Europe / Sweden

Åre

Åre in Sweden is Northern Europe´s largest and most advanced and diverse alpine sport resort, with skiing and a wide variety of other sports and activities to suit every possible preference and level of skill.

Åre is a locality and one of the leading Scandinavian ski resorts situated in Åre Municipality, Jämtland County, Sweden with 1,417 inhabitants in 2010. It is however, not the seat of the municipality, which is Järpen. 25% of the municipal industry is based on tourism, most notably the downhill skiing and biking resorts in Åre and Storlien. The growth in tourism has resulted in the development of hotels, recreational and shopping opportunities in the area.

Tourism in Åre started as King Oscar II in 1882 built the railroad to Trondheim in Norway. With this new railroad many people came to Åre to breathe the fresh air and to walk to the top of Åreskutan. They were soon known as “air-guests” (luftgäster).

There was no hotel, but in 1888 Albin Wettergren opened a restaurant by the railroad station. In 1891 Åre Tourist Station opened and even more guests were attracted to the village.

A woman from Östersund saw this increasing tourism as a great opportunity to open a hotel and did so in 1895. It was called “Hotell Åreskutan”. Also Albin Wettergren opened a hotel (“Grand Hotell”). These were only a few of all the hotels that were going to be founded in Åre.

In 1910, the Åre Bergbana was built and was the third one in Sweden after the one in Skansen (1898) and the one in Kirunavaara (1907). This was a more convenient way for the air-guests to reach the top of Åreskutan.

Taking advantage of the Åreskutan fell, the major center for alpine skiing in Sweden has become Åre Ski Area, sporting more than 30 modern ski-lifts. It hosted the Alpine World Championships in 1954 and 2007, and the annual Jon Olsson Invitational freeskiing competition, ending in 2007. On March 9–10 2012 the Freestyle FIS World Cup will be held in "slalombacken" close to the village centre.

Åre would also have been the secondary site for the alpine events of Östersund in its bid for the organization of the XXII Olympic Winter Games, the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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