Vail skier sets sights on Olympic medal |

Vail skier sets sights on Olympic medal

Sarah Schleper is proving that Lindsey Vonn isn’t the only Vail ski racer to watch this winter.

Buzz Schleper, Sarah Schleper’s father, is hosting a ski swap sale at his Vail store, Buzz’s Boards, this weekend in honor of his daughter and her first World Cup race of the season. He’s donating a big chunk of the weekend’s sales to help finance his daughter’s travels around the world for ski racing.

Sarah Schleper, a slalom and giant slalom ski racer, needs about $40,000 to get through all of her World Cup and Olympic races this winter, Buzz Schleper said. She hasn’t received a lot of funding so far, so the ski swap should help, he said.

Buzz Schleper was tired Saturday afternoon – he stayed up until 4 a.m. to find out Sarah Schleper’s times in her races in Solden, Austria.

“I couldn’t go to sleep,” he said.

Sarah Schleper qualified 30th in the first round – the top 30 make it to the final, in which she came in 24th. Sarah Schleper called her dad early Saturday to tell him about the races. He could tell she was ecstatic, because she rarely calls him right after a race, he said.

“Sarah was super happy, because last year, she struggled a little bit after being off for two years,” Buzz Schleper said. “She started to gain her form back at the end of last year.”

Sarah Schleper, 30, didn’t qualify for finals at Solden last year, so this was a positive way to start off the season, Buzz Schleper said.

Sarah Schleper is planning on heading to her fourth Olympic Games this winter. She finished 10th in slalom at the Torino, Italy, Olympic Games – and that was just months after she had undergone two back surgeries, Buzz Schleper said.

“She’s very competitive this year,” Buzz Schleper said. “She wants to bring home a medal – it’s within reach.”

Sarah Schleper’s younger brothers, Hunter and Johnny, were at Buzz’s Boards working the swap sale Saturday. They were proud of their sister, but counted on dad to fill them in on the results rather than stay up all night.

Hunter Schleper just made the U.S. Ski Team at 18 years old, and Johnny Schleper, also a skier and snowboarder, plays the guitar for the local band, the MTHDS. Buzz Schleper said he was getting ready for another late night Saturday – he was heading to Eagle to see the MTHDS play at the Brush Creek Saloon.

“I’m proud of all my kids’ accomplishments,” Buzz Schleper said. “You’re proud no matter what they do.”

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Posted on: October 24, 2009