Newry, Maine Feb. 28, 2002 (USSA)--Erik Schlopy (Park City, Utah) won his second straight race while leading a U.S. podium sweep in the second of three giant slaloms at the Chevy Truck Super Series Finals.
The Outdoor Life Network will broadcast coverage of the Chevy Truck Super Series Finals on Thursday, March 14 at 8 p.m. (EST) and Thursday, March 21 at 8 p.m. (EST).
Using most of the same tactics he used to win Wednesday's race, Schlopy set himself up on the first run and attacked the second on a crisp and windy day to post a combined two-run time of 2:21.86. Fellow U.S. Olympians Chip Knight (Stowe, Vt.) was second at 2:22.40, while Dane Spencer (Boise, Idaho) was third with a time of 2:22.68.
"They were two very different courses today, but it was challenging for both because it was very cold at the start and very windy," said Knight.
For the second-straight day, Knight led the first run, only to have Schlopy uncork one in the second and walk away with the $1,500 first-place check.
"Erik has been skiing really fast all year," said Knight, who won $1,000. "He may not have been able to put it together on the World Cup, but he's just lighting quick. He had some of the fastest splits in the Olympics, so just being close to him is good for me. I'd like to beat him, but I can walk away knowing that I skied a good race today."
A Hardy effort!
Stratton Mountain School and U. S. Development Ski Team member Greg Hardy (West Wardsborough, Vt.) posted a career-best 17th place Super Series finish--first among the juniors (19 and under)--after posting the fifth-fastest time on his second run.
"I knew that after being 29th in the first run I had a good opportunity to pull it out," Hardy said after starting second in the reverse-30 second run format. "I wasn't expecting to have that fast of a second run, but it was a nice surprise and hopefully I can do it tomorrow again."
A number of U.S. Ski Team members, including seven 2002 U.S. Olympians, are competing at Sunday River. While their presence raises the level of competition, it also provides the younger athletes a learning opportunity and a chance to measure their ability against the best in the world.
"It's such an honor," Hardy said. "Just seeing all these guys that just came off the Olympics a week ago and be able to compete against them on a difficult hill like this is really thrilling."
"I hope that we set a good example for them," Knight said. "I remember when I was a kid and I used to get such a kick racing against guys that were on the World Cup. I would see those guys on TV and they're in another world. And then all of the sudden, they're on the same starting line. I could never catch them, but I used to really get encouragement just being in the same race--trying to match them and seeing just how far off I was. So I think we now really help to push the system along by being here, and it's good for racing in this country."
With two races remaining, Schlopy has 120 points toward the overall $10,000 Super Series title. Knight is second with 114, while Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, Wash.), who finished sixth today, third with 101. Race winners receive 30 points toward the overall title, while second receives 29 and third 28 down to one point for 30th.
Friday's giant slalom will also take place on Sunday River's Obsession Trail. First run will start at 9:30 a.m., second at 1 p.m.
The Chevy Truck Super Series is the U.S. portion of the FIS NorAm Cup, one of five International Ski Federation Continental Cup series worldwide (others: Europa Cup, South America Cup, Australia/New Zealand Cup and Far East Cup). The top two overall athletes in the NorAm standings in each of the four disciplines (slalom, giant slalom, super-G and downhill) earn World Cup starting positions for the following season.