Para Snow Sports World Championships
12-23 January 2022

Five things to know about Lillehammer 2021

All the information you need to get ready for first-ever World Para Snow Sports Championships that kicks off on Wednesday in Norway 09 Jan 2022
A cross-country skiing course full of snow
Lillehammer 2021 will mark the first time the Para alpine skiing, Para biathlon, Para cross-country and Para snowboard World Championships are held in the same city
ⒸAl Tielemans for OIS/IOC
By Lena Smirnova | For World Para Snow Sports

The Lillehammer 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships will mark the first time in history that the Para alpine skiing, Para biathlon, Para cross-country and Para snowboard World Championships are held in the same city, at the same time. 

Initially scheduled to take place in Lillehammer, Norway from 7 to 20 February 2021, the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and will now take place from 12 to 23 January 2022. 

With 87 gold medals to be handed out and less than two months until the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, the athletes are expected to be in top form at Lillehammer 2021. 

Here are five interesting facts about the upcoming races and the host city. 

1. Veteran host

When it comes to experience, it is hard to find a host to rival Lillehammer. The Norwegian ski resort has hosted countless sporting competitions, including the 1994 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the 2016 Youth Olympic Winter Games as well as several X-Games, World Para Snow Sports and FIS World Cups. 

The Para cross-country and biathlon races of the World Para Snow Sports Championships will be held in Lillehammer, while the Para alpine and Para snowboard events will take place 15 km away, at the neighbouring mountain resort Hafjell.

2. Making history 

Lillehammer 2021 will be the first time in history that a joint World Para Snow Sports Championships is held. The World Championships in the four Para Snow Sports were previously held in the same year, but at different venues and on different dates. This time, however, the biggest stars from all four sports will race at a joint competition.

A total of 852 athletes from 42 nations will compete at Lillehammer 2021. This includes 350 Para alpine skiers, 362 Para Nordic skiers and 140 Para snowboarders.

3. Golden blizzard

A total of 87 sets of medals to be handed out during the 12-day competition. This includes 36 medal events in Para alpine skiing, 18 events in Para biathlon, 20 events in Para cross-country, and 13 events in Para snowboard.  

Three events will be making their World Championships debut in Norway. These are the parallel event in Para alpine and the dual banked slalom and team event in Para snowboard.

4. Local stars

The host nation has top medal prospects in all the sports featured at the Lillehammer 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships. 

In Para alpine men’s sitting class, Paralympic champion Jesper Pedersen, who has won the overall Crystal Globe four years in a row, will go head-to-head with reigning five-time world champion Jeroen Kampschreur of the Netherlands. 

Pedersen’s compatriots Birgit Skarstein and four-time cross-country world champion Vilde Nilsen are among the top picks in the Para Nordic women’s sitting and standing categories, respectively. 

Dual athlete Skarstein won gold in Para rowing four months ago at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Aside from her sporting success, she is also one of Norway’s most recognisable athletes thanks to her glittering run in the local version of Dancing with the Stars in the fall of 2020.

In Para snowboard, the spotlight will be on Kristian Moen, who shocked sports veterans when he took silver at the 2015 World Para Snowboard Championships at age 15. Now with more experience, Moen promises to be a real threat in the highly competitive men’s SB-LL1 class.

5. Top courses 

Athletes will not be the only world-class attractions at Lillehammer 2021. The courses, built by the best specialists from around the world, are certain to dazzle as well. 

For example, the two snowboard courses will be built by the same, Whistler-based team that worked on the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. The courses they built for the World Cup finals in Hafjell in March 2020 received rave reviews from athletes and they have further improved on these designs to make even more of a splash in January 2022.