University of Wyoming Nordic ski club team members and coaches are part of the USA team that will compete at the Universiade World University Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan, according to a UW news release.

UW is among several U.S. teams invited to compete in the games, known as the Winter Universiade, an international sporting and cultural festival staged every two years in a different city. It is said to be second in importance only to the Winter Olympic Games. More than 50 countries are expected to compete.

UW’s teams will compete against some world-class athletes who have competed in past Winter Olympics. This is the fourth time UW’s contingent has been invited to the WUG, having previously competed in Turkey, Italy and Slovakia.

The Cowboys are the two-time defending United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association national champions, while the Cowgirls have been runners-up the past two seasons.

UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs is the USA Nordic team leader, and UW co-head Coach Rachel Watson is the national team’s head coach. Two former UW team members also will have roles on the USA team: Kyle Bochanski, Fairfax, Vt., is an assistant coach, and Sindre Solvang, Cheyenne, is a ski wax technician.

Current UW team members selected for the USA team -- based on last year’s individual point standings in United States Collegiate Ski Association-sanctioned races -- are men’s team members Will Timmons, Anchorage, Alaska; Mason Vincent, Laramie; and Sam Wiswell, Jackson.

The games are scheduled take place Jan. 29-Feb. 8.