Vail’s Schleper looking to shine this year
VAIL, Colorado — This could be Vail-native Sarah Schleper’s last year of competitive skiing. She’s hoping it’s her best.
The Vail native is aiming to compete in her fourth Olympic Games this winter in Vancouver, and she could use some help from her hometown along the way.
“I am proud of our town and our community,” Schleper said in an e-mail from Chile sent Tuesday. “I want to represent Vail — my hometown — and make our people proud in Vancouver. Skiing is my passion. Help me inspire people to ski. Let’s go gangbusters!”
As an unfunded skier, Schleper must come up with about $25,000 to compete on the team this winter, said her father, Buzz Schleper.
In the e-mail to supporters, Sarah Schleper began brainstorming about fundraising, throwing out ideas for various events, such as a concert or a silent auction.
Schleper, 30, is currently in Chile, where she is training with the rest of the women’s Alpine Ski Team. For the upcoming season, she was named to the women’s alpine “B” team.
She is coming off a successful finale to last season in the National Championships in Alyeska, Alaska, were she placed second in the slalom and nearly won the giant slalom before hooking a gate at the end of her second run.
“She’s in the best shape she’s ever been in,” Buzz Schleper said. “She knows she finished strong at the end of last year, and she’s ready to go.”
Last year was a comeback season for Schleper, who took off 2008 to give birth to her son, Lasse. She missed the previous year while rehabbing a knee injury.
Buzz Schleper said his daughter might call it quits after this season.
“This is probably her swan song year,” he said.
The slalom specialist made her World Cup debut in Vail in 1995. She competed in the Olympics in 1998, 2002 and 2006. She won a World Cup slalom race at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in 2005.
Schleper’s father, Buzz, is owner of Buzz’s Ski Shop in Vail Village. Her younger brother, Hunter, is also a competitive alpine skier and has been named to the U.S. Ski Team Development Team.
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