Wind could delay start of skiing championships

The opening race of the world ski championships, the men's super-G, could be delayed Saturday because of wind conditions at the top of the run.

International Ski Federation (FIS) president Gian Franco Kasper said the race’s scheduled start of 1130 GMT could be put back but was ultimately not threatened by postponement.

“We might have to delay the start by 30 minutes or an hour but that wouldn’t make much difference,” Kasper said.

On Friday organisers awoke to rising temperatures and light rain, prompting worries over possible re-scheduling of races ahead of the two-week competition.

However snowfall has been predicted for Friday afternoon and temperatures are set to drop to minus four celsius after Sunday.

Kasper added that the super-G races this weekened – the women’s race will be held on Sunday – are not under threat and that the piste had been “very well prepared”.

American Bode Miller is the defending men’s super-G world champion, although he will start his race with bib number two ahead of Austrian Hermann Maier, the top ranked super-G racer in the world standings.

The mild winter has already thrown the skiing season into some disarray.

“It has been a very tricky season. There has been snow in central and western parts of North America. But in Europe it has only been in eastern Turkey and around the black sea,” Kasper told news agency TT.

With talk of climate change in the air, the FIS president is concerned for the future of winter sports.

“At the World Cup level we will always get by, and I don’t think there will have been more than one or two competitions completely cancelled this season.

“But at the lower levels the situation is worse, since young people and juniors won’t get the chance to train or compete,” he told TT.