Vail's Schleper wins national combined title in snowy Winter Park

By Real Vail
Real AspenApril 4, 2011
WINTER PARK – Four-time Olympian Sarah Schleper, of Vail, claimed the national title in the combined event Sunday at the 2011 Putnam Investments U.S. Alpine Championships in snowy Winter Park.

Sixteen-year-old junior racer Mikaela Shiffrin (Burke Mountain, Vt.) took a first run lead to victory in the women's slalom to close the championships. Schleper, 32, was second and earned the combined title with the fastest paired super G and slalom times.

“It was pretty tough, bumpy, choppy the whole way down. I pole planted between my legs half way down, threw them sideways a couple times,” said Schleper. “It was a fight. I'm stoked for Mikaela. She has a good solid, head on her shoulders. It's impressive to see her come down and take the win.”

Schleper, a Ski and Snowboard Club Vail product and the veteran racer on the women's squad, was happy for Shiffrin. On Saturday evening, Shiffrin was awarded the Ski Racing Magazine Junior of the Year award at the annual athlete banquet.

“I'm stoked we have this uber talent on our team,” Schleper said of Shiffrin. “I think it's going to be inspiring for all of us. There's really nothing better that could have happened for our team. I like it when people are competitive and have that power to push you as well as bring up the level of the team.”

Overall, Schleper was happy with her nationals performance.

“My goal was to take a title from these championships and I would have liked to do that in slalom or giant slalom, but the combined still feels pretty good,” Schleper said.
Resi Stiegler, of Jackson Hole, Wyo., was third, matching her younger brother Seppi's result in the men's slalom.

Shiffrin said her win over the two vets, Schleper and Stiegler, was a dream come true.

“It does feel good,” Shiffrin said. “Sarah and Resi have been so supportive of me. Going over to Europe they were so nice. Beating them today was a crazy feeling for me, but the better part of it was that they were still supportive of it. Just props to them – thank you.”

Putnam Investments U.S. Alpine Championships
Winter Park, CO – April 3, 2011

1. Mikaela Shiffrin, Burke Mountain, VT, 1:42.14
2. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 1:42.14
3. Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY, 1:43.95
1. Mikaela Shiffrin, Burke Mountain, VT, 1:42.14
2. Devin Delaney, North Conway, NH, 1:48.25
3. Lizzie Kistler, Santa Rosa, CA, 1:48.37

1. Sarah Schelper, Vail, CO
2. Laurenne Ross, Klamath Falls, OR
3. Kiley Staples, Park City, UT
1. Sydney Staples, Park City, UT
2. Emma Naatz, Salt Lake City, UT
3. Lila Lapanja, Incline Village, NV

Tom Garner Memorial Trophy
1. Western Region – 2969
2. Eastern Region – 1674
3. Rocky/Central Region - 1416

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