Snow Shuffle Planned for Cross-Country Championships

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MIDWAY, Utah (AP)--Olympic organizers hope to hold the NCAA cross-country skiing championships at Soldier Hollow this week by using volunteers to redistribute snow along the 14.3 miles of trails.

The 2002 Olympic venue for cross country skiing and biathlon in Wasatch Mountain State Park has had a warmer than normal winter.

One month ago, Olympic organizers saved the U.S. Biathlon Championships by spending $20,000 to haul snow to the venue.

This time, they just want to move the snow around a little.

``We have enough snow up there, just everything is not on the trails,'' said John Aalberg, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's director of cross country skiing.

Aalberg said Soldier Hollow hasn't received natural snow in the past week, and warm weather Saturday melted some of the cover.

The warm weather also prevented organizers from making much man-made snow, but what artificial snow had been made is staying on the ground.

``Man-made snow is just holding up amazingly well,'' he said.

Late last week, Aalberg and other event organizers talked about moving the competition to White Pine Touring near Park City.

However, Aalberg said the race is still planned for Soldier Hollow. He said it would take as much work to relocate the competition as it would to move the snow around on Soldier Hollow's trails.

The NCAA Skiing Championship includes men's and women's alpine and cross country skiing events. The alpine contests are scheduled for Park City.

About 160 skiers from 21 schools will be taking part in this week's competition, which is hosted by the University of Utah.

The competition begins Wednesday with the giant slalom at Park City Mountain Resort.

On Thursday, the athletes will head to Soldier Hollow for the freestyle cross-country races.

The slalom will be held at Park City on Friday, and the classical cross-country racing will be at Soldier Hollow on Saturday.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press