Before 1978, the ski jumping hill site of Kandersteg was located in the center of the village behind the train station. After the construction of the new road to the car transport station, it was no longer possible to use the area as a ski jumping site. The ski club Kandersteg then applied for a project to build a new construction of ski jumps with plastic mats at the enterance of the village to the Swiss Ski Federation. Willy Sahli and Adolf Ogi both undertook big efforts to support this project. The Swiss Ski Federation confirmed the building of three jumps, covered by plastic mats in 1977. Additionally, they decided to entitle the hill site as national ski jumping site.
On 4. September 1978 the constructions of the three ski jumping hills began and just after a year of construction time the new National Nordic Ski Center in Kandersteg was completed. The overall costs amounted to CHF 2.4 Mio.
The inauguration of the new ski jumping hills took place on 2. September 1979. A high profiled international summer competition was held. During that time, Switzerland had some of the most successful ski jumpers in the worldcup, such as Hansjörg Sumi, Christian Hauswirth and Karl Lustenberger. From 1981, the three ski jumps were also available for winter training.
During the following decade, the hill site was intensively used for trainings and competitions. Famous athletes like Toni Innauer, Andreas Felder, Jens Weissflog, Matti Nykänen and Stefan Zünd have all won international competitions in Kandersteg. In the early 1980’s, todays FIS Race Director Walter Hofer jumped on the K30-hill and landed successfully at 11,5m.
Since the opening in 1978, the ski jumping site had operated successfully for over 10 years. The annual international summer competition was the place to be for ski jumping stars from Europe, America and Asia. The hill site was the most modern infrastructure for ski jumping of the world by then!
In 1990, the ski jumping hills had to get adapted to the latest FIS specifications. Corrections to the inrun profile and a flatten of the slope of the K90-hill were made. The ice track was replaced by a ceramic track. The jumps were reopened with an international summer competition in 1991.
In 2003, Robert Rathmayr was voted as president of the NNSK and ushered the cooperative in a new era. The administrative board concentrated themselves to the new tasks and functions. The first measure was to revitalise the training and to launch a fix competition rhythm.
On 1 August 2003 the National Championships in Ski jumping and Nordic combined took place in Kandersteg as a summer event for the first time in history. In 2004 and 2006 a Sommer Grand-Prix in Nordic combined was organized. Until 2007, the NNSK and the Skiclub Kandersteg had organized various summer competitions in ski jumping and Nordic combined.
The ski jumping hills were closed in summer 2008 as they did not correspond to the latest FIS specifications anymore. After the launch of the project “NNSK2010” in 2005, the general assembly decided to modernise all three jumps. The renovation of the matting, amendments of the profile and the reconstruction of the commercial building were part of this project.
A notable patronage committee was arranged, which supported the project management. The community members of Kandersteg accepted a contribution of CHF 1.2 Mio of the local government at the assembly at municipal level on 27. November 2009. An incredibly important milestone in the realisation of the project “NNSK2010”.
The overall planning of "NNSK2010" started in March 2010: measurement of the area were taken, construction plans of the jumps and the commercial building drawn, investigations of new inrun track systems were taken, documents prepared, contract of purchase of the ground negotiated, etc.
In spring 2013 the entire financing of the project was guaranteed. The project planning went to full speed from this point. The restoration of the access road started in May 2014, the reconstruction of the ski jumping hills started one year later and were completed in June 2016. Read the entire process of the construction in our Status report.
The Nordic Arena got inaugurated on 31. July and 1. August 2016 after two years of construction. The juniors and trainees in ski jumping and Nordic combined proved their skills during the competition of the “Helvetia Nordic Trophy” on the HS27 and HS72 on 31 July.
The official opening ceremony took place on 1 August. Switzerland's one and only Simon Ammann and his Swiss colleagues presented a great show together with top international athletes such as Stefan Kraft, Michael Hayböck, Andreas Wank and Tom Hilde.
In spring 2017 the FIS Nordic Junior World Championships were withdrawn from Russia. During the spring meeting in May 2017, the FIS awarded the organization of the JWSC to Kandersteg (ski jumping and Nordic combined) and Goms (cross-country skiing). This decision resulted in extensions throughout the Nordic Arena. The HS72, for example, was given a new ice ceramic inrun track suitable for winter use. Profile corrections were made at the inrun, giving the Blümlisalpschanze a new hill size 74 m. In addition, the stairs along the outrun of HS106 and HS74 were extended. The new Chalet at the top was a gift from the Gewerbeverein Kandersteg.
The OC of the Junior World Championships had comparatively little time to organise this major event. On 29 January 2018, the World Championships were opened with an official opening ceremony at the school yard. In the following six days a total of nine competitions in ski jumping and Nordic combined took place. For the first time, the women's Nordic combined competition was held as a test run for further competitions on an international level. Many of the participants such as Swiss Sandro Hauswirth and Dominik Peter, the World Champion in Nordic Combined Ondřej Pažout, the Oftebro brothers, Nika Kriznar, Ski Jumping World Champion Marius Lindvik, Andreas Alamommo or Domen Prevc had already gained their first experience in World Cup at the time of the Junior World Championships.
In February 2019, the next major event, the O.P.A. Games, took place in the Nordic Arena. Around 200 athletes as well as 50 coaches and officials from the six Alpine countries Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Slovenia competed on an international level for five days.
Since its opening in summer 2016, the Nordic Arena has been part of the "Helvetia Nordic Trophy" national series for young athletes. Around four competitions in this series take place in Kandersteg every year. The Board of Directors and the team of the Nordic Arena are very pleased that the young eagles can be offered the opportunity to develop themselves and make the dream of flying come true.