With the FIS Calendar Conference coming to an end in Portoroz, Slovenia, the starting shot for a Ladies’ Nordic Combined Continental Cup has officially been given. After a final presentation in the Nordic Combined Committee, the rules for the tour were finalised and received their official approval by the FIS Council.
At the same time, the first-ever Ladies’ Continental Cup calendar was introduced and approved. In its first season, the Continental Cup stops in Otepää (EST) at the beginning of January (together with the men’s World Cup), Høydalsmo (NOR) in the end of the same month (together with the men’s Continental Cup) and the ladies will also share the men’s three-event COC finals in Nizhny Tagil, Russia. In addition to that, a Junior World Championship test event will be held in Kandersteg, Switzerland. Format-wise, the ladies will start in one jump, 5 km Individual Gundersen events for now.
The Mass Start makes its comeback
The other big news coming out of the Nordic Combined Committee is the return of the Mass Start to high-level Nordic Combined events. A modernised version, featuring a 10 km cross-country race, followed by one jump, judged by the usual five judges and using the wind and gate system (when available) will be introduced in the Continental Cup in the upcoming season as a test. If the insights of this test are positive, the Mass Start could be making its comeback on the World Cup level as well at a later date.
Most extensive World Cup calendar to date
In comparison to the preliminary calendar presented after the Spring Meetings in Zürich, the final World Cup calendar grew by one more week. Although still to be confirmed, Klingenthal (GER) is set to join the calendar in March and together with the finals in Schonach, the Nordic Combined athletes will then spend the last two weekends of March in Germany, taking the total count of World Cup events to 28.
New features this year are an opening mini tour with three events in Ruka, new organiser Otepää (EST), returnee Hakuba (JPN), two events in Trondheim (NOR) and the addition of Klingenthal. As of now, three Team events, three Team Sprints and 22 Individual Gundersen events are planned, out of which two are 1 jump, 5 km events within mini tours and two two jump, 15 km Final Individual Gundersens on the last day of the TRIPLE and at the end of the season.