Jackson Hole, WY Mar. 30--Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) torethrough the second run Wednesday to win the men's SL title whileCaroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) tore through both runs tocapture the SL crown on the last day of the Chevy Truck U.S. AlpineChampionships.
Schlopy, who returned to the U.S. Ski Team and World Cup racing thiswinter, was seven-tenths of a second behind Bode Miller (Franconia, NH)on the first run. He took a nap in his car between runs and then rippedthe Snow King Resort course to win with a two-run time of 1:30.76.Miller finished second in 1:31.11 with Sacha Gros, who won the last twoSL titles, in third place at 1:32.41.
"I didn't want to be second in two straight races," Schlopy said. He hadbeen runnerup to Puckett Monday in the giant slalom at Jackson HoleMountain Resort. "This is a nice way to end the season."
It's the third national championship for Schlopy, 27, a 1994 Olympianwho won the 1992 GS and super G titles.
A short time later, Lalive, who led former champion Kristina Koznick(Burnsville, MN) by a half-second in the first run, withstood a sizzlingsecond run to win with a two-run time of 1:31.86. Koznick, a four-timeU.S. SL champion, who ended the World Cup season with back-to-back-winsin Italy, had a time of 1:32.28. Bronze medalist was Sarah Schleper(Vail, CO) in 1:34.86.
Between runs, Lalive "just tried to stay relaxed," she said. "I knewthat in some ways 'Koz' had an advantage just as far as the mental gamebecause she's been in a winning position before and i haven't beenhere," Lalive said. "I just concentrated on what I know and how I liketo relax myself and not get too worried about it."
Her poised approach, holding off the pressure of upsetting Koznick,rewarded Lalive with double gold. She not only won the SL, but shecaptured the women's combined title. Casey Puckett (Crested Butte, CO),the Gs champion and seventh Wednesday in the final race, took his secondCO championship.