Long-awaited comeback for cross-country skiers in the Thuringian Forest: Organizers are eagerly awaiting the Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup competitions in the LOTTO Thüringen ARENA at the Rennsteig
The organizers have given the green light: from Friday, the comeback of the cross-country skiing elite will be celebrated in the Thuringian Forest. Eleven years after the last major event for cross-country athletes, the Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup is returning to Oberhof. "The final work is underway. Our network of organizers, consisting of Oberhof Sport und Event GmbH, the Thuringian Winter Sports Centre, the German Ski Association and the Thuringian Ski Association, are working hand in hand to create the best conditions for the athletes and their teams and to offer the cross-country skiing fans a great live experience," says OC boss Bernd Wernicke.
Yesterday, Monday (January 15, 2024), the tracks in the LOTTO Thüringen ARENA am Rennsteig were driven up. The remaining work in the rear sections and minor adjustments to the stadium circuit were then completed. Snow was once again brought in from the snowmaking hall for the warm-up lap. "We are on target. Thanks to the cold snap immediately after the end of the Biathlon World Cup, we were able to produce enough snow," says Heiko Krause, deputy head of the OC and technical director of the sports facilities at the Thuringian Winter Sports Center. The natural snowfall announced for Wednesday and Thursday is not a problem for the competitions.
Anticipation among the DSV team
Fans can look forward not only to the current World Cup leader and winner of the Tour de Ski, Jessica Diggins (USA), but above all to the German athletes who have shown remarkable performances this season. After the first World Cup victory of her career, local hero Victoria Carl from Zella-Mehlis is going into the competitions with a broad chest. "The anticipation is very high. We're especially looking forward to the relay. That will be an absolute highlight. After the results in the World Cup so far, I'm expecting an exciting race," says the 28-year-old.
Lisa Lohmann is also looking forward to the weekend full of euphoria: "I've been dreaming of competing in the World Cup in my home town of Oberhof my whole life. I grew up here and for me there is no more beautiful place than Oberhof. You travel so much in winter - so it's even nicer when you can just be at home. I'm really looking forward to competing here in Oberhof next weekend and giving my best possible performance. I'm particularly looking forward to the relay at home."
Youth development under the eyes of the professionals
A premiere will be celebrated at the Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2024. Parallel to the World Cup, the DSV e.infra „Schülercup“ will kick off as the FIS Coop Mini World Cup. In front of the pros and many fans and embedded in real World Cup flair, over 220 athletes aged 14 and 15 will compete for victory on the cross-country ski trail. This way, the youngsters can not only look up to their idols, but also gain competition experience themselves.
The junior races will take place on Saturday, January 20, 2024 from 3.30 pm and on Sunday, January 21, 2024 from 9 am. On Saturday, an individual race in the classic technique is on the program, which starts immediately after the award ceremony of the World Cup competitions. Before the World Cup relays on Sunday, the participants in the school cup will be challenged in a technical sprint in freestyle in the LOTTO Thüringen ARENA on the Rennsteig.
Participation opportunities for children
The FIS SnowKidz activity course, which will be open on Friday, January 19, 2024 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, January 20, 2024 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will get children on skis and excited about winter sports - so that in a few years' time they might be competing for World Cup points themselves. Young fans of primary school age who are visiting the Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2024 in Oberhof with their family are invited to try their hand on the thin boards. Under expert guidance and with the active support of volunteer instructors from SSV Erfurt 02, Thuringia's largest winter sports club, there are snow hills and snow waves to conquer, poles to negotiate and cones to climb over on the small circuit. Having fun is of course the top priority.
The activity course can be used continuously during the specified time, even during ongoing World Cup competitions. Around 15 participants can use the course at the same time. The cordoned-off grandstand area is available as a waiting and recreation zone. Cross-country skis, poles and cross-country boots will be provided on site; for older participants, short skis with straps will be available so that normal boots can be left on. If you have your own cross-country boots, you can bring them. However, the binding system must be SNS.
Well prepared for the World Cup visit
A total of 3,000 tickets have been sold for the three days of competition. "That's a good start, although we are counting on more buyers at the box office who don't want to miss out on the cross-country skiing event - hopefully in the best winter weather," says OC boss Bernd Wernicke. Children and young people under the age of 16 are admitted free of charge.
Anyone wishing to purchase tickets now can use the print-at-home option in the online ticket store at tickets.langlauf-oberhof.de. Tickets can also be purchased at the Tourist Information Oberhof and at the box office at the LOTTO Thüringen ARENA am Rennsteig.
Arrival and parking
The parking spaces at the Grenzadler above the LOTTO Thüringen ARENA am Rennsteig are reserved for the organizers and officials during the Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup 2024. From January 18 to 21, 2024, from 6 am to 10 pm, the Tambacher Straße (L1128) will be closed from the LOTTO Thüringen Skisport-HALLE. Parking is not permitted on the L1128 between Oberhof and Oberschönau. Spectators coming from Steinbach-Hallenberg must use the approach to Oberhof via Zella-Mehlis.
Fans are requested to park their vehicles in the public parking lots in the town of Oberhof, such as the "Gründle 1" parking lot and the "Wadeberg" parking lot. From there, they can walk the approx. three-kilometer route to the sports venue or use the free visitor shuttle, which runs between Wadeberg, Gründle 1, Stadtplatz and Grenzadler. On Friday, the shuttle runs from 9.45 am to 6.15 pm, on Saturday from 7.45 am to 5.15 pm and on Sunday from 7.45 am to 4.15 pm.
It is also possible to travel by train to Zella-Mehlis/Suhl station. From there, bus line 422 Oberhof - Zella-Mehlis will take fans comfortably to the Oberhof bus station. Travel costs are not included in the price of the cross-country ticket.
Award ceremony in the Kurpark
In addition to the Flower Ceremonies, which will take place immediately after the competitions in the LOTTO Thüringen ARENA am Rennsteig, an official award ceremony is planned for Saturday (January 20, 2024) behind the Haus des Gastes in the Kurpark in Oberhof. The area will open at 6.30 pm, the warm-up will start at 6.45 pm and the award ceremonies will follow from 7 pm. The winners of the Pupils' Cup competitions on Saturday as well as the winners of the sprints and mass starts on Friday and Saturday will be honored.