In my opinion, Tyrol is the unofficial HOME for world championships – this year we’ve already had several and there’s no signs of stopping! One of the big championships coming up soon is the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2019!

Ski jumping is one event at the Nordic Skiing World Championships

Enjoy the winter wonderland of Tyrol, as athletes battle it out. Photo by Stephan Elsler

This world championship will take place from the 19th of February to the 3rd of March, primarily in Seefeld, with some events (like ski jumping) in Innsbruck. The opening ceremony will take place on the 20th of February at 6pm to kick the event off, before more than 700 athletes from 60 different nations participate in 21 competitions over two weeks to battle for the number one spot.

I suggest picking Innsbruck as your ‘home base’ during the championships, and make the short journey up to Seefeld for the various events you want to see. There are many reasons why, so let’s have a look at the event, shall we?

Nordic Skiing Competitions in Tyrol

This is only the second time that Tyrol will host the Nordic World Ski Championships (the first time was in 1985), but having hosted the Winter Olympics three times the region is no stranger to Nordic ski competitions! Tyrol and Innsbruck are simply ideal for Nordic Skiing competitions, combining the cross-country skiing in Seefeld and the ski jumping at Innsbruck’s famous Bergisel ski jump, icon of the city!

Ski jumper

There are many events to take in over two weeks, don’t miss out on the spectacular ski jump. Photo by Stephan Elsler

Which disciplines do athletes compete in at the Nordic Skiing World Championships?

The Nordic World Championships have a lot to take in. Click here to see the full schedule, but in the meantime let’s take a look at the various disciplines.

Cross Country Skiing Races

  • The Goal: like most races, speed is the winner and the first person to cross the finishing line wins.
  • Race Distances: the races range from 1500m sprints up to the 50km mens race.
  • Two Discipines: classic and skating. In classic races the skis are kept parallel and slide forward in tracks. Skate XC skiing looks more like running, with the skis held in an open V shape and slid out to the side on each stride.
  • Race Formats: there are individual races for men and women as well as team relay events. Most races are EITHER classic OR skating, but the Skiatholon combines both in one race.
  • When: there’s some form of cross country race held almost every day of the Championships.
  • Where: all XC races are held in Seefeld. See the various tracks for the different disciplines and races HERE.
Practising the skating discipline of crosscountry skiing at Mieminger Plateau

Practising the skating discipline of crosscountry skiing at Mieminger Plateau

Ski Jumping

  • The Goal: the main goal is to jump as far as possible, however there is a secondary criteria judging style too.
  • Scoring System: every ski jumping hill has a ‘K-Point’ (construction point), which is basically a target in the landing zone that competitors should aim to jump past. Athletes are awarded points for landing on the K-Point, plus extra points for every metre they jump beyond it. Additionally, 5 judges each award up to 20 points per jump depending on style and technique – the highest and lowest scores are discarded and the remaining three added to the distance component. This is then further modified by wind (to control for natural wind varitions) and gate (starting point/in-run, often set to compensate for the danger of changing wind conditions etc) factors to give a final score.
  • Jump Distances: the ski jumping will take place at the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck and the Toni Seelos Ski Jump in Seefeld. The Bergisel hill has a K-Point of 120m, and the record jump distance is 136m. There are two jumps at the Toni Seelos hill – the larger has a K-Point of 99m and a record jump distance of 114.5m.
  • When: jumps will take place every day of the championship except for the last, whether it be trials or competition.
  • Where: either at the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck or the Toni Seelos Ski Jump in Seefeld.
Ski jumping at the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck

Ski jumping at the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck

Nordic Combined

  • The Goal: to achieve the best combined performance and points in both cross-country and ski jumping
  • Format: The combined features both single discipline and mixed events, in both individual and team forms. XC events include sprints as well as longer races up to 10km, while ski jumping events are held at both the Seefeld hill and the larger jump at Bergisel in Innsbruck. One of the most interesting events is the Gunderson, which uses ski jumping performance in the morning to set the handicap for the afternoon’s 10km XC – the winner of the ski jump starts at 00:00, every other competitor starts with a time disadvantage relative to their score, and the first to cross the finishing line wins the whole event.
  • When and Where: the Nordic Combined runs parallel and during the entire two weeks.
Seefeld is a stunning location for the 2019 Nordic Ski World Championships

Just check out that view! Photo by Stephan Elsler

Innsbruck as Home Base during the Nordic World Championships

Seefeld is on a sunny plateau above Innsbruck, while Innsbruck is the ‘big city’ in the valley. It’s really a matter of taste where you set up camp, but in my opinion you should make Innsbruck your home base while heading up to Seefeld for the various competitions.

Innsbruck is centrally located and easy to get to, an ideal jumping point for anything else you want to do and see while you enjoy the championships, and with a range of accomodation offers great bang for your buck at all levels of budget.

Innsbruck makes a great 'big city' base for the 2019 Nordic Skiing World Championships

Innsbruck makes a great ‘big city’ base for the 2019 Nordic Skiing World Championships

Nordic World Championship Tickets INCLUDE train tickets to/from Innsbruck

There are a few different ticket options over different timeframes, so you can enjoy the World Championships without it costing an arm and a leg, and without paying to see events you’re not interested in. Check out the link HERE to get your tickets.

One major perk is that a ticket to the World Championships also doubles as a train ticket – so from Innsbruck you can just hop on the train and head up to Seefeld without any extra cost. That means that you can enjoy the best of both worlds: explore the city and its nightlife during the downtime, and cheer on the athletes during the events.

The train is only a 36min ride with several departures each day, and the view out the window as you go up the mountain is mesmerizing. It is one of the few times I prefer a window seat.

Seefeld Station

The train ride through the breathtaking nature from Innsbruck up to Seefeld is an experience you don’t want to miss. Photo by: David Johansson

Volunteering at the Seefeld 2019 Nordic World Championships 

Maybe simply watching is not enough for you; maybe you want to be a part of this spectacular event? You could always become a volunteer!

It’s really easy to apply and it comes with some pretty big perks: you not only get a full kit from Löffler, decking you out in jackets, pants and shirts, but you also get a free ride to the events, free meals, a certificate, and it all culminates with a huge party!

There are tons of great jobs to be filled, from supporting the international teams during their stay, to supporting journalists in the media center, to assisting along the trails. Find out more about the volunteering opportunties Here.

Athletes compete

Get caught up in the excitement of a World Championship in Tyrol! Photo by Stephan Elsler

Here’s hoping for gorgeous sunny winter weather to add the icing on the cake of a spectacular 2-week event!