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Skiing in The Netherlands Expecting a Major Boost

Skiing in one of the flattest countries on earth with a highest peak of... 322 metres (1,056 feet)? Yes!

Marcel Hirscher, Olympic skier
Marcel Hirscher in action.

Well-known for producing world-class speed skaters, the Dutch are also huge fans of skiing despite a cruel dearth of natural slopes. No other country boasts as many indoor ski centres per capita - seven facilities for 18 million - according to (the appropriately named) Herbert Cool, spokesman for the Dutch Skiing Federation.

The Netherlands also offers more than 15 artificial ski slopes and 60 ski carpets to work on technique, says Cool, adding: "Winter sports are very popular here. 1.1 million Dutch head to the Alps every year."

And now that Austrian downhill ski legend Marcel Hirscher - one of the greatest skiers of all-time - is to start racing in the Dutch colours of his mother, Cool expects it will turbo-charge the sport's popularity in the Netherlands.

When the Dutch ski federation first heard that Hirscher, who has won multiple Olympic and World Championship golds, planned to race under the Dutch flag, they thought it was a joke.

But when it was confirmed, they realised what a gift they had been given.

"We are getting someone with not only an incredible career in terms of trophies but also a source of inspiration," Cool told Agence France-Presse. "We hope that the pool of talent we can dip into to train high-level athletes will grow when children see Marcel Hirscher skiing for the Netherlands at the Olympics or World Championships."


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