PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Light fades as the sun sets on the Nordic Heritage Center, but work continues on the site.
Front-end loaders, bulldozers and trail groomers trundle across mountains of snow, pushing it into place, shaping it, setting the white stage for the world-class sporting event that’s a week away.
The first of two International Biathlon Union World Cup events will be held here, beginning Feb. 4, followed by the second competition starting in Fort Kent on Feb. 10.
For two weeks in early February, Aroostook County will be the most interesting place in the United States to 120 million European television viewers. With just over eleven people per square mile, our country’s northeastern-most county will host the 2011 Biathlon World Cup. While the shooting and skiing sport seems to perplex American audiences, biathlon is the most popular televised winter sport in Europe, which—in addition to the roughly 35,000 spectators and 250 athletes from thirty countries who will attend or participate in the event—will make the World Cup the most viewed sporting event in Maine’s history.
It was the sort of warm television feature that fans of the Olympic Games and other international sports events know well: the home team, granted a little downtime, ventures outside the sports village to partake of an activity that defines the character of the host community. Viewers get up close and personal with their favorite athletes and gain surprising insight into the culture of a land thousands of miles away.
With just 100 days until the start of the North American Tour of the Biathlon World Cup, Presque Isle and Fort Kent, Maine are preparing for the tens of thousands of fans who will descend on the cities for seven days of Olympic-level competition during the E.ON IBU Biathlon World Cup.
Maine is home to two internationally accredited, world-class venues that are licensed to host World Cup competitions. The Fort Kent 10th Mountain Center and Presque Isle Nordic Heritage Center competition sites join others in Germany, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Norway, and Slovenia that are hosting this year’s World Cup events. Read more here.
An IBU delegation inspected the E.ON IBU World Cups 7 and 8 venues in Presque Isle and Fort Kent, USA during the first week of October. Presque Isle will host its first IBU World Cup while Fort Kent has previous experience from 2004. Read more here.