The International Orienteering Federation World Ski Orienteering Championships (WSOC) are set to begin in Piteå in Sweden tomorrow with four days of competition in store.
Tove Alexandersson, Magdalena Olsson and Erik Rost are on home ground and will be doing their utmost to make the climax of the season a success story for Sweden, just as it was at the European Ski Orienteering Championships (ESOC) in Turkey last month when they all claimed gold medals.
But several other countries also see the chance of claiming top honours, not least Norway through Lars Moholdt and Russia through Mariya Kechkina, Alena Trapeznikova and Andrey Lamov.
Russia, with impressive strength in depth, were the best-performing nation in the team competitions at the ESOC and will be striving to produce the same form.
More than 80 elite ski orienteerers from 13 countries will be joined in Piteå by junior, European youth and world masters competitors in their respective championships.
A complete contrast to the ESOC, held at high altitude in Turkey, the WSOC races will be held almost at sea level and will present different technical and physical challenges.
The race terrain consists of a number of small hills, 90 per cent covered by coniferous forest, with a good layout of ski tracks and paths.
The long-distance events are scheduled to take place tomorrow before the sprints on Thursday (March 21), middle-distance events on Saturday (March 23) and relays on Sunday (March 24).