The wait is almost over! The season 2013/14 is about
to explode into action and we can almost see the
hustle and bustle of officials, service people,
physiotherapists, journalists, coaches and athletes
again who just have one question they would like
to answer: who is this year's ultimate winter athlete?
Well-known faces like Eric Frenzel and Jason Lamy
Chappuis, Akito Watabe or Bernhard Guber will by
vying for the wins and titles and try to keep new
ascending talents off their backs.
And this winter will demand the utmost of the Nordic
all-rounders with two massive season highlights
waiting on the horizon: the Nordic Combined Triple
and the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi! Two chances
to show the World who the toughest man on skis is.
On top of that, there is the World Cup overall,
the crystal globe to decorate the skier who manages
to be the most consistent all-rounder over a long
period of time!
But let's take the time, lean back and have a look
at every single venue in this extended season preview
Kuusamo: 30.11. & 01.12.
The wild ride of the winter 2013/14 kicks of in
Kuusamo, Finland once more, the Nordic Opening uniting
all three Nordic disciplines in a unique environment
of darkness, cold and extreme weather & wind
conditions - a special challenge at the beginning
of the Olympic season which will be kicked off by
a team event which will send patriotic feelings
flying from the first second on. Will Norway's Magnus
Krog, who hasn't been off the podium in Kuusamo
for the last two years, strike again
in the following individual competition?
Lillehammer: 07.12. & 08.12.
The beginning of December takes the athletes to
Lillehammer, Norway, another traditional venue which
also features return to the a freshly overhauled
Birkebeineren skistadium, the scene of the famous
Lillehammer Olympics of 1994. Two individual competitions
offer plenty of points for the overall World Cup
and good chances to soak up Olympic atmosphere before
Sochi. Here, the Norwegian local heroes can look
back on a winning streak of three years: Kokslien
in 2010, Klemetsen in 2011 and Magnus Moan twice
in 2012. Will some other nation manage to steal
the landlords' thunder this year?
Ramsau am Dachstein, 14.12. & 15.12.
Ramsau am Dachstein will see the return of the beloved
Team Sprint and another another Individual Gundersen,
offering enthusiastic crowds and beautiful mountain
panoramas in this home World Cup for the Austrian
athletes. What will Austrian youngster Mario Seidl
show this season after he kicked off his international
career bigtime last winter by winning the jumping
competition with BIB number two.
Schonach: 21.12. & 22.12.
A pre-Christmas World Cup weekend in the cosy Blackforest
town of Schonach will close the year 2013 with two
Individual Gundersen competitions and the chance
to get the hands on the traditional Schwarzwald-Pokal
which has to be won three times in succession or
five times in general to become the property of
the winner. Can Jason Lamy Chappuis collect another
victory and move further along the way to keep the
Chaikovsky: 04.01. & 05.01.
After Christmas, it's off to new shores for the
Nordic Combined World Cup. First time World Cup
organiser Chaikovsky is gearing up to welcome the
Nordic Combined athletes for the "Russian dress
rehearsal", only six weeks before everybody
will return to Russian soil to fight for Olympic
gold. Shun Yamamoto (JPN) and Geoffrey Lafarge both
have won Continental Cup competitions in Chaikovsky
last year and can maybe use that advantage over
their World Cup colleagues.
Chaux-Neuve: 11.01. & 12.01.
From the depths of Russia it's back to traditional
Nordic Combined ground as another highlight of the
Nordic Combined World Cup is on schedule: an Individual
Gundersen and a Team Sprint in Chaux-Neuve, France.
Local hero Jason Lamy Chappuis and his Fiemme-gold-decorated
teammates draw large crowds of up to 15.000 spectators
into the tiny French village with about 300 inhabitants,
transforming the weekend into a folk festival without
Seefeld: 17.01., 18.01. & 19.01.
The Nordic Combined Triple does not only feature
three competitions, no it's also the third venue
in the new year of the Nordic Combined World Cup.
No matter who wins here this year will be making
history by being the first Triple winner ever! Superstar
Eric Frenzel has good chances to add this honour
to his title collection as he won in Seefeld two
times in a row last year.