Austria's Nordic combined team in training ©OSV

The Austrian Nordic combined team have been training in both summer and winter conditions in preparation for the 2020-2021 season, benefiting from relaxed social restrictions in the country.

It comes two weeks after head coach Christoph Eugen held a ski jumping training course at Faaker See in the Austrian Alps.

Now the focus has moved to endurance at Ramsau am Dachstein, where cross-country trainer Jochen Strobl spoke about the preparations.

"We still take advantage of the great snow conditions here on the Dachstein Glacier and stand on our competition equipment, the cross-country skis, almost every day," Strobl said.

"The glacier lies at almost 3,000 meters and therefore still offers great conditions. 

"At the beginning of the week, one or the other jumped, you are rested and can work on the hill qualitatively. 

"Since yesterday, however, we have been working intensively on the basic endurance and the technique on cross-country skis, then there are several training sessions of several hours. 

"In the afternoon we continue on the roller skis or with the running shoes, you can really tell the athletes how good it is for them to train again in a team and to be on a training course."

The Austrian team is also using roller skis ©OSV
The Austrian team is also using roller skis ©OSV

The summer conditions at a lower altitude make the athletes change to roller skis and has allowed three-time World Championship bronze medallist Franz-Josef Rehrl to return to the area where he grew up.

Rehrl said: "It is particularly good to finally be able to train with my colleagues again, and the location couldn't have been better with my home town of Ramsau.

"This week I did the first jumps in over three months and found myself well right from the start and built up a good feeling, that definitely makes you want more.

"We complete the cross-country skiing sessions on the glacier, we try this summer to have snow contact as often as possible and to stand on cross-country skis - this makes it easier to switch from roller skis to cross-country skis in autumn."

Another member of the team, Lukas Klapfer, added that it was "really cool here on the glacier".

With international travel severely restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic, nations boasting the best locations for training - both natural and man-made - stand to benefit even more than usual.

Austria won three Nordic combined bronze medals at the 2019 Nordic World Ski Championships.