Vail Valley Voices: Schleper finishes with roar!
Vail, CO, Colorado
Bust out the hats and whistles folks. It’s the end of the year as we know it and we’re going out with a bang …
… provided by Sarah Schleper.
After 15 seasons of World Cup racing, five World Championships, four Olympic Games and 186 World Cup starts, she made her final World Cup start Thursday in Lienz.
She wore a gray dress, a GoPro and a blue Shred helmet donned with flowers. Wild blonde curls danced beneath it. Her signature roar out of the start was echoed in the finish stadium and across the world.
After smashing gates with true passion, she stopped midway and picked up her 3-year-old son Lasse from Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser and then continued to run the final gates with him in her arms. She gave an extra punch to the last one.
She crossed the line. She won in more ways that can be written. Her husband Federico, Lindsey, Julia, Patrick Riml, the World Cup family that loves her so much were there with hugs, flowers and a video tribute on the big screen.
Sarah was 16 when she made her World Cup debut in her hometown of Vail — a town that’s supported her and ski racing like only a true ski town can. They have Sarah’s passion and will be there with open arms to welcome her home.
Sarah is and always will be an inspiration:
n 15 seasons of World Cup racing. The first was Nov. 11, 1995, in her hometown.
n Four-time Olympian (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010).
n Member of five World Championship teams (2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011).
n 186 career World Cup starts, including today’s.
n Four World Cup podiums and one win (March 12, 2005, slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland).
n Missed 2007 season for the birth of her son Lasse (born Jan. 30, 2008).
n Six-time U.S. Champion.
n Amazing human.
That’s the notes.
Doug Haney is the chief press officer of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.