SOELDEN, Austria — Bode Miller could miss the season-opening World Cup race because of a back injury.

The 2005 overall World Cup champion, who split with the U.S. ski team and went independent this season, hurt his back skiing earlier this month, Miller's coach, John McBride, told The Associated Press.

"We're not even sure Bode is going to race at this point," McBride said. "He hurt himself quite a few times this fall and he hasn't skied this week.

"He's going to try and ski tomorrow. If it goes OK, then he's going to try and race on Sunday," added McBride, who said X-rays showed Miller had a soft-tissue injury.

The World Cup season starts this weekend on the Rettenbach glacier, with a women's giant slalom on Saturday and a men's GS on Sunday.

Miller wrote on his blog that the injury occurred when he skied a giant slalom on firm, hard snow.

"I was a little rotated into a turn, nothing unusual or anything, and it just kind of went," Miller wrote. "Skiing is tough these days, lots of hard impact and weight being moved around. The kind of snow we were training on was hard, grippy show and it definitely puts your spinal cord in some compromising positions. It was kind of unlucky, really."

The injury occurred when Miller had barely recovered from a hamstring problem.

McBride said because of Miller's recent health issues, the 30-year-old American has only skied about five days over the last three weeks.

"Those days aren't enough for me to gauge where he is or what his form is like," McBride said. "Still, he'll have a mental edge here. He's always done well here."

Miller has a strong record in Soelden. He won in 2003 and 2004, and finished second in 2005. Last year's season-opener was wiped out because of heavy rain.

To forfeit would be frustrating, considering that Miller had made the technical events — the giant slalom and slalom — his primary focus over the summer.

Miller once dominated those events. However, he has struggled with them over the last couple of years, mainly because he's been focused more on the downhill and super-G — speed events that require different skills than the turn-heavy gate races.

Miller tested more than 50 pairs of skis last season.

"The summer for us was primarily for testing new equipment," McBride said. "He's spent a lot of time on modifying equipment and redesigning. He's spent a lot of time at the factory, a lot of time with the engineers. He's trying to get his equipment where he needs it."