Newry, Maine Feb. 27, 2002--Erik Schlopy (Park City, Utah) conquered rain, soft snow and a field of 78 racers, included 13 U.S. and international Olympians, to win the first of four races at the Chevy Truck Super Series Finals 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).
Wednesday's giant slalom victory was the third-straight Super Series win for the 2002 U.S. Olympian, who also won the first two slalom events of the season at the Nature Valley Alpine Cup at Loveland Ski Area in November. Schlopy was fourth, .48 behind first run leader and fellow 2002 U.S. Olympian Chip Knight (New Cannon, Conn.). Schlopy posted a winning two-run time of 2:29.29 after skiing the fasted second run by .90.
"As far as actual skiing weather, it wasn't that enjoyable," Schlopy said. "It's tough skiing in the rain and the snow really didn't cooperate. The course workers and the coaches really did a great job with what we had, but unfortunately we didn't have much. So it was a bit nerve-racking skiing down with minimal visibility and pretty tough snow conditions. It was a battle--definitely not a pretty ski day."
Canada's Julian Cousineau skied to a career-best result in second at 2:30.33, with Knight in third at 2:30.46.
"On a day like today, you look outside and say Ugh, it's not great," Knight said. "But it's just fun to try and make a few good turns. And on a day like today where you only make maybe one or two good turns a run, it's just fun to try and master the conditions, try to have a clean run down and keep your skis on the snow."
U.S. Olympians Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, Wash.) and Dane Spencer (Boise, Idaho) rounded out the top five as steady rains, cooling temperatures and fog greeted racers for the second run. However, the rained had changed to snow by late afternoon with up to six inched forecasted overnight and into the 9:30 a.m. start for Thursday s giant slalom on Sunday River's Obsession Trail.
Olympic letdown? Only the result!Despite skiing off course last week in the giant slalom at Park City Mountain Resort in front of a hometown crowd at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Schlopy put his disappointment behind him and reflected on the positive aspect of skiing and competing at the Games.
"Of course there was the initial disappointment with the performance I had at the Olympics," he said. "But the Olympics are about so much more than just the performance and it's just a wonderful experience regardless of the result. And as far as skiing goes, it's something I do everyday. When I have a bad result, I go out and ski the next day. I have a good result; I go out and ski the next day. The Olympics happened to be a huge race and a bad result but life goes on and ski racing will go on for me for many more years and I look forward to the next Olympics."
Now Schlopy is focused on winning the $10,000 Chevy Truck Super Series title, getting married in June and furnishing a new apartment in New York City.
"Whatever prize money I win I'm putting toward our furniture fund," Schlopy said after winning $1,500 for his giant slalom victory. "Right now we don't have any furniture--and it's not cheap, so whatever I win we'll be sitting on it."
"I could use a place to live," Knight said of winning the $10,000 overall prize. "I'm not up to furniture just yet."
With three races remaining, Schlopy has 90 points, while Knight is second with 85, Rothrock third with 76. Race winners receive 30 points toward the overall title, while second receives 29 and third 28 down to one point for 30th.
"He's tough to beat," Knight said of Schlopy. "The way the system works out, if you ski consistently, put solid and fast runs together day after day, then you sort of got to hope the other guy messes up."
The Chevy Truck Super Series is the U.S. portion of the FIS NorAm Cup, one of five International Ski FFederation 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.