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Some of Italy's leading skiers said that quickly changing weather and course conditions will be a key factor in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

"Weather can turn from sunny to rainy or snowy, from cold to warm, during the race," world super giant slalom champion Isolde Kostner said. "This makes conditions completely different for a skier starting among the top 10 and the 20th, for example."

Stefania Belmondo said an additional problem for cross country skiers is the steep nature of the Olympic courses.

"The uphill sections are very tough, and the descents are steep. If they are icy it could be like skiing a real downhill," the Italian athlete said.

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