Fifteen of the world’s best Nordic skiers, who will likely be podium contenders at the 2017 World Championships, have been named as Ones to Watch by World Para Nordic Skiing for the upcoming season.
The Para biathlon and Para cross-country skiing season gets underway with a World Cup in Vuokatti, Finland, on Friday (9 December).
More information about the World Cup circuit can be found at the World Para Nordic Skiing website.
The 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Finsterau, Germany, from 10-19 February, will give a good indication of form ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
More information about Finsterau 2017, including applying for media accreditation, can be found at www.finsterau2017.com.
Full biographies can be found at the World Para Nordic Skiing website.
The Ones to Watch are:
Chris Klebl, 44, Canada
Klebl is on the road to defending his middle distance cross-country skiing gold medal from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Andrew Soule, 36, USA
His country’s most decorated athlete from a World Championships, Soule will aim to improve on his three silver and two bronze medals from Cable, USA, in 2015.
Martin Fleig, 27, Germany
Relishing the chance to compete at his home World Championships this season, Fleig is a middle distance biathlon Worlds bronze medallist who reached a career-best second place in World Cup standings in 2015-16.
Maksym Yarovyi, 27, Ukraine
Yarovyi is the sprint biathlon and sprint cross-country world champion, as well as a triple medallist from Sochi 2014.
Ihor Reptyukh, 22, Ukraine
Reptyukh is a winner of nine World Championships medals from the last two editions, including gold in the long distance biathlon.
Nils-Erik Ulset, 33, Norway
Norway’s premier Para Nordic skier, Ulset first stepped onto the top of the Paralympic podium at Salt Lake City 2002 with two cross-country gold medals. He has also achieved success at the World Championships level including a bronze and silver in biathlon from 2015.
Benjamin Daviet, 27, France
With top three finishes in both biathlon and cross-country World Cup rankings in 2015-16, Daviet built upon his five World Championships medals from Cable. In 2017 he is searching for his first individual world title.
Thomas Clarion, 34, France
Alongside teammate Daviet, Clarion won the open relay world title in 2015 as well as silver in the long distance cross-country. He was the third place finisher from the Para cross-country World Cup last season with new guide Antoine Bollet.
Anja Wicker, 24 Germany
The middle distance biathlon Paralympic champion, Wicker also secured silver in the long distance at Sochi 2014.
Oksana Masters, 27, USA
Masters returns to the snow after competing in handcycling at Rio 2016, aiming to improve on a silver and bronze from cross-country skiing at Cable 2015.
Andrea Eskau, 45, Germany
Another skier who has ventured into handcycling, Eskau won gold in the H5 road race at Rio 2016. On the snow, the German is a triple defending world champion from cross-country skiing and double Paralympic title holder.
Oleksandra Kononova, 25, Ukraine
The long distance biathlon Paralympic gold medallist, in 2015 Kononova followed that up with an incredible six world titles across cross-country and biathlon.
Helene Ripa, 45, Sweden
Within four seasons on the competitive Para Nordic skiing circuit, Ripa has won long distance cross-country gold at a Paralympic Winter Games and has medalled at two World Championships.
Oksana Shyshkova, 25, Ukraine
Shyshkova stood on the podium at Sochi 2014 four times across biathlon and cross-country events and has medals from three World Championships.
Vivian Hoesch, 25, Germany
Hoesch reached the biathlon World Cup top three for the first time last season, following on from a successful World Championships in 2015 where she won her first medal.
The 2016-17 World Cup season moves on from Vuokatti to Western Center, Ukraine, from 13-20 January, just a few weeks before Finsterau 2017.
The World Cup also includes the PyeongChang 2018 Test Event from 10-15 March, and the finals in Sapporo, Japan, from 18-22 March.