- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) - Some of the races at this weekend’s classic Hahnenkamm World Cup event are under threat as mild weather and fog are softening the snow, organizers said Tuesday.

“Conditions are quite critical with the high temperatures and the moisture,” FIS men’s race director Guenter Hujara said.

A key problem is the Hausbergkante, the lower section of the 3.3-kilometer Streif course which is one of the marquee parts of the downhill race. Organizers have been transporting 1,800 tons of snow down from the mountains by helicopter to get the section covered.

“Snow on the race line for the downhill is there, enough snow,” said Hujara, adding that now freezing temperatures were needed to make the surface hard enough.


“We’ll have to wait for how the weather behaves,” Hujara said. “We need cooler temperatures and clear skies.”

Organizers have already prepared an alternative bottom section to the downhill course, using the final part of the slalom course instead.

“We have not an easy problem to solve,” race chief Peter Obernauer said.

With Tuesday’s first downhill training having already been canceled last week and Wednesday’s second session now doubtful after days of rain and fog, organizers could be forced to change the schedule.

The weekend comprises a super-G and a combined event on Friday, the downhill on Saturday and a slalom on the final day.

Hujara said the organizers’ main priorities are with the downhill and the slalom, and that they might have to sacrifice the other two races.

“If we have no good conditions we will not damage the race course,” Hujara said about Wednesday’s training. “We will then focus on one good training Thursday.”

Organizers are reluctant to open the event as scheduled with the super-G because that race also uses the downhill slope and could severely damage the course.

Alternatively, the FIS could swap Friday’s races with Sunday’s slalom, which is on a different piste.

And, if no downhill training is possible before Friday, the super-G and the combined event will be called off. The slalom would then take place on Friday, with the downhill training and the race on the following two days.

The mild temperatures in central Europe have been affecting the Alpine skiing calendar for the last three weeks. Several races in Germany, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy have been canceled or moved to other resorts.