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In Štrbské Pleso, the highest located village in the Tatras, the winter season begins sooner than anywhere else. And it was this location with great winter sport conditions where the story of a hotel with a sport spirit began, motivated by the desire to show the world the best that we have in Slovakia. All this in a magical setting with the mountains on the doorstep.
A special sports event that meant a huge progress for the High Tatras. The Nordic World Ski Championships 1970 went down in the history of the villages of the Tatras and winter sports like no other event before or after.
Štrbské Pleso hosting World Championships
The first ideas about the High Tatras applying to organise Nordic World Ski Championships appeared already in the early 1960s. However, skiing officials in the Tatras succeeded with help of the highest state and party authorities only after several years of efforts. In connection with the candidacy, the Slovak national council adopted a resolution about building not only the main championships venue but also hotels, alternative sports grounds and about modernising transport.
After it was finally decided at the FIS congress in Beirut in 1967 that Štrbské Pleso would definitely host the championships, the construction process had to be sped up considerably.
Based on a project of one of the then eminent architects – Ing. arch. Eugen Kramár, a unique facility was built in the High Tatras in 1969, became the epicentre of sport and also culture. The FIS hotel was named after the International Ski Federation (French: Fédération internationale de ski).
The FIS hotel was on the priority list of 31 objects in the High Tatras that were necessary to organise the WM 1970 successfully. Besides the hotel, the sports stadium included a ski jumping and a cross-country skiing area. The Czechoslovak Physical Education Association was the investor of the construction process. The sports complex was named the Area of dreams and became one of the top modern and technically advanced Nordic skiing complexes in the world at that time.
The construction process of the whole sports complex and the FIS hotel was managed by Valér Pobeha, who later became the first hotel general manager. The complex was finished in 1969 and a pre-championships event (5th Tatra Cup) was held there in the same year to test it. The FIS hotel, ski jumps and cross-country skiing trails were the basic elements of the top skiing complex. With five hundred athletes from 25 countries participating in the championships, the attention of the whole world was focused on Štrbské Pleso. The ten Czechoslovak President Ludvík Svoboda was there among the spectators as well.
Shortly before the championships beginning, the hotel was officially opened by Marc Hodler, the president of the International Ski Federation. A triumphal arch of wood made by national artist Tibor Bártfay was built in front of the hotel and after the championships finished, the names of all winners were written there. It was colloquially nicknamed “The gate of chaps” and a cross-country skiing trail ran under it. In 1975, an indoor swimming pool was built next to the hotel to become the highest located pool in Czechoslovakia. The sports complex received the prestigious Dušan Jurkovič Award from the Association of Slovak Architects in 1970.
Film career of the FIS hotel
Near the hotel or inside, scenes of several Czechoslovak films were shot, e.g. Fair Play (2014), Pan Tau (1988), Štipku soli / A pinch of salt (1976), Orlie pierko / Eagle feather (1971).
Why the FIS hotel?
Like in the past, the FIS hotel has a lot to offer also today. The good old saying that once you fall for the hotel, you will be coming back again and again is definitely true here. Whether out of sentiment or because of its history or the great location next to ski pistes, a cross-country skiing stadium, the Solisko chairlift lower station and tourist trails running to the valleys of the Tatras. Fans of a homely atmosphere and culinary experiences made by long-time chef Miloš Červenka will love it there too. In addition, the hotel is happy to adapt to special dietary needs of sports clubs if required. The friendly hotel atmosphere is appreciated also by four-legged furry friends because beside all other plusses, it is also a dog-friendly hotel. Simply said, everybody is welcome to stay at the FIS mountain hotel! So hands up! Who would like to visit it?