Meribel-Courchevel and Planica to host skiing showpieces

The French resorts of Meribel-Courchevel and Planica, Slovenia have landed the 2023 Alpine Ski World Championships and Nordic World Ski Championships, respectively, as part of a raft of hosting rights assigned by the International Ski Federation (FIS).

The announcements were made by the FIS Council at its meetings in Costa Navarino, Greece. The contest for the Alpine World Championships saw the joint bid from the French resorts edge out Saalbach (Austria) by a Council vote of nine to six.

Both organisers put forward first-time bids, and the Alpine World Championships will now return to France after Val d’Isere staged the event in 2009. Courchevel and Méribel are Olympic sites that regularly host men’s and ladies’ FIS World Cup races. Saalbach has already stated that it will seek to bid for the 2025 Worlds.

FIS president Gian Franco Kasper said: “The bid of Courchevel-Méribel was very appealing with two top-level resorts offering essentially men’s and ladies’ venues, which is sure to facilitate scheduling and logistics. The French organisers are sure to put on an excellent show for the athletes, media and fans.”

Planica has secured the Nordic World Championships for the first time, having previously bid for the 2017, 2019 and 2021 events only to lose out against Lahti, Seefeld, and Oberstdorf. The Slovenian town won with nine votes against its competitor Trondheim (Norway) with six.

Kasper said: “Planica has put a massive investment into their facilities, which now boasts perhaps the most state-of-the-art Nordic Centre facilities anywhere on the globe. The athletes will truly have a chance to live up to their fullest potential at these World Championships and the passion of the Slovenian people for winter sports will create a memorable atmosphere.”

In other news, Vikersund in Norway was unanimously elected as host of the 2022 Ski Flying World Championships, while Georgia has secured its first-ever World Championship event. The Bakuriani resort will host the 2023 Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships.

Kasper added: “Electing Georgia as the host of the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships shows the wide reach and global appeal of the sport. These are our youngest disciplines, so it seems only fitting that a new, enthusiastic host nation steps in to welcome the World Championships.”