By David Gold

Yoggl in_front_of_Innsbruck_2012_Olympic_VillageDecember 10 - The Innsbruck 2012 chief executive, Peter Bayer, has claimed that they are two weeks ahead of schedule in the construction of the Athletes' Village for the Youth Winter Olympic Games, taking place in the Austrian city next month.

The first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games will be getting underway on January 13, and Bayer told insidethegames: "We are on schedule in almost all the venues and in the village we are ahead."

Bayer anticipates that the Village will be completed by the end of the year, and praised it as one of the most environmentally friendly housing complexes in Europe.

"The Village will be ready by the end of December and the Chef de Mission arrives on January 7 so we will have plenty of time for the little details," he said.

"It is the biggest passive house complex [ultra-energy efficient properties] in Europe.

"This has been built on a very high level with great insulation so that the amount of energy used is lower than what you have to put in.

"It's kind of [carbon neutral] but even more special because it is not just neutral but less than neutral.

"What you do is there is special air condition installed into apartments which is always delivering fresh air.

"So you have fresh air without opening the window which means you are not losing energy by opening the window or badly insulated walls or windows – the house is not consuming the energy you are putting into the apartment."

Bayer is also proud of the fact that the 444 room complex will be handed over to those on lower incomes after the Games, providing a tangible legacy for those most in need after the Olympics have left Innsbruck.

Not only is the village ahead of schedule, but the wider preparation for the Games is going according to the meticulous plans set in place years ago.

Whilst Bayer stopped short of saying that they could hold the Games tomorrow, he said that operationally they were practically ready now.

"After almost three years of planning we are now in the operational readiness stage so we are translating everything we have planned to reality," he said.

"[We] had a couple of tests for new events like ice hockey skills challenge.

"We have built [inground bases] for [a] halfpipe and for [the] snowboard slope, and the ski-cross was ready last year where we finished the new ski jump and biathlon shooting range."

In addition to this, the Nordic Combined World Cup will be taking place over the weekend, providing a useful test of the facilities for the Youth Olympics just over a month before the Games begin.

Artificial snow production has also begun and in all Bayer is pleased with the readiness of the host city for the Games, and with the snow beginning to fall and Christmas around the corner, the Innsbruck chief is excited about the weeks ahead.

"As of two days ago snow and winter came with Santa Claus...we are just looking forward to welcoming all of you in Innsbruck."

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