The 26th season of World Cup ski racing will begin over the Thanksgiving weekend, probably at Park City, Utah, based on action taken Friday during a meeting of the International Ski Federation.
The FIS approved a tentative schedule which calls for the men's tour to spend two weeks in the United States at the opening of the season, with the men's and women's tours returning to the United States after the Winter Olympics next February.When the schedule issue was first made public during season-ending races at Waterville Valley, N.H., in March, there were no U.S. races scheduled next season. In the uproar that followed, FIS president Marc Hodler of Switzerland said that schedule had been released in error and that American races were virtually certain.
On Friday, Hodler's prediction became fact, with the men's tour scheduled to spend the first two weeks in the United States. Park City, the home of the U.S. Ski Team and site every season of an "America's Opening" event involving either World Cup or pro tours, figures to open the schedule. Other sites and dates will be determined in May by the U.S. Ski Association.
In addition to the schedule, the World Cup Reform Working Group set in motion a U.S.-sponsored plan calling for a full-time commissioner and staff and a marketing division to oversee the World Cup under FIS auspices. The lack of professional management has been a sore point for years, and the matter came to a head in recent years as USSA president Howard Peterson pushed a modernization program.
On Friday, the Peterson program received strong backing from Austria and Switzerland, the two dominant nations in skiing whose backing was considered critical for meaningful reforms to be enacted. Peterson said he expects a commissioner to be hired this summer.