Vail’s Littman named to U.S. Ski Team
PARK CITY, Utah – Julia Littman is the latest Ski and Snowboard Club Vail athlete to earn a spot on the U.S. Women’s Alpine Ski Team, joining veteran Vail racers Sarah Schleper and Lindsey Kildow.Littman’s FIS world rankings in slalom (116) and downhill (121) were good enough to be named to the Alpine C Team recently for the 2005-06 season.The qualifying criteria to make the team is to have two top-120 rankings in two events, but since Littman was so close in downhill, U.S. Ski Team officials gave her a team spot.”I was kind of sitting on the edge of my seat for a few weeks while they had their meetings and figured out the exact rankings,” Littman said. “I found out on about April 28 that I made the team. Then, I found out that I was leaving on the 30th to go to my first camp, which was exciting. It was kind of a rush there.”Littman has moved to Park City, Utah, for the summer to train at the team’s headquarters. Next season, her goals are to improve on her results on the NorAm Cup circuit and make a push for her first World Cup bib.This past season, Littman primarily raced NorAm events in the United States and Canada and Europa Cup events abroad.Though she qualified for the team based on her slalom and downhill results, Littman said she wants to continue to focus on all four alpine events, including super-G and giant slalom, and not pick a specialty.A number of World Cup skiers specialize in either the technical events of slalom and GS or the speed events of downhill and super-G. American Bode Miller, however, won the World Cup overall last season by competing in all four disciplines.”I had some breakthrough GS races this season,” Littman said. “I think I’m a four-event skier. I think that there’s times when I’m better at one or the other, but it’s hard to tell.” Littman said she knows both Kildow and Schleper a little, and that she is looking forward to spending more time training with the two now that she has earned a team spot.Last season, Kildow made a splash on the World Cup circuit by winning the first downhill of the season, followed by a string of podium finishes. She will be a medal favorite for the women’s team heading into the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, in February.Schleper, a two-time Olympian, won her first World Cup race in slalom in March at World Cup Finals in Switzerland. “My goal is to qualify for World Cups and just starting taking big steps forward,” Littman said. “I’m proud to be from Vail and I’m proud to represent and follow in some footsteps and take some bigger steps on my own, too.”Stports Writer Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.com.Vail, Colorado
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