FIS Nordic World Ski Championships has previously been arranged in Falun four times. This week it is exactly 70 and 50 years since the two first championships; 1954 and 1974.
1954, between the 13th and 21st of February, Falun for the first time in history of skiing Falun hosted a World Ski Championships. The World Championship days in Falun offered festivities in the city and attracted both a huge crowd and royalties.
Prince Bertil visited and made sure the competitions got a royal splendor. Another visitor was the then 7-year-old Per Käck from Falun, who visited the championships with his grandfather.
– I remember the cold weather and the many spectators. I also remember how difficult It was to enter the heated cabin, but we managed to enter it once to warm up, says Per Käck.
Despite the extreme cold, the crowd made it outside to watch the competitions on the day of the premiere. No less than 50 000 spectators were on site in Källviken to watch the competition in the big jumping hill, which was won by the Finn Matti Pietkäinen, but where Bror Östman from Sweden took home an acclaimed bronze medal. The audience figure was a new record for winter sports in Sweden, and would hold until 1993, when a slightly bigger crowd watched Torgny Mogren race for his World Championship gold medal in the 50 km race in Falun.
On February 16-24, 1974 Falun hosted the FIS World Ski Championships for the second time. The 1974 championships were also a major motivation for the city of Falun to construct the Lugnet venue. In the spring of 1971, the construction of what would become one of northern Europe’s greatest sports facilities began.
The main indoor arena at Lugnet was at the time the biggest indoor sport venue in Scandinavia. The ski stadium for Cross Country and Ski Jumping was built for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1974.
Lugnet has developed year by year and is today one of the most complete sports and recreational venues in the world. Per Käck has been able to follow the development and has experienced all four previous Championships held in Falun, both as a volunteer and through his profession as a taxi driver. He had really busy and intense working days driving taxi during the championships’ weeks 1974 and 1993.
He was a volunteer in the transport section 2015 when he got a special duty. As all championships held in Falun also the FIS World Ski Cchampionships 2015 had a royal splendor.
– I was asked to be the personal driver for the Norwegian royal family and I drove Crown Prince Haakon, Mette-Marit and their children during their visit in Falun. I had very interesting days working with the Swedish Security Service. I was not allowed to tell anyone where I was going and where we were driving, says Per Käck.
Per Käck is looking forward to the upcoming Championships 2027 in Falun.
– I will for sure visit Lugnet and watch the competitions on site. I am thinking about the possibility to participate in some way, but I am not sure. If you are over 80 years old you might be too old for volunteering, he says with a smile.