Masses of snow for new SkiO season

Posted on | November 23, 2017 | Category: Arena, News

The new SkiO season begins in Ylläs, Finland this weekend with three races for the Individual World Cup 2017-2018. There will be three rounds in all, the second and third rounds also including Team World Cup competitions.

Tove Alexandersson and Andrey Lamov, the two top-ranked in the IOF SkiO World Rankings, and a host of other top ski orienteers will be competing in a Sprint, a Middle Distance and a Mass Start Long Distance this coming weekend. The venue is Ylläs, a ski resort 150 km North of the Arctic Circle in the region of Kolari, based around two ancient Lapland villages. Here, snow is guaranteed: the first snow of the winter fell in mid-October, and by the end of that month the first tracks had been opened.

The event opens with a Sprint on 27th November, 3 km for women and 4 km for men measured as the shortest skiable routes, giving winning times of 12-13 minutes. Contrast this with the final race, Long Distance on 30th November, where the planned winning times are 90 minutes; here the women have a 23 km course and the men 26 km. In between there is a Middle race on the 28th, 40 minutes in duration, which means a women’s course 11 km in length and a men’s of 13 km.

Quick discipline change for Alexandersson

For Tove Alexandersson, Sweden it has been a quick change in training from Foot Orienteering: only a few weeks ago she was competing, with great success, in the World Cup Finals in Switzerland. In October she won a well-known international Skyrunning event in the Italian mountains. In the last SkiO season she won 2 individual gold medals in each of the World and European SkiO Championships, plus a silver in the European event, and she will for sure be aiming to win the World Cup overall again as in 2015-2016. Her closest challenger in recent times has been Mariya Kechkina, Russia, but several other good Russian, Swedish and Finnish skiers are in the wings.

New challengers for Rost

Erik Rost, Sweden won the Men’s title two years ago, with Lars Moholdt (Norway) a very close challenger; the difference in points at the end was just four. Rost was also marginally the better in last season’s World Championships, winning a gold and a silver compared to Moholdt’s two bronze. The Russians again look very strong, even though ‘evergreen’ Eduard Khrennikov has surely now retired! Others to look out for this year include Stanimir Belomazhev, Bulgaria and Ulrik Nordberg and Markus Lundholm, Sweden. Lundholm along with the rest of the Swedish team has done some specific training for Ylläs: “Ylläs is a challenge technically. Usually there are a lot of narrow tracks, and that is something I really like”, says Lundholm, who was silver medal-winner in the Long Distance race in last year’s European Championships.

Reports and leading results will appear on the IOF websites after each race, and full information on the event can be found on Follow the Event live on LIVE Orienteering, there will be Live GPS tracking and Live results together with a limited production live web stream with English commentary. The LIVE Orienteering event is free; sign in on LIVE Orienteering and watch!

If you can’t follow the Event on LIVE Orienteering, stay tuned on social media and follow the event on the hashtags #skio, #skioyllas. #orienteering

Programme for Round 1 (local times, UTC + 2, CEST)

Monday 27 November 11.00 Women’s Sprint
12.30 Men’s Sprint
Tuesday 28 November 10.30 Middle Distance
Thursday 30 November 11.00 Women’s Mass Start, Long Distance
11.15 Men’s Mass Start
Friday 1 December Reserve day

Round 2, which will also be the European SkiO Championships, takes place at Velingrad in Bulgaria in early February 2018, and the final round along with the World Masters SkiO Championships is at Craftsbury, in the state of Vermont in the north-eastern part of the USA in early March. Across these two rounds there will also be a Team World Cup competition consisting of two Mixed Sprint Relays and one Relay (Men’s and Women’s races).

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