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Races could move to Beaver Creek

Ian Cropp

ASPEN – The wait is over – at least until Wednesday.Atle Skaardal, the women’s alpine director for the International Ski Federation, said a decision will be made Wednesday concerning the rescheduling of two sets of World Cup races.Saturday, Skaardal announced that the women’s downhill and super combined races from St. Moritz, Switzerland, (Dec. 9-10) had been canceled because of poor snow conditions, and gave an initial deadline for Sunday to find a venue to hold a makeup super combined.”We’ve decided to take the decision on Wednesday regarding a super combined either here in Aspen or in Beaver Creek for the ladies and the men’s races,” Skaardal said Sunday night after the women’s World Cup slalom race in Aspen. “It’s a huge job for a ski federation to take over races on this short notice, and the United States Ski and Snowboard Association has done a great job … but they need more time, which is easy to understand.”Additionally, Skaardal extended the deadline to coincide with when a decision will be made regarding the status of men’s races in Val d’Isere, France. The men are scheduled to race a downhill and super combined Dec. 9-10, but warm weather and lack of snow have Skaardal prepared for rescheduling those races.”We talked to a lot of people in Val d’Isere, and my understanding is that it’s a very small chance they can make it,” Skaardal said.Two for oneThe plan for rescheduling both the men’s and women’s races calls for a pair of super combined races that featured a super-G and slalom at the same venue sometime between Dec. 7-9.”We are seriously working at trying to make this happen,” said Anette Royal, USSA’s vice president of events. Royal confirmed that the only two options are Beaver Creek and Aspen, and that the decision will be made based upon fund and logistics.”This has been on the docket for a few days and the key is finding where the dollars will be who is willing to pick this up,” Royal said. “We’ve contacted partners we have relations with, and we hope within the next day or two, we’ll get a firm offer from someone.”Other specific issues that will factor into USSA’s decision include television deals, hotel room availability and media center locations.There is also the possibility that USSA will not be able to coordinate the races, in which case Skaardal said FIS would try and reschedule them later in the season in Europe.The downhill races from St. Moritz and Val d’Isere will likely be made up in later outside the U.S.”If we are able to have the super combined (races) here in the U.S., we have a good chance of picking up a downhill in Europe later in the season,” Skaardal said. “For me, the super combined is a huge priority, since it has a World Cup (award) given out this year in that discipline. We only have three (super combined races), so we should try and keep them. Downhill is the second priority. I will start a discussion with the first possible site after we’ve confirmed the super combined.”Skaardal touched on the overall snow conditions in Europe, calling the situation critical.”It has a big impact for public skiing as well, and will have a big impact on racing,” Skaardal said. “I think we hall have to hope for some colder temperatures and snow for Europe quite soon.”North American supportWith the decision of more American races still in the air Sunday, several competitors – including non-Americans – expressed their desire for a return to Colorado “Oh yeah, I’d love to come back,” said Canadian Brigitte Action. “Coming to Aspen is so great. I’ve been coming here since I was young, and it’s nice to come down and have Americans cheering for you. You can use your cell phone, watch English TV and get in the Internet anytime. It’s the little things that make the difference in the long run. I think personally we should have the races in December – they should all be in North America until January.”Vail’s Lindsey Kildow continued her enthusiams for a speed event in the U.S.”I can’t even tell you how excited I would be to race in Colorado again. It’s just a great opportunity for Americans to try and get better results and show how well we are doing in skiing.”And Kildow has a personal incentive beyond the race being close to home.”If they had a super combined, that would be awesome for me. In super combined this year, it’s (a title), so that’s a big motivator for me. And Janica (Kostelic) isn’t here, so hopefully that’s an extra step that I can move forward.”Several tech teams elected to stay in Colorado until Wednesday’s decision, and will either race in NorAm’s at Winter Park and Keystone or train.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com. Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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