Denver, CO, Nov. 12 (AP)--SKI magazine's list of 100 top skiers names familiar faces, Olympic champions Picabo Street and Alberto Tomba among them, but No. 15 is causing the stir.
The magazine's December issue says the lynx, the tufted-eared cat that calls the Rockies home, is one of the 100 most influential skiers.
The magazine says the ``finicky cat'' could halt expansion of ski areas if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declares it a threatened or endangered species in January.
The No. 15 ranking beats those of several Olympic medalists, including Tomba (No. 65) and Street (No. 31) and puts the lynx within sight of famed French racer Jean-Claude Killy, ranked No. 1.
The listing was partly tongue-in-cheek, admits senior editor Greg Trinker. ``If the list doesn't cause a couple people to spit up their morning coffee, then we haven't done our job.''
But its importance is no joke, he said.
``It could affect skiing both in Colorado, and it could set a precedent around the country,'' Trinker said.
The status of the lynx already has caused controversy
Last year, an eco-terrorist group claimed it set fires ``on behalf of the lynx'' at the Vail ski resort to protest an expansion. The fires destroyed a ski lodge, a ski-patrol headquarters and chairlifts.
Copyright (c) 1999 The Associated Press
SKI Magazine's list of the 100 most influential skiers is in the December 1999 issue on sale now.xxxxxxx