World Cup Organizers Anxiously Watch Weather


Aspen, Colo. Nov. 6, 2001 (AP)--World Cup organizers said Monday they have set Nov. 16 as the deadline to decide if there is enough snow to hold the races.

The races are set for Nov. 22-26, but Colorado ski resorts are still waiting for major snowfalls, and above-normal temperatures are hampering snowmaking.

Organizers also face persistent reports of foreign racers afraid to fly to the United States in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

``On November 16 we don't have to have the course ready, but we have to have an idea of what the temperatures will look like,'' U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association spokesman Tom Kelly said.

Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle said the course could be covered in just five days if temperatures drop below freezing day and night or in seven to 10 days if it gets colder at night.

Temperatures have been in the 50s and 60s during the day in the mountains, and in the 20s at night. The long-term forecast showed little change in the next few days.

But race organizers said they weren't panicking.

``We realize it's warm, but we go through this every season regardless of where the races are being held,'' Kelly said.

The races were moved from Park City, Utah, to Colorado's Copper Mountain in 1999 because of warm weather.

Kelly said no alternative venues have been arranged in Europe in case the World Cup isn't held in Aspen. He was responding to speculation the event might be moved from the United States over security concerns.

He said he would be surprised if skiers from other countries cancel out of fear of terrorism.

Aspen Skiing officials said 27 women's teams and 24 men's teams have confirmed they are coming. There have been no cancellations and a total of 670 racers and coaches confirmed they would attend, which is about 70 more than organizers expected.

``Some people may be scared but everyone's coming,'' Hanle said. ``They'll actually probably be in the States within the next week to start training.''

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