Breckenridge, CO, (Nov. 15) - Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO), looking like the racer who led most training runs during the preseason,had back-to-back solid runs Monday to lead U.S. women, finishing fifth in the second slalom of the $100,000 Super Series alpineschedule. Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) was the top American man, tying for ninth.
Spela Pretnar of Slovenia collected the $2,000 top prize when she charged past first-run leader Christel Saioni of France - the winner inSunday's first Super Series SL - to win in an unofficial 1:29.39. Saioni was second in 1:29.43 and Schleper took fifth in 1:30.66 against the World Cup-level field at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
"I was pretty psyched but I should've had a better first run," Schleper said. "I needed a couple of races to get-out the nerves. It just keeps getting better each run. My best advice to myself was to relax and take it as a training run."
The continued warm sunshine softened the second run on Breck's Sundown trail. "It was pretty choppy," Schleper said, "but they did such a good job and it was faster than Sunday."
In the men's SL, Swiss racer Didier Plaschy - who was second Sunday behind Benjamin Raich of Austria - had the fastest first run andwent on to win by six-tenths of a second. His time was 1:25.34 with Mitja Kunc of Slovenia runnerup in 1:25.94. Macartney, the 1998World Junior Championships bronze medalist in downhill who is hoping to be a four-event racer, had the fifth fastest time on thesecond run and deadlocked another Slovenian, Mitja Valencic, for ninth with a time of 1:26.65.
"I skied real similar to Sunday when he was 24th," said Macartney, who credited some extra work watching videos Sunday night withhelping boost his performance. "Conditions also were similar to Sunday's 50-plus temperatures but held up a bit better. I had a goodstart number and that was a key factor. This is definitely good for my confidence, for sure, going into Beaver Creek."
The $100,000 Super Series takes a break until next Nov. 22-23 when it resumes with two women's giant slaloms, again at Breckenridge.