The stage is set for 70 skiers from seven countries to take the trails in Tyumen, Russia, for the first IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Cups of 2015-16 which gets underway on Wednesday (2 December).
A series of world and Paralympic champions and World Cup winners will compete in both sports until 9 December at the Pearl of Siberia winter sports centre.
Some of them have also been named as 2015-16 IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing Ones to Watch.
In cross-country skiing Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtsev, the overall men’s standing World Cup champion from 2014-15, will get his season started.
However the field against him is stacked, including long distance free world champion teammate Rushan Minnegulov and French silver medallist Benjamin Daviet.
Minnegulov and Daviet also finished as No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in the World Cup last season.
In the men’s biathlon standing, Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset returns after a silver and bronze medal in the sprint and middle distance individual races from the Worlds in Cable, USA.
The men’s sitting field is headlined by the most decorated athlete from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, Russia’s Roman Petushkov.
Petushkov will face a challenge from the USA’s Andrew Soule, who achieved his own piece of history in 2015 by leaving his home World Championships as the most decorated US skier ever across cross-country and biathlon.
Germany’s Martin Fleig will also be hoping to build off his best-ever season in 2014-15, where he finished third in the biathlon World Cup and secured a World Championships bronze medal in the long distance individual.
Norway’s Eirik Bye, the returning men’s cross-country visually impaired World Cup champion with guide Nelson Arvid, will lead out Russian Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Oleg Kolodiichuk.
Chokhlaev is the middle distance classic world champion and World Cup No.2. French compatriots Anthony Chalencon, guided by Bertrand Hamoumraoui, and Thomas Clarion with new guide Antoine Bollet, will also be in the mix.
Russia’s eight-time world champion Nikolay Polukhin and guide Andrey Tokarev is also not to be discounted in the biathlon.
On the women’s side, after missing the 2015 World Championships, Russia’s double Paralympic champion Anna Milenina is back in the cross-country and biathlon standing events.
In the sitting competitions the USA’s 2014-15 cross-country World Cup winner Oksana Masters has made the journey to Tyumen. Masters is also preparing to defend a rowing medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
In biathlon, World Cup No. 1 German Anja Wicker will compete against fellow top 10 finishers Natalia Kocherova and Svetlana Kononova, both of Russia.
The women’s visually impaired will feature an exciting battle between Russian duo Iuliia Budaleeva with guide Ekaterina Tyryshkina, and Elena Remizova and guide Maksim Pirogov.
Budaleeva is a triple biathlon world champion from 2015, whilst Remizova is the cross-country specialist also with three golds.
Competitions begin in Tyumen with middle distance classic cross-country on Wednesday, followed by long distance free on Thursday (3 December).
After a rest day on Friday (4 December), cross-country will conclude with sprint free.
Biathlon gets underway on Saturday (6 December) with individual competitions followed by another rest day on 7 December.
The sprint and pursuit events will round off the action on 8 and 9 December, respectively.
Results will be published at IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing’s website.
Pictures, updates and coverage will also be available on Facebook.com/IPCNordicSkiing and on Twitter @IPCNordic.