Ski events to be postponed until Feb. 18 in bad weather

Alpine skiing events held in the ski resort village of Hakuba during the Nagano Olympic Winter Games next month could be postponed to as late as Feb. 17 or 18 if the competitions are disrupted by bad weather, according to organizers.

Men's speed events on the slopes will be put off until Feb. 17, while women's events will be postponed until Feb. 18 in the case of strong winds, snow storms, or other inclement weather conditions, Nagano Olympic organizers said.

The organizers decided on the deadline at a meeting held in Hakuba, west of Nagano, on Tuesday.

Four speed events for men are scheduled on the Happo-one slopes, with the last one being scheduled for Feb. 13. Four women's events are also to be held in Hakuba, the last one being the women's combined event Feb. 17.

The speed events cannot be postponed beyond Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 because of skiers who will compete in the technical events in Shiga Kogen, east of Nagano, after the Hakuba competitions, the organizers said.

If bad weather is predicted beforehand, Nagano Olympic organizers will prepare two backup plans for the next day's events based on a weather report released at 4 p.m. and plan to choose from the alternatives at 6 a.m. the next morning, the organizers said.

Meanwhile, at the cross country venue in Hakuba, Nagano Olympic organizers have built spectator areas along each of the three courses where people can watch the athletes pass by.

Organizers prepared wooden paths leading to the spectator areas, which can hold up to 3,500 people each.

The organizers decided to build the areas after spectators at a World Cup cross country competition last year complained they could not see the athletes.

(January 14, 1998)