Newry, Maine March 2, 2002 (USSA)–Erik Schlopy (Park City, Utah) rebounded from a dismal first run to capture the $10,000 overall Chevy Truck Super Series title as Australia’s Jonathon Brauer won the final slalom at Sunday River.
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).
Schlopy, racing under sunny skies and mild temperatures, started No. 1 in first run. He needed to beat U.S. Ski Team teammate and fellow 2002 Olympian Chip Knight (Stowe, Vt.) by seven places to capture the overall title. However, Schlopy skied too cautiously and finished 21st in the first run, more than three seconds off first-run leader Brauer and Knight, who was third.
“I was just a little too conservative,” Schlopy said of his first run. “I just figured I’d just back off a bit and make some good clean turns and roll into the second run with no stress. But sure enough I came down and was three seconds out–I couldn’t believe that.”
With 30 points awarded to the race winner, 29 for second, 28 for third on down to one point for 30th, Schlopy needed to make up not only a chunk of time in the second run, but more than 13 places.
“I had the butterflies up there,” Schlopy admitted prior to his second run. “I was probably more nervous before that second run than I was at the Olympics. I knew that I had to make up a serious amount of time. But I put it down and had a good run.”
Brauer posted a two-run time of 1:46.41 as Stanley Hayer (Czech Republic) was second at 1:46.73 and Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, Wash.) was third at 1:46.84. Knight finished fifth; while Schlopy posted the fasted second run time to finish seventh.
After just missing an opportunity, both athletically and legally, to compete at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games last month, Saturday’s Super Series slalom victory reassured Brauer that his is still the top-ranked slalom skier in Australia.
“This has been a great result,” Brauer said after winning his first international race. “But the Olympics happen only once every four years, it could have been the best time of my life. Who knows what is going to happen in the next four years.”
Brauer blew his knee out two days prior to the 2001 World Championships in St. Anton, Austria, which served as an Olympic-qualifying event for the Australian team. Despite his No. 1 slalom ranking and No. 2 giant slalom ranking in Australia, he was left off the 2002 Olympic team, even after going through arbitration and the Australian legal system.
“We tried (legally) to give it a go, but the Australian Olympic Committee just said no,” Brauer said.
“But this is the first time I’ve ever won money skiing,” Brauer said after taking the $1,500 winners check. “It’s the biggest win of my life.”
Schlopy’s seventh-place finish also secured him the overall Super Series slalom title to go along with the giant slalom and overall titles.
Park City Ski Team member Todd Ligare (Park City, Utah) was the top junior, finishing 11th at 1:51.02
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.