Airlines lost Sarah Schleper’s gear, but can’t dampen her World Championship spirit |

Airlines lost Sarah Schleper’s gear, but can’t dampen her World Championship spirit

Friends and racing colleagues helped Vail's Sarah Schleper gear up for the World Alpine Championships in St. Moritz, after airlines lost her luggage and gear. This is Schleper's seventh world championships. She's competing for Mexico.
Special to the Daily |

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Despite the airlines losing her gear, Sarah Schleper is roaring through her seventh World Championships.

The Vail native, skiing for Mexico, arrived in St. Moritz, Switzerland, but her luggage did not. Her friends and colleagues rallied to help her, and she cobbled together the gear she needed to compete in the Alpine World Ski Championships in Switzerland.

Schleper has seen almost everything during her long and storied World Cup career, so she didn’t panic over this.

“You can survive and even race downhill with practically nothing … just some good friends who have fast things,” she said through social media.

The Legend Lives on

This is Schleper’s first World Championships to compete in all of the alpine events. So far, she finished 37th in her first World Championship super-G, and was 27th in the women’s alpine combined.

“The stars have aligned. … no sign of my missing luggage … but the ski community is pulling me through,” Schleper said.

Karen Putzer brought Schleper gloves and goggles. Andrea Dettling sent her poles, a racing suit and a helmet with Patrick Lang, Harry Laidlaw offered her his super-G skis, while Jackie Wiles loaned her a pair of her downhill skis.

“You all made it happen! Feeling incredibly blessed to be a part of this fantastic family of skiers,” Schleper said.

While her World Cup colleagues have been doing everything they can, the airline that lost her luggage and gear haven’t been of any help.

“Unfortunately, we still do not have any news for your baggage,” said a text message Schleper received.

They said they’d check with the U.S.A., to see if her gear is still in this hemisphere.

Schleper has 12 World Championship starts and eight Olympic starts to her credit. She competed on the World Cup circuit for the U.S. from 1995 to 2011.

That run saw her compete in four Winter Olympics: 1998 in Nagano, Japan; 2002 in Salt Lake City; 2006 in Torino, Italy; and 2010 in Vancouver. She was the top U.S. women’s slalom skier at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics. She earned four World Cup podiums, including a victory at the World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in 2005.

After a long and successful racing career with the U.S. Ski Team, her naturalized citizenship status with Mexico cleared the way for her to compete with the Mexican National Ski Federation, beginning in 2014.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and