Ladies' World Cup kicks off in Lillehammer
Maren Lundby

A few weeks after the men's World Cup started in Wisla (POL) and Ruka (FIN), the season now also kicks off of for the ladies this weekend. Three ladies' World Cup events will be held in Lillehammer (NOR).

With 25 individual and 2 team events at 14 different venues and the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Seefeld (Feb. 19 - March 3, 2019) the athletes have a long season ahead of them.

Season opener again in Lillehammer
Both hills (HS 98 and HS 140) in the host city of the 1994 Olympics are ready for jumping since earlier this week.
Various national teams are already training in Lillehammer. Among them also the Austrians with Daniela Irascho-Stolz, who provided some early headlines from Lillehammer with her crash.
Serious crash of Daniela Iraschko-Stolz

Preparation for the first weekend of competition has been going on since last week, stable cold temperatures and snow preparation means HS 98 and HS 140 hills are both ready for competition (normal hill 30th November and 1st December and large hill 2nd December). 

Competitions timings are:
30st Nov HS 98 17:30 CET
01st Dec HS 98 17:15 CET
02nd Dec HS 140 12:45 CET

Here you can find the detailed program of the events in Lillehammer: 
Program Lillehammer ladies >>

After the Summer Grand Prix, the Winter Season starts and the cards have been reshuffled. 
Final results Ladies' Grand Prix 2018

The favorites
Maren Lundby (NOR) 
The overall World Cup winner from last season. The 24-year-old Maren Lundby starts the season on home soil in Lillehammer this weekend, last year placing 1st and 2nd on the HS 98, and 2nd HS 140 will be looking to use that home advantage to get a good start in the new season.

Katharina Althaus (GER) 
Althaus, second overall in the 2017/18 season 12 points ahead of 3rd placed Takanashi (JPN) had an excellent weekend in Lillehammer last year placing 1st and 2nd on the HS 98, and 1st on the HS 140. The 22-year-old who made her first World Cup appearance in Lillehammer back in 2011 will be hoping to have an equally strong start this year.

Sara Takanashi (JPN) 
22-year-old Takanashi, the overall winner of 4 World Cups, and who placed 3rd overall last winter is always a favorite. If she can carry her summer form, where she won 4 events on her way to taking the Grand Prix crown into the winter, then a 5th World Cup is within her grasp. 

Yuki Ito (JPN) 
4th in last winter and 2nd the previous season, the 24-year-old Ito will be looking to put in a strong challenge not only to her team colleague but the rest of the field and get the top spot at the end of this winter.

Ema Klinec (SLO) 
The 20-year-old is considered a huge talent for years. So far she couldn't win in the World Cup, but still, she has the chance to be among the very best in the upcoming winter, if everything goes well for her.

Other contenders:
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (AUT) winner of the World Cup 2015/16, she joined the 2017/18 World Cup season in January after recovering from a knee injury, will be looking to get back to the top. Then there is Carina Vogt (GER) Olympic Champion from Sochi 2014, 6th overall last winter.

There is certainly plenty for the ski jumping fans of this world to look forward to in the 2018/19 winter season, roll on Lillehammer.