Not only the Nordic Combined World Cup is gearing up for one of the biggest seasons ever, the Continental Cup, too, is peppered with highlights - for male and for the first time also for female athletes.
18 events in seven venues are on schedule for the male Continental Cup athletes, their female counterparts get the chance to compete at six events in three venues in their very first season. And they will not be alone. For their Continental Cup debut in Otepää (EST), the ladies will share the World Cup spotlight. Even some live coverage on Estonian TV is planned. In Rena (NOR) and at the COC Finals in Nizhny Tagil (RUS), they will be joined by the male Continental Cup, giving spectators the full Nordic Combined package for the first time.
The big highlight for the many young athletes on both tours: the FIS Junior World Championships in Kandersteg (SUI). While the men will have their usual three-event program, the ladies are featured for the first time this year - with a test event on the smaller HS 72 hill.
Race Director Lasse Ottesen: “Last year we launched the Nordic Combined Ladies Strategy document with big goals for the ladies’ development. We have been able to stay on track with our goals so far. Thanks to the Swiss Ski Federation and the organising Committee of Kandersteg we are almost ahead of schedule. We are very happy that the Nordic Combined Ladies will be able to have a test event during the Junior World Championship period in Kandersteg.”
The Race Director continued: “The Nordic Combined Committee decided to open the age group for the test event to include girls born in 2003 as well. This will enable the nations to send the athletes that will be eligible to start in the first Ladies’ Nordic Combined event at the Junior World Championships in 2019 to compete in Kandersteg. We are looking forward to a very exiting season and of course to the first season with a Nordic Combined Ladies’ Continental Cup in three different venues.”
On the men’s side, there are also several novelties coming up. The calendar features a return to Steamboat Springs (USA) for a three-competition opening weekend in December and, according to the Committee policy to reduce travel costs by planning less venues but more three-event weekends, stops in Klingenthal (3 events), Ruka (3 events), Rena (2 events), Planica (2 events), Eisenerz (2 events) and Nizhny Tagil (3 events).
For the upcoming season, the wind and gate system will finally be used at all venues, bringing the Continental Cup to the same technical standard as higher competition circles.
The Mass Start will make its comeback in the winter of 2017/18 as well. Two tests of a modernised version as a “Reverse Gundersen” will be held, one on the HS 142 large hill in Ruka and one on the HS 100 normal hill in Nizhny Tagil. Different from the “traditional” form of the Mass Start, the format will now feature the wind and gate system as well as the normal judging procedure with five judges.
Continental Cup Coordinator Toni Guggemoos: “We are very satisfied with the 2017/18 calendar. We would like to thank all organisers and the national ski associations for their support this competition series. It is essential for the future of the discipline of Nordic Combined, as an important test pool for future developments and a place where young athletes can develop and grow. With the addition of the ladies, the Nordic Combined Continental Cup gains a new dimension and even more importance."