Planica, 6 June – The sport-crazed Slovenians can pick among numerous places where they can rejoice in successes of their compatriots but there is no other venue in the country that can attract up to a hundred thousand fans than the legendary ski flying hill in Planica.
Located in an Alpine valley in north-western Slovenia, the ski jumping complex has become a symbol of Slovenian sport that has produced many champions, including reigning World Cup champion, Peter Prevc.
Planica is arguably the greatest venue in Slovenian sports and its giant hill is the place that attracts the massive crowds for the annual World Cup season finale. What is now a EUR 45m Nordic skiing complex emerged from the very roots of ski jumping in Slovenia and in the world in general, as the first hill was constructed there in 1932.
Slovenian engineer Slavko Bloudek (1890-1959) designed and built a larger hill in 1934, known as the Bloudek Giant, which is remembered as the venue of the first-ever jump of over 100 metres. The core of the present-day venue is theLetalnica bratov Gorišek hill, which was constructed in 1969 by brothers Vlado and Janez Gorišek. It has since become the world-leading ski jumping hill in terms of the number of records set (28). After almost a decade of inactivity, the hill was completely renovated and reopened in 2012 and is now under the protection of the state as a national monument.
While always attracting large crowds, Planica broke all attendance records in the past season as Peter Prevc emerged the best ski jumper in the world, setting several new record en route to a dominant overall victory in the World Cup.
The World Cup season finale in mid-March attracted a record number of visitors: the four-day festival saw almost 100,000 fans in total to break all attendance records in Slovenia for sporting events.
The venue got its current form in December 2015, when the Planica Nordic Centre was inaugurated to offer athletes a ski flying hill, seven ski jumping hills and 40 kilometres of cross-country skiing tracks.
The state-of-the-art venue is bidding for the Ski Flying World Championships in 2020 and the Nordic World Championships the following year. The organisers will be announced at the FIS congress in June 2016.