Pål Golberg (NOR) at the 2014 FIS skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Inge Scheve

Pål Golberg (NOR) at the 2014 FIS skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Inge Scheve

The 2016 FIS season opener at Beitostølen (NOR) includes both cross-country and Nordic combined competitions, scheduled from Friday morning through Sunday.

Strong and deep field
The cross-country events are open to the top 140 male skiers (domestic and international athletes combined) based on the current FIS ranking list. For the men, the FIS point cutoff is expected to be around 125 points. For the women, the race field is limited to entered racers with 250 FIS points or less.

Aside from Norwegian skiers, World Cup racers from France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Russia and Great Britain are on the start list in both the men’s and the women’s events.

Preliminary start lists (published Tuesday) HERE

The season opener weekend starts with a 7.5-kilometer individual start classic race for women and a 15-kilometer individual start classic race for men. Saturday features a 7.5-kilometer individual start skate race for women and a 15-kilometer individual start skate race for men. The season kick-off at Beitostølen concludes on Sunday with classic sprint events for both men and women.

Heidi Weng (NOR) is on the start list for the 2016 FIS Season opener at Beitostølen (NOR) this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng (NOR) is on the start list for the 2016 FIS Season opener at Beitostølen (NOR) this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

Modified racecourse
Although the snow situation has been tough leading up to the races, the events will be held according to schedule.

However, the racecourse has been cut from 5km to 3.75km, and the course will be closed to the public and all other users prior to and during the FIS competitions. Registered racers will be allowed onto the course on Thursday morning, before the competitions.

Exceptionally warm and wet conditions early this month were rough on the snow that was stored from last winter and placed on the course prior to the October 30 opening of the stadium courses. However, with the warm conditions, the snow quickly started melting, and the organizers were forced to close the venue to protect the snow for the season opener races this coming weekend.

“The organizers have put down tarps and salted the course, this week the organizers will be trucking in fresh snow from Filefjell, and once the temperature drops sufficiently they will start snow production with traditional snow making equipment,” says Terje Lund at the Norwegian Ski Association, adding that the forecast calls for colder weather this week.

Additionally, the race organizers have trucked in fresh snow from the mountains at Filefjell all week, so there will be adequate snow cover for the races, reports confirm.

With this weekend’s races, the FIS season is formally under way. The 2016 season continues with national season openers like popcorn the next few weeks leading up to FIS World Cup season opener, which takes place in Kuusamo (FIN) the last weekend in November.