The ARENA am Rennsteig is located 2 km outside of Oberhof next to the well-known Rennsteig. Since 1984 various World Cups Biathlon have been staged at the World Cup stadium. It was the world championship in 2004 which initiated large-scale modifications of the stadium in 2001 and 2003. Once the arena was modernized skiing races have even become far more attractive. Consequently, several cross country skiing as well as Nordic combined World Cup competitions took place in the popular stadium. 2008 was the year that added the name affix DKB to SKI ARENA with reference to the sponsor DKB.
The ARENA am Rennsteig is situated at an altitude of 814 metres above sea level and provides sufficient capacity for about 10 000 spectators. They enjoy watching athletes and competitions directly in the arena or on the mobile stand which is always constructed additionally in times of World Cup. Following races on the track allows fans to experience the competition very closely. Thanks to a comprehensive course network any kind of biathlon competition, as there are individual, sprint, pursuit, mass start and relay, can be held in Oberhof. Additionally, asphalted parts of the track enable athletes to spend their summer training on ski roller in the arena.
ARENA am Rennsteig is changing continuously
A couple of years have passed by since the arena was modified with regard to the WCH in 2004. With keen international competitors as well as new upcoming venues being likely to hold a World Cup it is necessary to improve the location of Oberhof continually with the objective of maintaining its World Cup status. In fact, various changes and improvements have already become apparent over the past years, as it regards e.g. both general infrastructure and the World Cups course network. Ever since water stored in a pond was established in 2013 the conditions for snow production could be tweaked. The name “Wolfgangsee” refers to long-time World Cup OC manager Wolfgang Filbrich. Furthermore, a 2015 built state-of-the-art snow depot storing up to 10 000 cubic metres guarantees sufficient snow to groom the tracks perfectly and to make possible an implementation of competitions despite difficult weather conditions.
In December 2014 a multi-function building was completed. Now, it hosts not only a media centre and facilities to fulfill the needs of athletes during competitions in the ARENA am Rennsteig but also the office of the Thuringian skiing association and the WSRO-Skisport GmbH. A further section of track, a short but steep climb towards the new water reservoir, was added in 2015 in the course of structural alteration works. The athletes now ski beneath that reservoir coming along a descent towards the finish line into the stadium. This section owes its name “Henkel-Schleife” – a reminiscence to the two times Olympic champion and eight times world champion Andrea Henkel - to a German TV broadcaster called ZDF which asked spectators to suggest appropriate names for this part of the track. Moreover, besides a small and a large „Sägespänenrunde“ the track has commanded a middle “Sägespänenrunde” since 2016.
2016 was devoted to a basic extension and structural rearrangement of the team area. This area usually gives room for containers and trucks of ski technicians as well as a TV-Compound of broadcasters. As this area is also used as a caravan site in summer Oberhof as well as the region benefit of a touristic added value apart from the World Cup. In addition, further infrastructural enhancements have been realized in and around the stadium throughout the past years and will be continued within the next few years. With regard to the candidature for World Championships Biathlon in 2023 the ARENA am Rennsteig shall be adapted to the latest standards again.