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Weather puts season-opening World Cup giant slalom in doubt

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Associated Press
10/26/2012 2:47:59 PM
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SOELDEN, Austria -- World Cup officials were worrying Friday that a drastic change of weather could threaten this weekend's season-opening giant slaloms.

Forecasts for the Rettenbach glacier saw temperatures dropping to minus 14 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit), while snowfall, wind and fog were expected to worsen conditions.

"It could be a difficult day," FIS women's race director Atle Skaardal said, referring to the women's GS scheduled for Saturday.

After days of crystal clear skies, the bad weather could mean poor race conditions on the course and could also complicate travel from the village of Soelden, which is situated at an altitude of 1,400 metres, over a mountain road up to the glacier at over 2,600 metres.

Overall race director Rainer Gstrein told a team captains' meeting that the 13-kilometre drive uphill might only be possible with snow chains, while organizers were considering whether to provide shuttle buses for teams to get to the glacier.

Gstrein said the weather might slightly improve during Saturday, though up to 40 centimetres of fresh snow were expected until Sunday morning, which could also put the men's GS in doubt.

Two years ago, the men's race in Soelden was cancelled after the first run due to thick fog.

According to FIS rules, the first and the last race of a season will not be rescheduled if cancelled on the initial day.

Downhill Skiing (Photo: Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
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