Vail’s Schleper disappointed but confident |

Vail’s Schleper disappointed but confident

Dustin Racioppi
Vail, CO Colorado
Sarah Schleper skis through the gates in the women's slalom event of the U.S. Alpine Championships in Girdwood, Alaska Sunday, March 29, 2009, to finish second behind Lindsey Vonn. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)

VAIL, Colorado ” Sarah Schleper returned home to Vail, Colorado Tuesday disappointed and sore.

At Alaska’s Alpine Ski Championships on Sunday, she nearly beat fellow Vail resident Lindsay Vonn in the slalom but wound up placing second “-but just barely.

“I was hoping she was a tenth of a second slower,” Schleper said.

Then on Monday, she was threatening to win the giant slalom until she fell and had to be taken off the course on a sled, unable to finish the race. She suffered a concussion and also has a sore shoulder that she thinks may be torn, but won’t know until she sees a doctor.

“I’m a little sore,” Schleper said. “I don’t think it’s something that needs surgery.”

Schleper said she was knocked unconscious for a minute after taking the fall and remembers waking up and seeing her trainer. She said she knew the track well but conditions were “iffy.” As she was poised to take the lead from Monday’s eventual winner, Julia Mancuso, the conditions ended her bid for a giant slalom national championship.

“My ski must have grabbed a bump after that,” she said.

Aside from the ailing body, Schleper’s father, Buzz Schleper, said his daughter needs a little time after a fast-paced weekend in Girdwood, Alaska, and a long comeback season.

“She’s pretty depressed after taking that fall. She had that title in her grasp,” he said. “It’ll take her a while to get over that one, but she will.”

Sarah Schleper did come away from the weekend with a great amount of confidence after taking two years off to undergo knee surgery and start a family.

“I think I got my technique down and modern. It started working for me,” she said. “Now I’ve got a whole summer of training ahead of me. Hopefully I can get into the World Cup with a bang.”

She said her goals this summer are to build more body strength and add a little weight. This season was primarily in preparation for next year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, which would be her fourth. Her father says the season “especially her last month ” was a good sign that she’s on her way to next year’s Olympics.

“Sarah’s just starting to come into form here,” he said. “All in all she probably didn’t do as well as expected but she’s on track. We feel great about how she did.”

The weekend could have turned out better for Schleper, but her sights are now set on improving upon what she accomplished this season and getting back to a place she’s used to ” at the top of a podium.

“All in all I can continue on,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to racing again next year.”

Staff writer Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or

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