Sarah Schleper …on what it takes to ski the Cup |

Sarah Schleper …on what it takes to ski the Cup

Staff Reports

Editor’s note: U.S. Ski Team racer Sarah Schleper will be sending The Vail Trail a series of her impressions from life on the World Cup racing circuit. This entry is the first of the year.(Here is my journal entry for Dec. 12. I thought it would be interesting for young ski racers who are curious about a day on the World Cup circuit:)I was eighth place today! I thought I should write about this day so when I am older I might be able to remember the amazing feeling on snow. I woke up and did a short yoga session to get my body going. I ate some French ‘ya ya’ petit dejunar (sic), or whatever it’s called. I went to my room to take a No. 2. But the more I write, the more I realize that this probably isn’t the stuff I will want to remember.Anyway, about the race. Warm-up was sketch. Flat light, it was still pretty much dark when we were skiing. I felt very confident in myself for the first time in G.S. ever. I just jumped in the course and felt the position over the ski. I worked out of the turns and drove my hands forward. I made some pretty good turns in warm-up, I remember that. I took a free run before the race and I could feel my body tensing up. So I just tried to flow my turns. But my skiing felt forced and stiff. I changed gears and didn’t work the ski; I just skied down effortlessly making smooth Giant Slalom turns. I was very warmed up when I got to the start, because I missed the entrance to the course on my free run and had to hike up the hill. When I got to the start, No. 9 was in the start, and I was running No. 24.I tried a new thing in the start to try to relax: I stretched a bunch. Did the splits, stretched my sides, swung my legs and torso (which I usually do). And I did my usual boxing routine. Another strategy I tried in the start was staying in the moment. I didn’t look out to the first two gates when I was in the starting gate. Instead, I placed my poles outside of the wand and focused on making a good start. I focused on each turn when I got to that turn.The run felt so nice. The snow was like waterskiing on glass. It really was that nice. I was off line on the top gates into the gully but I just arced my skis back in and drove my hands forward down the hill. Some sections I know I over-skied, but what the hell, I am back in the top 10 where I belong. Where I really belong is on top of that podium.Some other tactics of my day: “No Friends on race day.”Sort of like the clich no friends on a powder day. But it works a little differently. Instead of ditching your friends, you bitch your friends. I have to remember my friends are also my competitors on race day.”Course report from (coach) Mathias (Berthold) only.”I had Mathias give me the entire course report top-to-bottom. He got the info he needed from watching a couple girls on each section. Any other info he needed later in the race he got from the coach in that position. I got the best course report I have ever had!! Thanks to Mulli, he gave me the idea on the plane.Thing to do better next race: more aggressive line remember food and Sport-a-Light for between runs shoes in finish bag extra socks bring catch phrase (game) for lodge time goggles around neck for podium

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