Are Bergbana

Åre, Jamtland County | C.1910

Photo Credit: Agnes Ros

What goes up must come down. For the Åre Bergbana funicular railway, that includes both of its counterbalanced, track-guided passenger cars. Specially designed for steep inclines, the Bergbana serves the Swedish village of Åre, a popular skiing destination in the Scandinavian Mountains.

In the late 19th century, the newly built Ostersund Trondheim railway connecting Norway and Sweden spurred a tourism boom in the small village. Hoping to escape the pollution of cities, tourists began traveling to Åre to breathe the fresh air and walk to the top of nearby Areskutan mountain. Residents aptly nicknamed the new tourists “air-guests.”

As the village’s popularity grew, so did the need for improved transportation. Thus, the Åre Bergbana was built. At the time, it was the third funicular railway in Sweden and provided a more convenient way for “air-guests” to travel to the top of the mountain. Still today, its two cars can accommodate up to 60 passengers and travel about 12 kph (7.5 mph). The entire ascent takes about 7 minutes.

As the Bergbana made tourist transportation easier, the village of Åre continued to boom. In 1954, the village even hosted the World Cup in downhill skiing.

In 2010, Åre celebrated 100 years as a winter sports resort, and the Bergbana was commemorated as a culturally significant building. Along with Ostersund, the village is currently slated to host the 2021 Special Olympics World Winter Games. It will be the first time Sweden has ever hosted the Special Olympics.

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