The FIS Continental Cup series all over the world are some of the most important Cross-Country competitions. They allow the younger athletes to prepare themselves in several ways for the World Cup level and have a chance to compare themselves to athletes from other countries. These different series are held in the different parts of the World where Cross-Country skiing is a competitive sport. Some of those held during the Northern hemisphere winter period are the OPA Cup (Central Europe), the Scandinavian Cup as well as the US Super Tour.
The OPA Cup was a great success this season. 20 events in 11 different venues and five countries took place, only the finals in Medvode (SLO) had to be replaced in Pokljuka (SLO). The winners of this Cup, and therefore holders of a fixed starting place during the first World Cup period next year, are the ski veteran Manuela Henkel from Germany and Florian Kostner (ITA). Henkel won the OPA Cup ladies’ ranking 41 points ahead Karin Moroder (ITA) and 48 points ahead of the Swiss skier Doris Trachsel. Kostner managed his overall victory ahead of the two Germans, Tom Reichelt and Kai Borchert
In the Scandinavian Cup, 5 different venues with a total of 9 competitions were included. The Norwegians dominated the top of this series with having eight skiers in the men’s top 10, and the first 8 of the top 8 on the ladies’ side. The World Cup skier Hans Petter Lykkja and 25-year-old Ingri Aunet Tyldum (both NOR) won the overall rankings clearly. The runner-up on the men’s side, 81 points behind, Lykkia was Swede Frederik Oestberg whilst John Anders Gaustad (NOR) ranked third, 94 points behind the winner. On the ladies side, Norwegians Sara Svendsen (2nd place) and Karianne Bjellaanes (3rd place) rounded out the podium.
The US SuperTour is still in progress. The current overall leaders are Kristina Strandberg (SWE) and Garrott Kuzzy (USA), who surprised in the World Cup sprint competition in Canmore by making the B-Final and his career-best 9th place.
The US SuperTour is a very attractive Continental Cup series, where also a significant number of foreign skiers participate and one million US dollar in prize money will be paid out.
The US Super Tour will have its final weekend on March, 29th-30th in Fairbanks (Alaska, USA).
The next continental cup series will kick of July/August with the Continental Cups in the Southern hemisphere.
Overview of the Northern hemisphere Continental Cup series winners or current leaders:
OPA: Manuela Henkel (GER), Florian Kostner (ITA)
Scandinavian Cup: Ingri Aunet Tyldum, Hans Petter Lykkja (both NOR)
US Super Tour: Kristina Strandberg (SWE), Garrot Kuzzy (USA)
NorAm: Perianne Jones, Stefan Kuhn (both CAN)
Slavic Cup: Vaclav Kupilik, Eva Skalnikova (both CZE)
Eastern European Cup: Marina Chernousova, Nikita Kriukov (both RUS)
Far East Cup: Sumiko Yokoyama, Shohei Honda (both JPN)
Balkan Cup: Monika Gyorgy (ROU) Sebahattin Oglago (TUR)