The first VIP ticket for the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) Opening Ceremony has been presented to the Federal President of Austria, Heinz Fischer.
The delegation comprising of ÖOC President Karl Stoss, general secretary Peter Mennel, EYOF chief executive Philipp Groborsch, marketing director Marc Brugger and event Ambassador Hubert Strolz, also brought with them the first three EYOF medals - a gold, silver and bronze.
Also joining the party were ice hockey defender Jan Blüml from Würmla, who graduated from the St. Pölten Hockey Academy in January and is set to feature as part of Austria's under-18 team at the EYOF, and the Festival's mascot, Alpy the marmot.
"I shall be opening the Festival together with Crown Prince Alois of Liechtenstein," said Fischer.
"My visit is a matter of honour."
Austria is set to have the third largest delegation of athletes among the 45 participating nations, behind Russia and the Czech Republic, with a total of 65 due to compete.
"We will not only have a strong team quantitatively, but also qualitatively," said Mennel.
"However, first and foremost our objective is to give our young hopefuls their first experience within the Olympic environment and an event of this magnitude."
Stoss added: "Our goal is to promote our young athletes and their talents.
"Those who do not already train at the earliest age within a professional environment, have little chance of success later."
Founded by the former International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, the first EYOF took place in the summer of 1991 in Brussels.
Since then, there have been a further 22 editions - 11 in the summer and 11 in the winter.
The first winter edition was held in the Italian region of Aosta Valley in 1993, while the most recent edition was held in Brasov, Romania, in February 2013.
The 2015 edition will mark the first time an Olympic event has been jointly hosted by two countries.
Around 950 young athletes, aged between 15 and 18 years, from a total of 45 European countries are expected in Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein.
A total of 28 competitions across eight sports - Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding - are on the programme.
The event budget is €6.48 million (£5.1 million/$7.9 million).
"More than 1,400 students from Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein will be at the event with us," said Strolz and Groborsch in unison.
"The anticipation among the population has long been felt."
Among the international stars who started their international careers by participating in the EYOF are Norway's cross country skiier Marit Björgen, a six-fold Olympic champion and 12-time world champion, Croatia's Alpine skiier Janica Kostelić, a four-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion, and France's Jason Lamy Chappuis, Olympic champion and four-time world champion in the Nordic combined.
Others have included Sweden's Anja Pärson, the 2006 slalom Olympic champion, two-time overall World Cup winner and seven-time world champion, and Russia' figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, a double Olympic champion.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
December 2014: Student ice skaters begin preparations for EYOF sport and fan challenge
November 2014: European Youth Olympic Festival announces two bands to perform at medal ceremonies
November 2014: EYOF school sports hockey challenge launched in Montafon
October 2014: Organisers of 2015 Winter EYOF on countdown with just 100 days to go
October 2014: Chief executive of 2015 Winter EYOF confident he has team to deliver top event