From Russia with Love - The year 2014 starts in Chaikovskiy
It is off to new shores for Nordic Combined as the Russian venue of Chaikovskiy will see its premiere on the World Cup circuit as the first competition of 2014. Chaikovskiy is located in the Russian district of Perm Krai on the river Karna, about 235 kilometres southwest of Perm. The town is named after the Russian composer Pjotr Illytch Chaikovskiy who was born in a nearby smaller town.
Together with the hills in Sochi and Nishny Tagil, Chaikovskiy is one of the brand-new centres for the education and training of the Russian athletes for the years to come. The jumping centre "Snezhinka" where the competitions will be held, features five smaller hills and a HS 106 normal and HS140 large hill on which one of the two scheduled Individual Gundersen competitions will be held each.
In contrast to many middle-European venues who had troubles with warm temperatures and a lack of snow, the absent winter weather will not be a problem in Chaikovskiy. Very cold temperatures of up to -30°C are forecasted for Nordic Combined's adventure in the Ural mountains. "The locals say that the coldest temperature will be -22°C at daytime on Saturday. They actually consider it to be a comfortable winter temperature but encourage the athletes and officials to bring warm clothes", Yulia Saitarova from the Perm Regional Federation says not without humour.
The snow control has already given a positive feedback about the conditions on location. "The hills and the race course are in good shape and will be ready for the competition", snow controller Yuri Kalinin reports. At the moment, temperatures of about -10°C preserve the snow and promise a Winter Wonderland waiting for the athletes.
As a lot of teams are taking the time right after the New Year to train at home, it will be a special mix of well-established names and Continental Cup athletes going to Chaikovskiy. So who will take the spots on the podium in this unique meeting of strong B-Team athletes with an agenda to make it into the World Cup and World Cup regulars vying for important ranks and positions for the Olympic qualifications? Hardly any competition weekend has been more open with this fresh, Russian take on Nordic Combined including new faces and a new venue lying in wait.