After a thrilling opening of the 2013/14 season ins Scandinavia, the Nordic Combined World Cup returns to middle Europe and the snow-covered peaks of the Austrian Dachstein range. At the foot of the mighty Dachstein glacier, the third World Cup weekend of the season will take place and with it the first Team Sprint of the season.
The normal HS 98 hill will ensure a tight field after the ski jumping part which promises exciting cross-country races made for the strong skiers in the field. Last year, Norwegian cross-country specialists Mikko Kokslien and Magnus Moan divided the wins but also other athletes left their marks on the World Cup result lists: Austrian youngster Mario Seidl caused a stir when he won the jumping competition with BIB number two, spending almost an hour in the leader board. Since then, his career has skyrocketed with three World Cup Top Ten positions which made him a fixed part of the Austrian national team.
The local heroes will have to step it up as their general shape was not what the team hoped for before the season got underway. But the road to the Nordic Combined Triple (another Austrian event) and to Sochi is still long and there is time for all teams to turn the tide.
For now, the organisers in Ramsau are recording brisk activity and a lot of teams are already hustling and bustling on location to get ready for a new World Cup weekend. Alois Stadlober, head of the Organising Committee: "All preparations are going very well. The hill is ready, the tracks in supreme conditions, some of the teams are already here and there is a lot of training activity going on outside." The weather forecast couldn't be better for the weekend: it will be nearly cloudless on all three days with up to -10°C at night and a nice plus 5°C during the days, promising a Winter Wonderland without comparison and excellent weather for the spectators. In combination with the attractive side events and the traditional Prize Giving ceremony on the cosy Christmas market at Ramsau's Ederhof, the program offer something for everyone.
Ready, set, go for a perfect third World Cup weekend of the Nordic Combined season!