The United States’ Mikaela Shiffrin and France’s Tessa Worley will be among the favourites for the opening victory of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Ski World Cup season when competition begins tomorrow in Soelden.
Shiffrin emerged as the overall winner of the 2017 World Cup circuit and will hope to begin the defence of her title in strong fashion.
The American finished second at last year’s competition in Soelden, when Switzerland’s Lara Gut claimed victory.
She will expect to face a stern test in tomorrow’s giant slalom event, with Worley having topped the discipline’s standings last season.
Italy’s Sofia Goggia is another skier to have been tipped for success tomorrow, as athletes get the opportunity to assess their early form.
They will also be seeking to secure the first World Cup points of the season at the Austrian venue.
France’s Alexis Pinturault will hope to achieve back-to-back wins on the opening day of the season, when the men’s event takes place on Sunday (October 29).
He edged out Marcel Hirscher in the opening race last year, although the Austrian skier went on to win the overall World Cup for the sixth successive year.
Hirscher will be a notable absentee in Soelden, after he was forced to undergo ankle surgery last month.
He is expected to be out of action until December.
Pinturault could be challenged by fellow Frenchman Mathieu Faivre on the slopes, while Felix Neureuther of Germany may provide a threat.
Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen is also expected to stand a good chance of securing a podium place.