The FIS have approved a women's Nordic Combined Continental Cup circuit ©FIS

Approval for a women's Nordic Combined Continental Cup has been granted by the International Ski Federation (FIS) following their Calendar Conference in Portoroz, Slovenia.

The green light came following a presentation by the Nordic Combined Committee, where the rules for the tour were finalised and the calendar agreed.

Otepää in Estonia will host the first Continental Cup of the inaugural season at the beginning of January 2018, with the event coinciding with a men's World Cup event.

It will be followed by a competition later that month in Høydalsmo, Norway, before a shared three-event finals with the men in Nizhny Tagil, Russia.

There is currently no senior Nordic Combined World Cup for women, nor is it an Olympic discipline.

A Junior World Championship test event is set to be held next year in Kandersteg, Switzerland, however.

Female Nordic Combined Youth Cup competitions also took place for the first time last year.

The FIS said women’s competition will feature one jump and a five kilometre cross-country ski.

US Ski and Snowboard have also announced that an inaugural Women's Nordic Combined National Championships will be contested in Lake Placid on October 7.

USA Nordic executive director Billy Demong claimed the addition of a women's event to national and international calendars had been a goal of the organisation.

The FIS also approved a mass start format to feature on the Continental Cup circuit ©Getty Images
The FIS also approved a mass start format to feature on the Continental Cup circuit ©Getty Images

"We are committed to keeping up and, to the best of our resources, staying ahead of the world as this event makes its debut at the senior level," said Demong, who won the 10km/large hill title at Vancouver 2010 and remains as the only American to have won a Nordic Combined gold medal at the Olympics.

"This is an opportunity that we are fully behind.

"We know that other nations will begin to turn on their funding and that when this becomes an Olympic event everyone will spend resources we cannot match.

"Right now, we have the opportunity and responsibility to take athletes like Tara Geraghty-Moats and Gabby Armstrong and develop them into leaders in the sport."

The FIS have confirmed a men's mass start event will return to high level competition, in a "modernised" format.

A 10 km cross-country race will be followed by one jump.

It will be introduced in the Continental Cup in the upcoming season as a test, with the potential to then feature on the World Cup circuit at a later date.