Women's World Cup Moves to Copper Mountain

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Beaver Creek, CO, Nov. 12 (AP)--The International Ski Federation confirmed today that the women's World Cup ski races scheduled for Utah have been moved to Colorado because of a lack of snow.

Men's and women's giant slalom and slalom races at Park City, Utah, early season staples for years on the international ski schedule, were to be held Nov. 18-21 on the slopes where the 2002 Winter Olympic races will be contested.

Park City made almost 5 feet of artificial snow in September on the racing courses, but the recent warm spell destroyed the snow cover. The lack of snow, as well as the absence of cold temperatures necessary to produce machine-made snow, made it necessary to move the events to Copper Mountain.

FIS said the women's races will take place on the same dates as earlier scheduled, or possibly one day later. It said there would be an inspection Sunday to check course conditions.

However, while the men's races are also expected to take place on those dates, given the ''precarious snow situation,'' FIS said a final decision will not be taken until Nov. 17.

Colorado has gotten little snow itself, but resorts at higher elevations have been able to make snow.

Copper Mountain, whose village level of 9,700 feet is almost as high as Park City's peak of 10,000, has held World Cup races in the past and for several years was a site for the U.S. nationals.

``Copper has the capability to do it right now,'' resort spokesman Ben Friedland said Thursday.

Other alternate sites considered included Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Loveland and Keystone.

Beaver Creek, site of the men's speed races in last season's World Alpine Ski Championships, has drawn many teams looking for a place to train before the season gets under way in earnest.

The men are scheduled to conduct a downhill and a super-G on beaver Creek's ``Birds of Prey'' course Nov. 28-29.

``I don't think that the lack of snow's really affected us in any negative way,'' said Bode Miller of Franconia, N.H., the top American gate racer. ``We've had good snow here at Beaver Creek, some good slalom and GS at Keystone, good super-G _ about a 70-second run _ at Breckenridge, and the girls, from what I've heard, have been getting good training at Copper.

``A lot of people are camped on one small area, but by training with the Austrians, we've gotten some of the best training anyone's had.''

Utah's unseasonably warm weather is expected to continue into next week, with ``zippo'' precipitation in sight, according to weather forecaster David Hogan.

``There's not much change through Sunday,'' Hogan said. ``By Monday it will be a little warmer (in Park City), around 65, nighttime lows into the 20s. I apologize for Mother Nature.''

While man-made snow is scattered on the resort's racing runs, the finish area is a muddy bog. Resort officials said it would be impractical to move the finish area higher up the mountain, where machine-made snow tends to remain frozen.

``It would mean moving vehicles, stands and fencing through what is now mud,'' O'Brien said. ``It's not really an option.''

Copyright (c) 1999 The Associated Press