RUMFORD— World Cup racers will start the new year’s competition early with the U.S. Cross Country Championships in Rumford.

Black Mountain ski area will play host to the event Jan. 2-8. U.S. Ski Team headliners will include returning U.S. Champion Simi Hamilton of Aspen, Colo., Liz Stephen of East Montpelier, Vt., and Morgan Arritola of Fairfield, Idaho, who are coming off their best World Cup finishes. The event includes two sprint and two distance races.

Officials are expecting good snow conditions for the races.

Black Mountain of Maine has made several improvements since last hosting the Championships in 2004, including widening the trails and expanding the stadium.