Organizers in Europe plan to take skiing indoors next month, when Olympic slalom champion Benjamin Raich will face French rival Jean-Baptiste Grange and other challengers in a new European championship.
Organizers said they already have registered 80 skiers from 12 nations.
"We have to react to the crisis in our sport," said Peter Schroecksnadel, president of the Austrian ski federation and leader of the European ski federation. "Some of the biggest ski schools are going bankrupt and the number of skiing days per year has diminished drastically over the past few years."
International Ski Federation president Gian-Franco Kasper had intimated that World Cup skiers could be suspended if they competed in the new competition, although he appears to have relaxed his stance.
"We're confident nobody will be suspended," said Schroecksnadel, Kasper's longtime rival. "We don't want a confrontation with the FIS. Before we announced the development of this federation we visited with Kasper, and everybody was informed of our intention to organize this race."
"It's one of the biggest ski domes in Europe," France Alpine director Yves Dimier said. "We have already held successful French championships there."
Source: AP News