December 23 - Munich’s hopes of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018 have been lifted with the opening of a new 1.5 kilometre cable car service, capable of carrying up to 2,000 passengers per hour to the pistes of Garmisch-Partenkirchen – a key location for the Munich 2018 alpine events.

The €8 million (£7 million) Kandahar Express represents a significant enhancement of the region’s winter sports infrastructure and was partly funded by Federal and State Government, underscoring their support for the sports tourism industry and for hosting major events such as the Winter Games in 2018, officials claimed.

The news also gives a timely boost to Garmisch-Partenkirchen where the prestigious FIS World Ski Championships will be held in 2011.

The service was opened in style when German ski stars Christian Neureuther, Rosi Mittermaier and Martina Ertl-Renz became the first passengers.

Willy Bogner, the chief executive of Munich 2018, said: "The Kandahar Express is an important investment for the future.

"It further establishes Garmisch-Partenkirchen as a superb winter sports region, offering benefits for the 2011 FIS World Ski Championships, Munich’s bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018 and tourism in the region.

"It also complements our aim to make the Games as spectator-friendly as possible."

The Kandahar Express gives easy access to the three kilometre long Kandahar slope, which will stage most of the races during the World Championships.

The re-built and modernised track was re-opened a year ago.

Munich are one of three cities bidding for the 2018 Olympics.

The others are Annecy and Pyeongchang.

The International Olympic Committee is due to announce its decision on July 6, 2011, at its Session in Durban.

Related stories
December 2009:
 Munich 2018 take bid campaign to Moscow
November 2009: Bogner to promote Munich 2018 at EOC General Assembly
November 2009: Munich 2018 bid takes another important step forward
November 2009: James Bond filmmaker to head Munich 2018 Olympic bid
November 2009: German public give thumbs-up to Munich 2018 bid