The drawn-out campaign for reform on the World Cup ski circuit finally appears to be gathering speed.

After a threat made last fall by U.S. ski racing authorities to withdraw its North American venues from the circuit unless format changes were considered, International Ski Federation (FIS) President Marc Hodler appears to be firmly behind the move towards change.Hodler was present at Thursday's meeting of an FIS working group on the subject, expected to make preliminary recommendations next month at the World Championships in Sallbach-Hinterglemm, Austria.

The Swiss official, head of the FIS since 1950, said Saturday that change must come to a sport which is fast losing interest among the public, television and sponsors.

"The group recommends that high standards for race organizers must be maintained," Hodler said. "Specific criteria will be in place from the 1991-92 season onwards."

After its meeting this week, the working grup already is coming up with new ideas. Among proposals on the table:

- World Cup races be held only on weekends.

- Classic events such as like Kitzbuehel and Wengen will get priority calendar dates.

- The circuit will open simultaneously in Europe and North America each year, with men or women on each continent.

- Events will be scheduled at least two years in advance instead of the present season-by-season basis.

- Possible new race events may include a Grand Prix of Glaciers in the fall, a Parallel Slalom Cup for head-to-head competition and a Southern Hemisphere Cup.