The world’s top speed skiers will be in action at the first downhill and super-G races of the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup season from Wednesday (28 January) in Tignes, France, as the 2015 World Championships edge ever closer.
Around 50 athletes from 11 countries, including multiple Paralympic and world champions, will continue their preparations for the Worlds in Panorama, Canada, from 28 February-10 March.
Headlining for the hosts will be women’s downhill and super-G standing Paralympic and World title holder Marie Bochet.
Lining up alongside a strong field, which includes Russia’s Inga Medvedeva, German Andrea Rothfuss and the USA’s Stephanie Jallen, Bochet will be looking to add to her three World Cup slalom victories from early January.
The men’s equivalent will feature a repeat of the compelling downhill from Sochi 2014, where eventual champion Austria’s Markus Salcher finished just 0.06 seconds ahead of Russian teenager Alexey Bugaev.
The women’s sitting will see German Anna Schaffelhuber, a winner of all five gold medals from Sochi 2014, go up against Austria’s super-G world champion Claudia Loesch once again.
Both women will have to look out for US skier Laurie Stephens, the world champion in downhill.
The men’s sitting could see Japan’s downhill and super-G Paralympic champion Akira Kano come to the fore after his teammates Takeshi Suzuki and super-G world champion Taiki Morii have taken control of the technical races so far in 2014-15.
Slovakian compatriots Jakub Krako and guide Martyn Motyka and Miroslav Haraus, guided by Maros Hudik, will go head-to-head in the men’s visually impaired.
Krako, 24, won his first super-G Paralympic title in Sochi and will compete against Canadian brothers Mac and BJ Marcoux. Italy’s Alessandro Daldoss and guide Luca Negrini and the USA’s Mark Bathum, guided by Cade Yamamoto, will also race.
US husband and wife team of Danelle and Rob Umstead will make their World Cup debut in the women’s visually impaired.
Competition at the World Cup in Tignes begins with downhill on Wednesday (28 January) with two days of downhill races. Super-G will take place on Friday (30 January).
Skiers will then head to St. Moritz, Switzerland, from 2-5 February for the World Cup Finals, ahead of the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships.
Media accreditation for Panorama 2015 is available at the Panorama 2015 website.