The threat of terrorism and sharply higher air fares may keep the World Cup ski tour from coming to North America in March.
In an announcement from Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, where the World Alpine Championships are being held, officials of the tour and the International Ski Federation said yesterday a final decision would be made this week following talks with officials of national federations.
Eric Demetz, who heads the World Cup tour, said North American meets are jeopardized by a number of problems, rising air fares among them. He said airline companies, as a security measure, are requesting delivery of skis and other equipment at least three days before the flights.
"In addition, several European ski federations, such as the Scandinavian ones, are refusing to use American carriers for security reasons due to recent terrorism threats," Demetz said.
He said the races would be rescheduled for European sites if the decision to avoid North America is made.
The scheduled North American events on the tour are men's and women's races in Aspen, Colo., March 8-10; Lake Louise, Alberta, March 9-11 and March 16-17; Vail, Colo., March 16-17, and Waterville Valley, N.H., March 20-24.
At the world championships, Petra Kronberger advanced her bid for an unprecedented five medals by striking gold in the downhill.
Kronberger, who has dominated women's skiing for the past two years, made up for a slow start by speeding through midcourse at 69 mph to defeat France's Nathalie Bouvier by nearly a half-second.
Bouvier held on to the silver medal by seven-hundredths of a second over Svetlana Gladishiva, the first Soviet to win a world championship medal in alpine skiing.