Vail’s Schleper takes second win of the season |

Vail’s Schleper takes second win of the season

LIENZ, AUSTRIA - DECEMBER 28: (FRANCE OUT) Sarah Schleper of the USA takes 13th place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Giant Slalom on December 28, 2009 in Lienz, Austria. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
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LOVELAND – Vail native and World Cup racer Sarah Schleper topped the podium for the second time this season, winning the Nor-Am opening slalom Tuesday in Loveland.

Schleper had the best time in both runs, rolling to her second win in the young season. She won a FIS race earlier in November in Copper Mountain.

Tuesday’s win comes just in time to boost her confidence as she heads to Europe for bulk of the World Cup season.

“I was struggling with my slalom and this win started getting things going again,” Schleper said. “It’s odd because the slalom is usually my strongest event.”

She had a tough weekend at the women’s World Cup stop in Aspen last weekend.

“I didn’t qualify for a second run in Aspen, and that was disappointing,” Schleper said. “I decided to do the Nor-Ams to see if we couldn’t get things straightened out.”

So, did you?

“I did. It was a little too late for Aspen, but it’s a long season and we’re just getting started,” Schleper said. “I grabbed some confidence from somewhere, and it worked.”

“That’s two wins this season, and you have to like that,” Schleper said.

The American women leave Friday for Europe where they’ll compete until March. The first stop is St. Moritz on Dec. 12.

“I hope I can get this going in the bigger races, and hopefully win a World Cup,” Schleper said.

Schleper topped an international field for the win.

Three other Vail locals also competed.

Erika Ghent was 21st, Abby Ghent was 27th and Mary Sackbauer finished 32nd.

The NorAm Cup opener was delayed a day when Loveland was pounded with 58 inches of snow in 72 hours.

“The NorAm races are a right of passage for young racers and enable us to track the progress of those coming up the pipeline,” said U.S. Ski Team Alpine Director Jesse Hunt. “This tour is important in both getting athletes experience and gaining World Cup starts. Last year we had good success and won nine out of 12 NorAm titles.”

Athletes winning discipline titles, as well as the runner-up, receive World Cup starts for the following season.

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