Vail’s Schleper is a mom on a mission |

Vail’s Schleper is a mom on a mission

Rocky Mountain News/Wes PopeThree-time Olympic ski racer Sarah Schleper leads her family in grace before an early "Christmas" dinner at her father's house near Edwards, Colo. on Saturday. Schleper is slated to compete in both World Cup races this weekend on Aspen Mountain.

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Think the six month, 36-race World Cup circuit sounds like a grind? Try doing it as a new mom.

Vail’s Sarah Schleper said she can only laugh to herself when some of her peers on the U.S. Ski Team admit to being groggy during early-morning training sessions.

“I’m like, at least you didn’t have to wake up at three in the morning,” said Schleper earlier this month in a phone call from from Austria. “I’m doing everything all the other girls are doing, plus taking care of a family.”

That’s just Schleper, the new mom, telling it like it is.

After a two-year hiatus, the slalom and giant slalom specialist is back racing on the World Cup with designs on a fourth trip to the Olympics in 2010.

While another skier from Vail, defending overall champ Lindsey Vonn, will be the biggest attraction at this weekend’s Winternational races on Aspen Mountain, Schleper tops Vonn in at least one team category: She’s got a larger personal cheering section to travel the globe with her.

Schleper’s new son, Lasse Gaxiola, and her husband, Federico, are planning to accompany Schleper throughout the upcoming World Cup season, a family vacation of sorts where mom will constantly be doing double duty.

Schleper said her first goal is to regain the form that made her a dual threat in the tech disciplines. Before a knee injury sidelined her for the 2006-07 season, she was a top-15 skier in both GS and slalom.

Schleper, who will turn 30 this winter, reasons that getting back up to speed won’t be as hard as some might think.

“If my son can walk and crawl in a year, I can definitely go back to where I was skiing in a year,” said Schleper, who gave birth Jan. 30.

Her tentative plan is to ski through the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, then likely call it a career. Schleper admits there were plenty of people who thought she was done after she decided to take some time off after the 2006 World Cup season, but she never doubted she would be back.

“I just feel like there’s some racing left in me,” said Schleper, who has 35 top-10 World Cup finishes. “I was never finished with ski racing. There’s still plenty of things I want to accomplish.”

The dream ending would be to race at the 2010 Winter Games on the same Olympic team as her younger brother, Hunter, who is an up-and-comer on the U.S. men’s team.

Schleper isn’t getting ahead of herself, however. She plans to enjoy every day of the journey ” and she’s glad to have company along the way.

“I don’t have any expectations, I’m just trying to have fun and ski my fastest,” she said. “This has all been very energizing. We’re excited to be on the road, and I feel like I have double the energy now. … I’m just taking it one step at a time and don’t want to rush it.”

Support Local Journalism