Schleper finishes fourth in Germany
ZWIESEL, Germany – For the second-straight day, World Cup leader Anja Paerson of Sweden won. And, Vail local Sarah Schleper turned-in her best result in more than three years Sunday.
Schleper, leading three United States women into the top 10 -five into the top 25 – finished fourth while Resi Stiegler of Jackson Hole, Wyo., produced her first top-10, finishing eighth, and Kristina Koznick of Eagan, Minn., was 10th. This was Stiegler’s final race before the World Alpine Junior Championships.
Paerson swept both races of the weekend for the third time this season; she previously won at the Chevy Truck America’s Opening giant slalom and SL in Park City, Utah, as well as Maribor, Slovenia, two weeks ago. Her winning time was 1 minute, 29.58 seconds with German Monika Bergmann-Schmuderer second at 1:30.02.
Schleper, 11th in the first run, got her second top-5 in 24 hours as she finished in 1:30.64 for her best slalom showing since Jan. 26, 2001, in Ofterschwang, Germany. Organizers in this section of the Arber region near the Czech border also created their own combined calculation for the weekend, and Schleper came in second behind Paerson for the GS/SL tally.
Stiegler, 19th in the first run, survived a mid-run, wind gust that kicked up swirling snow and skied fourth fastest on the final run as she moved up 11 places with a total time of 1:31.07. In the final race in the Arber region, near the Czech border, Koznick was timed in 1:31.30.
“It’s been a long time since we had three in the top 10 in a slalom,” said Head Coach Patrick Riml. “The conditions were tough, too. The snow got bumpy and was rutted, and it was windy at times, too. Resi got hit at the bottom pretty good with the wind.
“We had good training last week and Sarah skied well. She’ll take some time off now then be ready to go again. And, the young ones go to race at World Juniors.”
Lindsey Kildow of Vail, who had the sixth-fastest second run, finished 19th and Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley, Calif., finished 25th. Stiegler, Mancuso and Kildow – all of whom collected medals a year ago – left after the slalom for World Juniors in Maribor. Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for Sunday night. A year ago, Mancuso won super G gold and downhill bronze, Kildow earned silver in DH and Stiegler was a bronze medalist in slalom and combined.
The women have a two-week break before resuming action Feb. 21-22 with a super G and GS.
In other news, the U.S. Ski Team said Kirsten Clark – injured Jan. 30 in a World Cup downhill crash in Haus, Austria – would undergo surgery Friday by Dr. Terry Orr in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., for repair of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. She underwent surgery immediately after the race for a broken right wrist.