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SKIING : World Cup Men’s Competition Opens in Utah

The long, snowy trail to Albertville starts in Park City, Utah, where the opening Alpine World Cup ski competition will be held this weekend.

These races are for men only--including longtime rivals Alberto Tomba of Italy and Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg--so there probably won’t be any Americans on the podium after either Saturday’s giant slalom or Sunday’s slalom. Park City is the U.S. Ski Team’s hometown, but the team’s strength is again concentrated in the women’s squad, which doesn’t begin competition until later this month in Europe.

A.J. Kitt, who could sneak through for a medal in the men’s downhill at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games, skips the technical events. Consequently, U.S. hopes will ride on the skis of Jeremy Nobis and Matt Grosjean, both 21.

“Grosjean is a real comer,” said Billy Kidd, who is in Los Angeles for this weekend’s Ski Dazzle. “He won a practice slalom against his teammates and many of the Europeans Tuesday at Beaver Creek (in Colorado) and should be ready for a good race.”

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Of course, Kidd, Olympic slalom silver medalist in 1964 and world combined champion in 1970, might be a bit biased. Grosjean is from Steamboat, Colo., where Kidd has just opened his new Billy Kidd Center for Performance Skiing.

“I was at Breckenridge (also in Colorado), where the men were training last week,” Kidd said, “and the word was that Tomba really worked hard this summer to stay in condition. Also, Girardelli said his knee is as good as new.”

Tomba won two Olympic gold medals at Calgary, Canada, in 1988, but barely lost the 1991 World Cup overall title to Girardelli, who finished the season virtually skiing on one leg.

Kidd, who has signed on as a CBS-TV commentator at the Winter Olympics in France Feb. 8-23, will be at the L.A. Convention Center today when Ski Dazzle opens its annual four-day run.

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Also mingling among the booths, exhibits, films and ski-swap activities will be ageless Stein Eriksen of Deer Valley, Utah, a double Olympic gold medalist in 1952; Dick Bass, owner of Snowbird, Utah, who has climbed the highest peaks on seven continents, including Mt. Everest, and C.J. Mueller, holder of several speed skiing records.

Show hours are 4 to 11 p.m. today and Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

A white Thanksgiving is virtually assured for skiers throughout the West.

Sunday’s storm boosted the snowpack at Mammoth Mountain and other Sierra resorts, many of which will open for the season this weekend, and cold nighttime temperatures have enabled Southland ski areas to continue their snow-making operations. A sampling of reports:

--Big Bear neighbors Bear Mountain and Snow Summit hope to expand their skiable terrain by this weekend.

--Mammoth now has a 36- to 60-inch base after receiving 18 inches of powder Sunday, with skiing on 700 acres, and its new snow-making equipment is working just fine.

--Alpine Meadows, Boreal, Kirkwood and Mt. Rose are operating daily; Northstar at Tahoe will open today, and Sugar Bowl and Squaw Valley will get going Saturday--Squaw for the second time this season.

--Mt. Bachelor, Ore., has reopened with a 33-inch base.

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--In Utah, Park City and Brighton will be joined by Brian Head Saturday.

--Sun Valley, Ida., had planned to begin its season last weekend, but a warm rain delayed everything until this Saturday.

--Colorado resorts in operation include Aspen, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Loveland, Monarch, Vail, Winter Park and Wolf Creek. Purgatory, Steamboat and Telluride will join the party Saturday.

Skiing Notes

Many resorts, including Taos Ski Valley, N.M., are waiting until next Thursday to open. . . . Warren Miller winds up the Southland tour of his new film, “Born to Ski,” Tuesday night at the Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, showtime 7:30. . . . U.S. Ski Team racers Matt Grosjean and Julie Parisien won the Coca-Cola Junior NASTAR Pacesetting Trials last week at Beaver Creek, Colo. . . . After Park City, the World Cup men’s circuit moves to Breckenridge, Colo., for a slalom and giant slalom Nov. 29-30. . . . The first World Cup women’s races are a slalom and giant slalom at Piancavallo, Italy, Nov. 30-Dec. 1.


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