The Alpine Ski World championships get underway “behind closed doors” this coming Sunday in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy.

Despite no spectators being allowed, 600 athletes from 70 nations will be competing for 39 medals in 13 races at what is the second biggest event in the alpine ski racing calendar after the Winter  Olympics. They are among 3,500 people in total involved in staging the event, including volunteers, members of the Federations and 550 accredited media.

A global TV audience of  500 million people from all over the world are expected to tune in with coverage on Eurosport.  140 cameras installed for the TV production of the event, 90 of which to work simultaneously.  There is also a Cortina 2021 Official App (available for both iOS and Android) to download which promises new content every day including news, live races, contest awards, live streaming of the press conferences and “behind the scenes” material to deliver an interactive experience.

With the start of the Championships now only days away, 450 people are reported to be working to prepare the five race tracks with the help of 20 snow groomers, 25 quads, 100 drills and 500 shovels. Over 21 km of A and B nets are used to secure the slopes as well as 2,000 poles and 130 protection mattresses.

Cortina had also been due to stage the World Cup Finals last March but they had to be cancelled at the start of the pandemic. At one point this biggest ski racing event of the year was also in doubt due to the virus, but organisers found a way. Cortina will also be staging the Winter Olympics in five years’ time – the first staging of the games in Western Europe for 20 years.

Cortina have launched the World Championships with a video to the tune of Puccini’s “Nessun dorma” which a resort spokesperson said,

“…Celebrates sports and beauty through music, landscapes and ski. Bringing together some elements internationally recognized as Italian values – opera music, the beautiful landscapes of the Dolomites, the passion for sports – the video is a statement by Cortina, the Queen of the Dolomites, on some of the elements that make it stand out as one of the best destinations of the Alps, rich in history and heritage.”

The World Championships run from this Sunday 7th to 21st February with the opening ceremony  taking place on 7th February starting at 6 pm, Rome time (5pm in the UK).