Jan Skřička has been experiencing hard days as well as his colleagues from Vysočina Arena: on Saturday Nové Město na Moravě will host the FIS Cross-Country World Cup that returns there after four years. "In the last few days we’re working non-stop. We want the races to be really great and Nové Město to get on World Cup programme regularly," says Skřička , general secretary of the World Cup in Vysočina.
Is the area completely ready for the World Cup races?
We’re waiting for the last ice to melt a bit in order to be able to clean the area and get ready for fans. Thursday is going to be a cleaning day. There are still some things that need to be prepared but everything goes as planned. I believe FIS representatives will be satisfied.
You and your team in Vysočina Arena have got much experience from bigger events that take place here. How much does it help?
Of course, this helps. Our experience is bigger thanks to the venues organized here and everyone in the team knows what his/her role is. We’re used to ourselves and the better prepared. Moreover, we stopped dividing ourselves to a team for cross-country skiing and a team for biathlon. Nowadays we are one team all together, which makes everything easier.
The snow condition in the Czech Republic are very poor this season. You had to adjust the trails because of that. What is their current condition?
Theoretically, we would be able to prepare 5km circuit on 20cm level of snow, however, we have to take into consideration that the season does not end after this venue, we have to keep the snow until March in order the arena could keep working. Luckily, FIS representatives were reasonable in this issue so we prepared a circuit long 3,75km. Concerning the snow, we produced it at the stadium and we used the snow storage for the trails. Without this help we would cover only 1,5km so there would be no chance. Snow storage, what an unbelievable help. We’re happy to have it.
There is no entrance fee for this weekend. How many visitors do you expect?
I hope there will be about 10 thousand fans. The World Cup was not here for 4 years, performances of Czech skiers got better and I think the whole image of cross-country skiing improved. Moreover, there will be all world’s stars with Norwegian Klaeb in the lead. All of these are factors that should hopefully attract people. I hope the area fills up in order to have fantastic atmosphere. We’re planning parking and other facilities with regards to this attendance. Except amazing skiers there will be a fun zone for kids where they can hire a complete equipment and try to run round an ability circuit. There will also be interesting side events.
What if the weather significantly gets worse? Are you ready for that? Cannot it negatively influence the races?
The layer of the snow is of that height that it would have to rain constantly for a week to lose it. The snow is not a problem for the World Cup. It would be paradoxically worse if it started to snow heavily now. We would have to clean large areas then, get everything ready and it’s not easy to do it last time. Snow cats workers and technicians did an amazing job. Before Christmas we had to stop snow delivery not to lose it. The more work awaited us after New Year’s Eve. Most of us have been kept working for 10 days around-the-clock. Fortunately, they are full of energy but I think after this weekend they will drop from exhaustion. There is about 400 helpers in our organization team.
It seems nothing can surprise you.
You can plan what you want but if the weather steps in, you do nothing. We prepared many things in advance, we even fixed some things during autumn. The last month has been very intensive. But I have a good feeling, everything is under control.
Commentary of Josef Gabriel, director of the race
"There is about 60-120cm of snow on the tracks, the width of the track is 6-8m, which is fully sufficient. The trails are ready, we are currently discussing their signage and technical arrangement of the area. There have been trainings from Monday, Russians came as the first ones and other teams will come to Nové Město on Thursday. On Friday there is an official training and everything has to be settled for racing mode. The biggest problem were team lorries. They applied for 9 lorries and 1 bus. If you consider that one lorry needs a space of 20x10m and all of them have to fit in a limited area near the stands, it’s quite a problem because we’re not inflatable. They are service lorries and everyone needs them the closest to the trails so we cannot split them to more places and we also have to meet the requirements. But finally we solved it and I think we’re ready in all points of view. We look forward to the World Cup to start. "