show just 50 days to go. In this interview, Bernd Wernicke, OC Director and Managing Director of Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH as the organizer, takes a look at the preparations, the current advance ticket sale and the team of volunteers.

Mr. Wernicke, on January 4th 2024 - in exactly 50 days - the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024 will open in Oberhof with the men's sprint (start time: 2.20 pm). How much anticipation is there?

There’s a big anticipation. We are really looking forward to welcoming the biathlon family back to Oberhof just over eleven months after the World Championships. The title fights in February 2023 were of great importance for the history of winter sports in Thuringia, but also for tourism in the region. We have to prepare for the World Cup with just as much meticulousness and energy. After all, we want to remain firmly anchored in the International Biathlon Union's competition calendar after 2026.

How are the preparations going?

In principle, after an intensive evaluation of the World Championships and a short breather, our focus in the spring was already on the World Cup. However, the hot preparation phase begins now. The Thüringer Wintersportzentrum has already started producing snow. The snow that is trickling into the snow storage hall will mainly serve as a base for the cross-country skiing trails. The first work assignments have been completed. Over the next few weeks, the ARENA am Rennsteig will once again be transformed into a World Cup venue. For example, the construction of the grandstands is planned for the end of this month.

On which many fans should find space. How are advance ticket sales going?

By dispensing with the Waldtribüne, we can welcome 20,500 fans every day. Currently, 40,500 tickets have been allocated. The weekend with the pursuit and relay races is in very high demand. Tickets are still available in all categories for the sprint races on Thursday and Friday. Experience has shown that many fans buy tickets at the start of the season. When they really get into the winter mood again - and their favorite athletes fight for victories at the shooting range and on the cross-country skiing trail.

The Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH has put together special packages for families and companies for the sprint races on Thursday and Friday.

That’s right. About the family ticket: If an adult buys a ticket for family block A, one child up to the age of 17 receives free admission. The business ticket is aimed at companies. If ten tickets are purchased for the aforementioned competitions in the lower tier of the ARENA am Rennsteig or at the track, buyers receive a 25 percent discount. This makes a great Christmas present or an ideal company outing. Because biathlon in Oberhof is a real experience.

This experience not only includes exciting races, but also a colorful supporting program. What can the fans look forward to?

There will be a good mix of sport and entertainment. Before the stadium opens and between the races, the Hüttendorf with its many culinary specialties and small events is the perfect meeting point for fans. In the ARENA, the tried-and-tested warm-up team will ensure an exuberant atmosphere. And in the evening, fans can cheer on the winners and runners-up at the official awards ceremony in the city center.

Two weeks after the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024 the Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH organizes the Coop FIS cross-country world cup– eleven years after the last Tour de Ski in Oberhof in december 2013. That sounds like both an opportunity and a challenge.

That’s right. It's high time for the cross-country skiing elite to return to the Thuringian Forest. The fans are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to experience the best athletes up close on the cross-country trails. At the same time, we have to almost completely rebuild the preparations and the OC structure after a break of over a decade from the World Cup. Fortunately, we can use a large part of the infrastructure of the Biathlon World Cup and rely on many experienced helpers.

Speaking of helpers: for many volunteers, the title fights were the highlight after many years or even decades of support. They announced their withdrawal after the World Championships. Will there still be enough helping hands available at the World Cup?

Yes. Around 650 helpers have registered their willingness to help. This means we can provide the best possible support for the Biathlon World Cup. Without them, a major sporting event like this would be unthinkable. They are the heart of the World Cup.

Interview: Susann Eberlein

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