U.S. Skiers Vie for Olympic Spots at Alpine Cup

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Georgetown, Colo. Nov. 13, 2001 (USSA)--The 2002 U.S. Olympic alpine skiracing season kicks off Nov. 15-19 with the Nature Valley Alpine Cup atLoveland Ski Area as more than 200 of the world's best skiers go throughtheir final World Cup tuneups and chase $22,000 in prize money.

Men's slalom racing takes place Thursday and Friday, while women'sslalom is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. First run is 10 a.m.followed by the second at 1 p.m.

Saturday's race is also a U.S. Ski Team Gold Cup event for the womenwhere the top U.S. finisher will claim a spot on the U.S. Olympic Teamfor the 2002 Winter Games along with $10,000 in cash.

For race fans, the four-day event will feature numerous prize giveaways and product expos from more than 25 ski and snowboard equipment,clothing and accessories manufactures at the Loveland Valley base area.

Members of the U.S. Ski Team, including Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO)Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO), Eric Schlopy (Park City, UT)and Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), who is fresh off a fifth-place finishat the Café de Colombia World Cup giant slalom opener at Soelden,Austria, will lead the U.S. charge against a top European contingent ofWorld Cup athletes.

This is the second year in a row that Loveland Ski Area, just 56 milesfrom Denver on Interstate 70 and located high atop the ContinentalDivide, has hosted the season-opening U.S. Ski Team event.

"The staff at Loveland Ski Area is honored to have been chosen to hostthe Nature Valley Alpine Cup and Super Series opener. We are committedto providing the best venue possible for the international athletesexpected to participate in the kick-off of this world-class series,"explains Kevin Wright, Marketing Director for Loveland Ski Area. Indeed,the Loveland Valley base area will be transformed into a mini alpinevillage for the event.

Last year, Schleper and Schlopy swept the competition in all fourslaloms against a tough international field that included women's WorldCup overall and slalom champion Janica Kostelic of Croatia and men'sWorld Cup slalom champion Benjamin Raich of Austria.

The Nature Valley Alpine Cup is the first event of a three-event U.S.Ski Team Colorado Swing where the top ski racers in the world will begintheir Olympic quest. Following the Nature Valley Alpine Cup, racers willhead to Aspen for men's and women's Café de Colombia World Cup slalomand giant slalom at the Chevy Trucks Aspen Winternational Nov. 22-26.The Café de Colombia World Cup then heads to Beaver Creek for men'sdownhill and super-G at the Chevy Trucks Birds of Prey Dec. 1-2.

The Nature Valley Alpine Cup at Loveland will be aired Dec. 8th on CBSat 5 p.m. EST and is the first event in the 2002 Chevy Truck SuperSeries, which is the U.S. portion of the FIS Nor Am Cup.

For more information about the U.S. Ski Team, check out their website at www.usskiteam.com