Park City, UT, Nov. 19, 2000--Fourth after the first run, Austrian Heinz Schilchegger took a tough slalom course by storm in his second run to win Sunday at the Chevy Truck America's Opening World Cup at Park City Mountain Resort.
ESPN will broadcast coverage of the race Thursday at midnight EST.
Austrians took the top two podium spots as Schilchegger won with a two-run time of 1:46.88 and was followed by Mario Matt in 1:47.37. Norwegian Kjetil Andre Aamodt was third in 1:48.15.
American Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT), the lone U.S. skier to qualify for a second run, finished in a tie for 21st with a time of 1:49.75, the same as Alain Baxter from Great Britain. Schlopy started from the 44th position on the opening run.
In the first run, times were determined by the top section of the course. Course workers injected the run with water Saturday night to harden the snow.The first run course was icy and it didn't take long for deep ruts to start claiming racers on the steep top section. Twenty competitors did not finish their first run.
The second run, for the most part, was a complete 180. Racer's times were either made or broken by the bottom section of the course, which wasmuch flatter than the top and middle parts. Several times, it appeared racers were having an outstanding run and a majority would actually jump into thelead at the intermediate checkpoint. However, once across the finish line, their times reflected the fact that the bottom section was indeed addingsubstantial amounts of time to their run.
In fact, Schlopy, who was in 18th after the first run and started 13th in the second, was .15 in the lead at his intermediate point.
"The guys were losing a lot of time down there," said Jesse Hunt, U.S. Ski Team men's SL/GS coach. "I think it just deteriorated to a point where itwas difficult for those guys to hold a clean and as tight a line as the earlier racers."
"It (the course) was icy and it was rough," said Schlopy, who had a career-best fourth place finish Friday in the giant slalom. "First run, it was really softconditions. I had a couple of big mistakes, but I skied well on the bottom of the course."
Schlopy has recorded a career week as he won a pair of Chevy Truck Super Series slaloms last weekend at Loveland, CO. in addition to the fourthplace finish Friday at Park City.
The win was a first for 27 year-old Schilchegger, whose previous best World Cup finish was third, a feat he accomplished three times, most recently ina GS last season in Bormio, Italy. Schilchegger's best previous World Cup slalom finish was an eighth at Kitzbuehel, Austria in '98.
"I made good turns in the first part and pushed in the flat section," said Schilchegger. "I had a good first run and if I did good on the second run, I knew anything was possible."
Matt held the top position after the first run with a time of 52.97, over a second faster than second place finisher Christian Ole Furuseth of Norway. Infourth, Schilchegger was 1.48 seconds behind Matt following the first run. Furuseth had major problems in his second run and ended up in 19th.
Ironically, the first, second and third starters in the first run (Matt, Furuseth and Aamodt) finished in that order after the run.
Chip Knight (New Canaan, CT) was the only other American to finish his first run, but he finished in 32nd position, just two spots away from qualifyingfor a second run. Sacha Gros (Vail, CO), Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), Brad Hogan (Holmes, NY) and Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, WA) all skied off-course in their first runs. Rothrock's exit was the most disappointing as his outside ski popped off while rounding a gate.
The slalom race concluded the World Cup weekend, but action will continue at Park City Mountain Resort as the Chevy Truck Super Series visits thearea with men's giant slalom races Monday and Tuesday.