Skistar, a leader
in the ski resort business
The operator of the Åre ski resort, SkiStar manages the five of the largest ski resorts in Scandinavia: Sälen, Åre and Vemdalen in Sweden, and Trysil and Hemsedal in Norway. In addition, it operates St. Johann in Tirol, Austria, and the city slope at Hammarbybacken in Stockholm, the host of the FIS World Cup City Event which will take place for the third time on 30 January 2018. Together with the Swedish Ski Association, SkiStar owns the company in charge of organising the 2019 World Championships, the 2018 Finals and the Stockholm city slalom events. SkiStar has a keen interest to enhance the appeal of skiing as a sport, the international positioning of the resort and its own brand as a leader in the ski business. Following the 2007 Championships, the number of international guests in Åre and other SkiStar destinations has increased significantly. Today in Åre, approximately a third of all guests hail from abroad, especially from Norway. Care for the environment is another key element of Ski-Star’s business. In 2013, Åre became one of the first ski resorts in Northern Europe to receive an ISO certification for environmental management (ISO 9001) and for quality assurance (ISO 14001). SkiStar has also made headlines by introducing the first environment-friendly grooming machines in Scandinavia. The town of Åre was selected in 2012 as one of the five sustainable development destinations by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.
A landmark: the åre cable car
The famous Åre cable car is a landmark distinguishing Åre from all other Scandinavian ski resorts; if you see a cable car, then you are in Åre! The distinctive cable car uses four pylons, four supporting cables and two haulage cables. Each supporting cable weighs 44 tons, and is isolated to prevent stretching. When the cable car was completed in 1976, it was perhaps the most obvious symbol of the so-called “Åre project,” instigated by the Swedish government in 1972 and intended to offer everyone an equal opportunity of reaching the summit. The goal was to enable everyone to go skiing, or at least reach the top, which is why accessibility has always been an integral part of the cable car. Still today the Kabinbanan transports people to the top of Mount Åre. Some of the other lifts may be more efficient; in fact, the total number of man-hours invested in defrosting, repairing and maintaining the cable car is significant. At the same time, there is no other lift in the region with the same intrinsic value. However, plans now exist to replace the 45-year-old construct in the near future – if only the town dwellers agree to let it go!
On the pilgrims’ way
For more than 1000 years, people have lived in the foothills of Mount Åre. Åre and its valley has served as a central meeting place and passage since the Middle Ages. Around the turn of the first millennium, the area around Åre was inhabited by Vikings. This can be seen in the names of the nearby villages, like Fröå and Ullå, which descend from names of two Norse gods. In the 12th century, the Åre Old Church was built. Saint Olaf the Holy had a great influence on the village and for centuries, pilgrims passed through on their way to Trondheim, Norway. Sami people settled in the mid-17th century to take advantage of the lush reindeer pastures. Initially a copper mining region, tourism in Åre started to grow with the establishment of the railroad in 1882 from Trondheim and it now represents the main source of income for the community. The resort currently has more than 32,000 beds and approximately half a million visitors travel to Åre annually.
A northern jewel
Still today, Åre remains a small village with only 1400 permanent inhabitants. However, the selection of restaurants, bars and nightclubs is impressive. The local chefs put a premium on serving their guests with specialities from the region. When in Åre, make sure to try local treats such as smoked reindeer, cured arctic char, elk or trout. Not to mention desserts with cloudberries, the golden berries that can be picked in the local mountains in late summer. The most famous restaurant in Åre is Fäviken Magasinet, appraised as one of the best in the world. To secure a table there, however, a reservation is required months ahead because demand is high for the 12 seats available… Åre is both exotic and unique. Modern and inviting. It offers top ski racing conditions, great leisure skiing, beautiful nature and fantastic views. And so much more…