How to visit the Biathlon World Cup: Oestersund (Östersund)

Being in Sweden, we decided to visit one of the stages of the Biathlon World Cup held annually Oestersund. By the way, in 2019, the World Championship will be held here. Since we visited this kind of competition for the first time, we had to look for information on the Internet. Surprisingly, not so many sources give useful info. There are offers from travel agencies, including transfer, accommodation and cultural program mainly. But this is not for us! Therefore, today we share our experience in organizing the trip, as well as the impressions about the competitions we saw in Oestersund.

How to get there.

There was some kind of useful information on how to get to Oestersund and buy tickets only on the official page of the competition. The main options are train and plane. The city is located 550 kilometres north of Stockholm, so you can spend 5-8 hours by train, 60–100 euros one way. You can also find plane tickets for almost the same price of 100 euros one way if you are lucky. We did not find a direct bus, there are variants with changing buses, but this may be annoying.
We drove with our car. If you choose to rent a car for three days, it costs about 90 euros plus 80–90 liters of gasoline (about 1.45 euros per liter). Generally, if you travel with a companion, we strongly recommend to consider an alternative and more interesting option—a car. And there are many reasons we will mention below.
How to get to Ostersund

Accommodation.

To find an accommodation in Oestersund during the competitions is a pain. Even prices for this period on Airbnb are quite high. Can you imagine the prices of hotels? Therefore, if drive a car, you can stop somewhere along the road and nearby. This will really save some money! In our case, we paid 74 dollars for two nights in the town of Härjedalen NV, which is about 130 km from Oestersund. We arrived here in the evening, went to the competitions next day, returned in the evening, and left for Stockholm next morning.
We got a part of a house with a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, and a sauna! In addition, this place is a mountain skiing resort, so some may want to stay here longer.
Accommodation in Sweden

Road.

Depending on where you are going to stay and what you want to see, your route can be different.
On the way there, we decided to visit the town of Gavle, where the famous statue of a goat is located. We already wrote about this in our Instagram. The goat is a symbol of Swedish Christmas: it helps dwarfs bring gifts to children. The statue has been put up in Gavle since 1966. In recent years the number of adventurers tried to burn the goat. In spite of the volunteering guards and the fact that the goat is soaked with anti-inflammatory agents, since 1966 the goat managed to survive only a several times. Hooligans (often tourists) are imprisoned and fined, and since 2012 the goat is taken care of by the state guard.

Roads in Sweden

We also tried to find a place where three types of power lines intersect. To the west of Mehedeby, there is a point where the HVDC transmission line between Sweden and Finland crosses the 220 kV three phase AC transmission line and the parallel-running line of 132 kV AC. This is the only place of such kind in the whole world. Yet, we could not find it for two reasons: small paths are constantly blocked and once we made a mistake when choosing the road and walked behind the barrier on foot for about 3 km in vain. We lost a lot of time and decided to move further, because we wanted to visit the zoo in the town of Järvsö before darkness. In this time of the year it gets dark very early…
Roads in Sweden

The zoo was very interesting, especially the wolf feeding. It deserves a separate post, so we will tell more next time.
Jarvso zoo

Thus, we had to drive quite a lot along the Swedish paths and I need to admit that they were in good condition, even the minor ones, and even after the snowfall. We enjoyed some scenic views, but in December evenings this region is extremely dark. Sometimes it was also slippery, maybe because our winter tires did not have studs.

If you go directly from Stockholm to Ostersund, you will mainly drive the main E4 road. We went back this way. This is a typical Swedish highway with lane separated by fence. From time to time, one lane passes into two to let drivers overtake. Closer to Stockholm there are already 2-3 lanes with the speed limit of 120 km/h. So you can make it fast.
BMW official partner of IBU

Competition in Oestersund.

We bought tickets on the official website for 15 euros per person. You can buy them on site, in this case it costs 2 euros extra. Parking is close to the stadium and surprisingly cheap – 20 SEK (2 euros).
Parking in Ostersund

At the entrance, a programme with participants’ numbers is provided, which is very convenient. Also, there was an electronic shooting simulator, where we could try our skills. Well, we are not sure that some team would like to hire us…
electronic biathlon

At the entrance to the stadium, paper self-made flags were distributed. The flag of Belarus was not there. Volunteers did not hear about such a country, so we had to show them how it looks on the Internet and indicate participants from Belarus in the programme. Never mind: this is what happens to the flags after the race.
Flags

Behind the stands, there are catering points, as well as a pavilion selling all kinds of stuff. For us, it just a good place to get warm. Probably, there is no need to remind that despite the -5C it was still very cold to stand during several hours. That is why before the race and during a break organizers agitate people to do exercises not to get cold. When the whole tribune does it together, it looks pretty funny.

At this stadium, the spectators are located in three places: a stand in front of the shooting range and two pits along the route. We came a little earlier so we could watch the athletes warming up. We decided to go to the spot with a turn and a descent to the shooting range. This is a perfect place to take pictures of sportsmen.
Ostersund Biathlon

Anton Shipulin

Race.

The start of the pursuit.
Ostersund Biathlon

Belarusian representatives: Iryna Kryuko and Darya Yurkevich.
Iryna Kryuko

Darya Yurkevich

From the turn, it was also possible to cheer and support our athletes. We have no idea if they heard something, flying past us.
Makarainen and Skardino

Ostersumd persuit

Herrmann

Skardino

makarainen""

The race was very fast, two laps passed and our main hope in this race – Nadezhda Skardino decreased a gap through accurate shooting. We went to the main stand in front of the shooting range. It was quite crowded, with only places at the top left. As it turned out, it is even better.
shooting range biathlon

Biathlon Ostersund

We watched the men race from downstairs, but billboards, coaches and photographers blocked the view and it was difficult to understand which athlete shot which target. When they shot from the ground, it was impossible to seen anything at all. The results of the leaders were always on the screen, but after their shooting the broadcast followed them skiing. It means that it was completely impossible to understand who was shooting after the leaders. I think it would be great if organizers could add some additional information board above lanes. So far we advise to sit higher and take binoculars.

Our Nadezda shot without penalties, but lost a bit when skiing. Nevertheless, she improved here position from the 12th to the 6th and got into a flower ceremony. This gave us the opportunity to shout: “Belarus! Nadezda! Well done!”
Biathlon Ostersund podium

And then we could even congratulate her and shake hands. It was a bit tricky because of billboards, other fans and photographers.
Nadezda Skardino

The men’s race was less emotional. Our representatives were close to the end, and as I said above, it was very difficult to track their shooting. So somebody supports Shipulin, somebody cheers on Rastorguevs.
Rastorguevs

However, we also liked one sportsmen—Bjoerndalen 🙂 Unfortunately he was quite far from the leaders. There was a battle between them for a while.
Biathlon Ostersund

On the fourth shooting, M. Fourcade shot like a machine, and passed the last round without any fight. However, I was surprised that he did not take the flag for the finish. The fan who had made his way down to pass the flag was also surprised, and the reporters immediately began to photograph him.
Fourcade

To the delight of Swedes, their compatriot got into a flower ceremony.
Biathlon Ostersund

There were many Norwegians, some of them very funnily dressed.
Norwegian supporters

There were also people with very little fans.
cute supporter

All waited until the last athletes finished the race. Only some people tried to somehow raise their and audience’s mood crossing the finish line in an unusual way.
Biathlon Oestersund

The awarding ceremony and the victorious jump of Martin Fourcade put the end to the biathlon competitions in Oestersund this year.
Marten Fourcade

After that, someone tried to take autographs, the interestingly dressed Norwegians got their athlete’s T-shirt, and we took a photo with the local Santa Claus.
Santa Claus

This is how this race went for us. Thanks to this, there is another member in our family who now watches biathlon.

  • Pavel Savilo

    Отличный рассказ. Читаешь и проникаешься атмосферой. Эффект присутствия обеспечен:-) Спасибо, Виктор!

    • Спасибо, Павел. Я старался.
      Рад, что ты не забываешь ПБ.