World Cup Event Likely to Leave Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY, UT, Jan. 9, 2004 (AP by Mark Thiessen) -- The World Cup might be leaving Utah.

Park City Mountain Resort will not host the event this November after failing to negotiate a midseason date with the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Association, and might be headed out of the state, officials said Friday.

A midseason date would have accommodated the men's and women's World Cup slalom and giant slalom events, which have been impacted by the lack of snow in November, resort President Vern Greco said.

"We spent the last two years in frequent and pretty candid discussions with the USSA about the increasing difficulty in hosting the event that early in the season," Greco said.

In order to host the November event, the resort says it is forced to concentrate the majority of its snowmaking efforts on the race course, which affects the timing and amount of terrain available to the paying public.

It also says warm temperatures in November during two of the last five years make it impossible to make enough snow to host the event.

The event was canceled in 1999 and the race in November 2001, not held because of the Olympic Games three months later, would have been canceled due to the lack of snow.

World Cup calendars are fixed several years ahead, making the resort's request for a midseason date difficult to accommodate.

The resort had hosted the World Cup annually since 1985. The events are routinely held at the resort over two weekends in November, with men competing one weekend in the slalom and giant slalom. The women follow the next weekend in the same events.

"It's disappointing that the decision had to be made," said USSA President Bill Marolt. "We understand why it was made, and it wasn't a decision that was made lightly."

Marolt said the strategy for Park City hosting an early-season Alpine event was good for the World Cup.

"We like those dates," he said. "Our hope is that we can find someone to pick those up."

Marolt said it was too early to speculate about where the World Cup event might go, but Greco indicated -- and Marolt agreed -- that many Colorado resorts might be interested.

"We have until late May, early June to put a plan in place," Marolt said of the search for a new venue.

He was adamant that the U.S. Ski Team will not leave its home in Park City, and he looks for the team's association with Park City Mountain Resort to continue.

"Even though this has been a difficult decision, this doesn't affect our relationship," he said. "We do a number of things with them. We'll see what else we can build together in the future."

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press