Schleper with child; won’t ski in 07-08 |

Schleper with child; won’t ski in 07-08

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado
Daily file photoSarah Schlepper will miss the 2007-08 World Cup season, she annouced Thursday, because she is pregnant. Schleper and her fiancee, Frederico Gaxiola, are expecting the child in January or February.

PARK CITY, Utah – Vail’s Sarah Schleper will miss the 2007-08 World Cup season because she is expecting a baby early next year.

U.S. alpine director Jesse Hunt said the U.S. Ski Team “shares her excitement and joy.”

Schleper, 28 and a four-time U.S. slalom champion, sat out the 2006-07 season while recuperating from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee and rehab a chronic back problem. She won her first World Cup race at the end of the 2005 season.

“I’m feeling good. Today, I went swimming and went running, but I’m not doing as much water skiing,” Schleper said. “I’m really looking forward to having my baby. I think it’ll be kind of inspiring for other women, showing that they can be athletes and a mother, too.”

“This is an exciting time in their lives for Sarah and Federico (Gaxiola) as they prepare for their baby,” Hunt said. “She skied well at two on-snow camps this spring, and she has a positive outlook about returning to the World Cup tour with the 2009 season as she looks to regain her place as one of our top ski racers. The Team certainly shares her excitement and joy.”

She was coaching at a ski camp at Mt. Hood, Ore., for her longtime friend Erich Sailer, the Hall of Fame coach from Buck Hill Ski Area in the Twin Cities, when she learned she was pregnant.

“I was coaching for Erich and getting in 11 runs a day, getting my ski feet back under me after missing last season. It was going well.”

Her plan is to resume training and racing with the 2009 season. “Going to Vancouver (the 2010 Olympics) is my goal,” she added. When she told head coach Patrick Riml that she would be sidelined for a second straight season, “He told me it was going to be a life-changing event, but that I couldn’t believe how cool it will be. He was so supportive.”

She didn’t want to miss the 2008 season, but when she weighed racing and holding her own baby, she said it was “an easy decision” to keep her focus on staying healthy and having her baby.

“The ultimate in skiing,” she said, “is winning a gold medal, but holding my own baby is even greater.”

The baby is due in late January or early February, she said. She and her fiance, Gaxiola, a real estate executive in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, are planning to marry, but not until at least 2009, she said.

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