Tommy Eliasson Winter, former head of the Swedish Ski Association, turned his skiing skills northward. As CEO of the growing ski resort Storklinten in the municipality of Boden, he has his sights set on the smart green, with climate-smart skiing, both locally and globally.
In Storklinten, about 30 minutes from Boden and only about one hour from Luleå Airport, the smart green is white. Now, during the fantastic spring winter, we are fully enjoying our neighborhood life here in Boden, with cold nights that keep snow and ice at bay, and sunny long bright days that invite you to enjoy the outdoors. During the sports holiday, the municipality of Boden put on a bus to Storklinten for students free from school, and throughout the spring many schools come here for outdoor days. An increasing number of visitors from the nearby luxury hotels in Harads, about 15 minutes away, have also started to find their way to the cozy home mountain where the chalet village and slopes are growing every year.
New high season
But it is with new climate-smart approaches already in October-November that Storklinten has gained the most ground in recent years. National and training teams from all over the world come here for their important pre-season training. In the fall of 2022, Storklinten was one of three facilities that could offer snow the earliest in Sweden.
“We were able to open in October and in November we had about 3000 guest nights here, on 330 beds,” says Tommy, who took over as the new CEO at the same time as training teams from about 15 different nations took turns.
Tommy is one of many returnees who now choose to build his career in the expansive Norrbotten region. For him, Storklinten has always been his home hill, both while growing up in Boden, during his career as an elite alpine skier and most recently in leading positions nationally and internationally.
“Everywhere in Sweden there is talk of recession and bad times. Here it’s a completely different spirit, with pride and a focus on the future. I experience an incredible service from the municipality of Boden in a way that I have never experienced anywhere else. There are real opportunities here and a willingness to develop,” he says.
The initiatives in Storklinten are very much in line with the global sustainability goals on many levels. The Swedish Ski Association also put sustainability high on the agenda a few years ago.
“We saw that an elite skier had four times the carbon footprint of others, especially with all the travel and transportation. In the Alps, an increasing number of glaciers and lift systems were shut down due to mild autumns and winters. We realized that we had to do something,” says Tommy.
At the same time, Storklinten, like many other ski resorts, was considering how to fill the pre-season with coverage.
The solution was a joint venture in Storklinten. As part of its climate goals, the Swedish national alpine team chose Storklinten as the home base for its pre-season training.
“In four years, we reduced our carbon footprint by 25% without actually giving up anything, just adapting and improving what we could.”
Storing snow for early season
In cooperation with Ski Team Sweden and Vattenfall, Storklinten has invested in an energy-efficient snow system that allows them to create snow faster, more efficiently and make the best use of the cold temperatures.
But what appeals to the international training teams is not just the snow, but the totality, the proximity of the accommodation to the slopes, the rich leisure time on the doorstep and the responsiveness of the staff to the demands of the national teams in terms of courses, service and meals. In addition, in the run-up to important competitions, the possibility of privacy and isolated teams is particularly appreciated, which is easier in a smaller facility from a global perspective.
“We are now looking at how we can extend the season into the spring. Looking ahead, I see a destination and leisure village not only for skiing but also with more summer activities. We have a cycle path project underway between two river valleys, an activity hall, a growing restaurant and a development of really good conferences in the natural environments here,” says Tommy.
For those of us who live here in the municipality of Boden, we can still enjoy the spring sun on the slopes and on Storklinten’s new outdoor terrace in the sun before Storklinten starts storing snow for the fall training team and the smart green, which in this case is white.
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