Vail racers Vonn and Schleper training at Copper |

Vail racers Vonn and Schleper training at Copper

Bryce Evans
Summit County, CO Colorado
Lindsey Vonn of the United States clears a gate on her way to take the second place, during an alpine ski, women's World Cup Slalom, in Levi, Finland, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado – On its road to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the U.S. Alpine Ski Team – including racers from Vail –is making a stop at Copper Mountain this week.

The team, fresh off a World Cup race in Levi, Finland, is participating in Copper’s ski and snowboard preseason race training program.

And the team’s biggest names are scheduled to be on the slopes. Defending overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn will be there, as will two-time World Cup champ Bode Miller. Other skiers include Ted Ligety, Marco Sullivan, Steven Nyman, Scott Macartney, T.J. Lanning, Andrew Weibrecht, Erik Fisher, Julia Manusco, Stacey Cook, Resi Stiegler, Sarah Schleper, Keely Kelleher, Chelsea Marshall, Kaylin RIchardson and Leanne Smith.

In the season’s first alpine race, Vonn finished in second place in Levi’s slalom race, only 0.8 seconds behind rival and friend Maria Riesch of Germany. Normally considered a downhill specialist, the high finish in slalom is a good sign for Vonn in defending her title and solidifying her stake as the world’s top female skier.

Ligety led the U.S. men in the slalom start, finishing in 18th. Miller didn’t finish the race after hitting his face on a gate.

The men’s team is back on the slopes in competition Thanksgiving weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta, while the women are in Aspen Nov. 28-29. Both teams will be in Beaver Creek for the Audi Birds of Prey race on Dec. 3. Then the ski team will be overseas until the Olympics begin in Vancouver on Feb. 13.

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