The countdown is precise. In two years, France will host the Alpine Skiing World Championships. The event is scheduled from February 6th to 19th, 2023 in the Savoyard resorts of Courchevel and Méribel. The women’s races for the first, the men’s events for the second.
Two years from the deadline, while the elite of the discipline have put down their bags in Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy) for the 2021 Worlds (February 8 to 21), the French organisers say they are loyal to their chart. Perrine Pelen (photo below), the three-time Olympic medalist (Lake Placid 1980 and Sarajevo 1984), director of the Courchevel-Méribel 2023 organising committee, explained to FrancsJeux.
FrancsJeux: Has the health crisis slowed down or disrupted preparations for the Alpine Skiing Worlds in 2023?
Perrine Pelen: No, not yet. But our organisation is in more tension. We are very attentive to what is going on. And, of course, concerned about the cessation of activity in France, with the closure of the ski lifts. The current situation forces us to adapt, to be more agile and to gain height. But the preparation for the event is not affected. The new Courchevel slope has been delivered. In Méribel, modeling work on the alpine ski stadium is scheduled for next summer. They have been confirmed.
What about the budget?
It’s still under control. But we have a review scheduled for this summer. Our budget is 43 million euros, 30 million of which comes from the International Ski Federation (FIS). Another important part – 7 million euros – is provided by public subsidies. The challenge for us is to find 5.5 million euros in private partnerships. The winter sports industry has been hit by the health crisis, but the 2023 Worlds can also be a window to the world afterwards. It’s up to us to find the industries and companies least impacted by the economic crisis and convince them to join the event.
Two years from the deadline, how does the organising committee work today?
We are six full-time employees. And we have a dozen outside speakers work on specific topics. In addition, we can rely on the expertise of the services of the two resorts, Courchevel and Méribel. Both have extensive experience in welcoming foreign visitors and organising international events. They are very seasoned. Two years before the Worlds, we are in good working order.
What identity do you want to give to the 2023 Alpine Skiing World Championships in Courchevel and Méribel?
These world championships will make history by being the first to be awarded to two different resorts and two different venues. We see it as an asset, a striking force, with a strong “All Together” dimension. We also want to leave a legacy, trying to bridge the gap that has grown between young people and alpine skiing. Our ambition is to offer an event that can combine tradition, innovation, and social and environmental responsibility.
How do you plan to use the 2023 Worlds to bring young people back to alpine skiing?
This will require inspiring the younger generation. Champions will have a role to play, of course, through their performance. But they will not be enough. We must put in place specific actions in the territories, targeting young people, in particular in connection with the school environment. Go out to meet young people to offer them not only a sporting event, the Alpine Ski Worlds, but also a whole environment. Sport, snow, mountains. The 2023 World Championships must go beyond the sole framework of competition tracks. They must showcase the mountain as a whole to the new generation.