Hunter, NY, Jan. 5--Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) turned-in a sizzling second run despite steady rain Tuesday to overtake U.S. Ski Team mate Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) by .05 and win a Super Series slalom at Hunter Mountain, their final race before rejoining the World Cup tour in Europe. Coincidentally, Miller and Schlopy are partners in a house rental in Austria for the next three years.
"It was pretty rough. The ruts was everywhere, but I was attacking," Miller said after winning in 1:35.08. Schlopy was second in 1:35.13 with Drew Thorne-Thomsen (Stratton Mountain, VT) third, another half-second out. "I went to longer skis for my second run. I skied the first run on shorter skis," Miller said, "but I didn't feel I could move as well on the course with the rain and soft snow. I don't have another gear on the short ones, but I can go a lot faster on the longer skis...
"I had hoped we'd get to ski a little ice before going back to Europe, but that wasn't to be. It was still a good race, a tight one."
Schlopy, who won the first slalom Monday by .02 over Thomas Rothrock (Cashmere, WA), led the first run with Miller in fourth place, about 1.2 seconds back. "It was tight. I knew Bode would give it a good charge on the second run ... I had a couple of bobbles, made some mistakes - I crossed my tips at one point and I'm not very proud of my second run, but I'm still kinda pleased with the way I hung in there."
Schlopy, returning to the Ski Team this winter after four years away, said he figured Miller would come be charging on the second run. "I knew he had a good chance. When Bode puts down a good run, he's as fast as anybody in the world - he's proven it on the World Cup. He has that ability to ski fast."
The teammates have rented a house outside Innsbruck to help reduce travel to races in Europe each winter, Schlopy said. He earned $3,000 for the two days of racing - $2,000 for first place Monday and another $1,000 for being second Tuesday. Miller, who didn't race Monday, earned $2,000 for his victory.
The Super Series continues Wednesday with the start of two days of giant slaloms at Hunter. Sarah Bergstrom, Super Series commissioner, gave high praise to the race organization and course workers for fighting through two days of rain to stage the first half of the four-day visit.