Xu Mengtao will begin as the defending women's champion ©Getty Images

China is set to host the opening stop of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Freestyle Ski Aerials World Cup season, with individual and team competitions at Shimao Lotus Mountain Ski Resort.

The resort hosted the final event of last season, where Chinese athletes sealed the overall World Cup titles.

Xu Mengtao will be the skier to beat in the women's field as she looks to defend her title.

The Chinese star could have competition from team mates Xu Sicun and Shao Qi, who finished in the top five in the World Cup standings last year.

The Chinese trio are expected to face strong competition from Belarussian athletes during the season, including world champion Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya.

Ramanouskaya’s compatriots Hanna Huskova and Alla Tsuper are also expected to be podium contenders during the World Cup.

China’s Wang Xindi will begin the defence of his men's title tomorrow, with last year's runner-up Sun Jiaxu hoping to overhaul his team mate.

Qi Guangpu could provide one of the stories of the opening event, as he returns to competition for the first time since the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

The two-time world champion has twice finished top of the World Cup standings at the end of a season.

World champion Maxim Burov of Russia will be the main threat to the Chinese team.

Individual competitions will take place tomorrow.

The team event is scheduled for Sunday (December 22).