THE FIRST SVENSKA SKIDSPELEN
The Holmenkollenrennene in Oslo, Norway and the Lahtisspelen in Lahtis, Finland were great successes both for Athletes and Spectators in their respective countries and Sweden wanted to create a similar event, and thus; Svenska Skidspelen was created in 1947. Skidspelen were initially rotated between different towns in Sweden, but Falun has been the steady host town since 1959. By then Falun had already hosted Skidspelen twice in 1952 and 1956 as well as hosting the World Championships in 1954.
The Svenska Skidspelen pin
The first year that the the Svenska Skidspelen pin – The Ski – was launched was in 1961, the fifth year that the Skidspelen were hosted in Falun.The Ski pin had been used at the Pre World Championships in 1953 and was the official brand for the Nordic World Chamionships in 1954. The idea was to promote skiing, showcase the banner of the town of Falun as well as the abbreviation for Svenska Skidspelen; SS.
Bubo – the mascot of Svenska Skidspelen
Leading up to the World Championships in 1993, a competition was created to get suggestions for a mascot for the competitions. The winner was the Eagle Owl Bubo. The Eagle Owl is the official animal of the county of Dalarna and Bubo bubo is the latin name of the Eagle Owl.
Quick facts about Svenska Skidspelen
• The number of countries represented has varied greatly over the years. 4 countries were represented in 1947 and the two peak years were in 1987 and 2005 when 21 countries were represented. The lowest number of participating countries were in 1953 and 1957 when only 3 countries competed.
• The four countries that competed in 1947 were Sweden, Norway, Finland and Switzerland.
• In 1966 Umeå-Örnsköldsvik were asked to host the Svenska Skidspelen, despite Falun having been honoured the permanent hosting. This year the Skidspelen had to take place after the World Championships and in order to ensure the snow situation as late in the season as March 11-13th, the Skidspelen were held further north in Sweden.
• Already after 3 years in 1949 did the Board of the Swedish Ski Federation consider the Svenska Skidspelen a success and could compare themselves to Holmenkollen and Lahtis.
• In 1950, Alpine races were included in Svenska Skidspelen and held a few days after the Cross-country and Ski-jumping competitions. They were however, held in Åre.
• In 1952, Falun hosted the Skidspelen for the first time. Vasaloppet was also included in the competitions and the Opening ceremony at the Grand Square gathered a crowd of 6 000 people.
• The Skidspelen 1955 were organized in Stockholm, but the lack of snow was causing problems. Snow for the ski jumping was taken from Östersund and Dalarna to Hammarbybacken by train where volunteer fire fighters carried the snow to the upper hill for a pay of SEK 10/day.
• 1959 was the first year that the Relay was included in the program of Svenska Skidspelen. The distance was 3x10km and only offered for men.
• 1963 was the first year that TV broadcasted the event.
• During all the years, the presence or absence of snow has always been the biggest topic of conversation, although it has usually worked out but sometimes at the very last minute.
• Skidspelen had competition for spectators in 1971 when Falu BS played the Swedish final in bandy during the same weekend. It was the first time that Falu BS had qualified for the final.
• In 1975, the organizers decided to market Svenska Skidspelen as Faluspelen and changed the traditional brand of The Ski. This caused bad publicity in both Sweden and the Ski World when people thought that Skidspelen had finally managed to work up its reputation as a Ski event similar to Holmenkollen and Lahtis.
• The World Cup in Cross-country skiing was introduced in 1979 and Svenska Skidspelen was included from the beginning.
• In 1984, Biathlon was also included as part of the Svenska Skidspelen. These races were held in the beginning of January with the remaining races at the end of February. The competitions were attended by 30,000 people and was a financial success as well.
• A snow sculpting competition was held during the 1984 Skidspelen.
• Many other ski sports have been included in the history of Skidspelen. Ski orienteering was part of the 1987 Svenska Skidspelen and were organized in Svärdsjö.
• 1988 was the first year that the Children’s Skidspel were held.