THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS HOTSPOT: ISCHGL IS IN SWEDEN RIGHT NOW

At every Skiing World Championships, the TirolBerg is the meeting place for sportspeople, officials and VIPs – and this year in Åre is no different. Ischgl is traditionally one of the hosts. We spoke with Andreas Steibl, director of the tourism association, to find out more on the purpose of the event.

The TirolBerg: up and running since the weekend, the hotspot of the Alpine Ski World Championships in Åre for 14 days, and Ischgl is not only present, it’s right in the thick of things. This is where athletes meet up with officials as well as journalists, entrepreneurs and many other opinion leaders – it’s a bit like the restaurant, bar and meeting place of a skiing world championships all in one. This meeting venue has been at every world championships since 2011, and Ischl has been there from the start as one of its four premier partners. “It’s a platform that definitely pays off for us,” says Andreas Steibl, director of the tourism association. “The TirolBerg is simply an exciting place to be, where people chat and network informally. There’s no way to measure the advertising value for Ischgl concretely, but we do know that we come into contact with a great deal of opinion leaders there, and we can present ourselves very informally. It isn’t a congress or a trade fair, it’s a meeting place – and we can show our best side there.”

“the advertising value for ischgl is tremendous“

The TirolBerg (it used to be the Tirol House, and before that Austria House, initiated by the Austrian Economic Chamber –Ed.) has indeed made a name for itself worldwide – as a place with a very special flair, and as the place where things happen. “Our performance is special,” says Steibl, “because whilst the Swiss and the Germans rent out existing locations at all the world championships and don’t make a great effort, the TirolBerg is always unique and always immediately recognizable as the TirolBerg.” This starts with the fact that the building is always the same building, a unique construction of glass and wood which is transported from event location to event location. And then the organizers always ensure there is a proper supporting programme in the TirolBerg, with special theme evenings, good music and, of course, excellent cuisine as well.

“the ischgl evening will be a unique event“

But the most important evening – and not just for the people of Ischgl either – is the Ischgl Evening. It always takes place on the day of the men’s downhill race, which this year is on Saturday 9 February. Steibl: “This event is the most important evening of the championships. And we’re working hard to make sure the evening will be perfect.” All the Austrian competitors will make an appearance in the TirolBerg during the evening, as well as the world champion (even in the unlikely event that he isn’t Austrian), and generally everyone who is anyone and is in Åre will show up in the TirolBerg. Steibel: “And, as you would expect from Ischgl, we will bring our core skills and offer haute cuisine on the night.” Martin Sieberer of the Trofana Royal is responsible for the menu this year.

Aber wie bekommt man die Tiroler Gemütlichkeit zustande? Vor allem in einem Land wie Schweden, in dem die klassischen Gemütlichkeitsstifter im normalen Restaurantleben schwer zu bekommen und vor allem sehr teuer sind? Andreas Steibl: „Wir haben im Tirol Berg natürlich auch einen Publikumsbereich. Dort werden Tiroler Produkte angeboten, das eine oder andere Schnapserl wird sich dabei schon finden.“

But how can you create the cosy Tyrolean atmosphere? Especially in a country like Sweden, where it’s difficult – and very expensive – to get hold of the classic ingredients for that cosy atmosphere in normal restaurant life? Andreas Steibl: “We’ve also got a public area in the TirolBerg, of course. This is where Tyrolean products are on offer, and there’ll be one or two