Well prepared for the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024: Between Christmas and New Year's Eve, work will be carried out on the course and the construction around the ARENA am Rennsteig will be finalized
Despite the current mild temperatures and heavy rainfall, the organizers of the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024 in Oberhof are heading into the Christmas holidays with a clear conscience. "We are on schedule. Construction began weeks ago and is now in the final stages. The „Hüttendorf“ and the tents are ready. Around the turn of the year, the plan is to put up the advertising and set up the TV," said OC boss and Managing Director of Oberhofer Sport und Event GmbH, Bernd Wernicke, at a press conference yesterday (Thursday, December 21, 2023).
Heiko Krause, Technical Director of the Thuringian Winter Sports Centre (TWZ) as the owner and operator of the Oberhof sports facilities, is also optimistic about the coming days, not least because of the snow management system, which was modernized in the course of the BMW IBU World Championships Biathlon in February 2023 and takes sustainability into account. "We are prepared. The competitions are secured, even if we hope that there will be a little help from above," he emphasized. Thanks to the early onset of winter at the end of November, snow could be produced. There are currently 20,000 cubic meters in reserve, 6,500 cubic meters of which is crash ice in the snowmaking hall alone.
Fine-tuning starts after the christmas holidays
Two thirds of the routes are already covered with up to 40 centimetres of snow. From December 27, 2023, work will follow in the ARENA, the „Hochwaldabfahrt“ and in the Kulle-Kurve and Kulle-U areas, followed by the final tuning of the entire course. "It's not possible without on-site technology. Thanks to the three fixed snow depots on the course and several intermediate depots that we were able to set up at the beginning of December, long journeys or even snow transports from outside are avoided," explained Heiko Krause. An electric truck will be used for test purposes in the coming week. The team gives itself a maximum of four days to complete the work. Everything must be ready by New Year's Day at the latest: A cross-country training session for the teams is scheduled for the afternoon. Before the registration deadline this Friday (22.12.2023), 26 nations with 135 women and 138 men as well as 317 coaches have announced their participation.
790 volunteers, 52.000 tickets sold
The organizers of the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024 in Oberhof will be supported by a total of 790 volunteers. On average, 670 volunteers will be on duty per competition day to secure the various areas of the winter sports event. "They are and will remain the heart of the event. The interaction between full-time and voluntary work is perfect," says Bernd Wernicke.
So far, 52,000 tickets have been allocated for the four competition days of the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024. While tickets are still available in all categories for the sprints on Thursday and Friday, the double events at the weekend are in particularly high demand. "We are almost sold out on Saturday and there are only a few tickets left on Sunday," said Bernd Wernicke. By dispensing with the construction of the forest grandstand, up to 20,500 visitors can be welcomed to the ARENA am Rennsteig each day.
Exciting competitions, colorful supporting program
Fans can expect not only six exciting races, but also a colorful supporting program. The BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024 will begin on Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 7 p.m. with an opening ceremony on the town square in Oberhof. Due to the current high infection rate in the biathlon circus, no athletes are expected to attend. "It's an opening ceremony by fans for fans," says Bernd Wernicke.
Before, during and after the competitions, visitors can stock up on drinks, food and fan paraphernalia in the „Hüttendorf“ on the Grenzadler. In the ARENA itself, the well-coordinated team will ensure the exuberant atmosphere for which the biathlon venue in the Thuringian Forest is known worldwide. The flower ceremonies will take place directly after the competitions in the ARENA am Rennsteig. The official award ceremonies for the two sprint races are scheduled for Friday, January 5, 2024 at 7 p.m. on the Oberhof town square. The award ceremonies for the pursuit races will take place on Saturday, January 6, 2024 at 7 p.m. on the Oberhof town square. The visitor tents on the Grenzadler and in the town invites you to celebrate.
Free shuttle busses from the P+R parking lots
During the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2024, there will be no parking facilities available for fans in Oberhof. They will be transported by free shuttle buses from the four P+R parking lots in Ohrdruf, Suhl, Zella-Mehlis and Steinbach-Hallenberg as well as from the train station in Zella-Mehlis to the ARENA am Rennsteig and back. "We would like to call on people to form car pools in order to have as few vehicles on the roads as possible. This is the only way we can avoid traffic jams and guarantee smooth transportation," said Bernd Wernicke.