Park City, UT, March 30, 2001--Local favorite Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) seemed to enjoy his first look at the '02 Olympic slalom hill as he won a Chevy Truck Super Series race Friday at Deer Valley Resort. Teammate Thomas Vonn (Newburgh, NY) finished 16th, but it was good enough for him to win the overallSuper Series crown.
Schlopy mastered the steep and challenging Know You Don't course, which willserve as the men's and women's slalom run during the 2002 Olympics. It was thefirst time this season the men have gotten a look at the hill.
Schlopy smoked the field and won with a two-run combined time of 1:36.33. TomRothrock (Cashmere, WA) finished second, 2.36 seconds behind Schlopy with a1:38.69. Chip Knight (Stowe, VT) was also on the podium, finishing third in 1:40.08.
In the first run, Schlopy was on fire as he posted the top time, a 48.75. Rothrock was second with a 50.09 and SachaGros (Vail, CO) was third with a time of 51.49. Gros faltered a bit in the second run and ended up finishing fifth with atime of 1:40.61.
"It's (the course) got everything," said Schlopy. "It's flat on top, nice rollover in the middle, it's gets steeper, rolls overagain and it's just real challenging. It's right up there with the best courses. The beauty of this course is that you can'tcompare it. It's not like anything else out there. It has it's own personality and that's what's exciting about it."
It's been a solid week for Schlopy as he won his second consecutive national slalom title Wednesday at the Chevy TruckU.S. Alpine Championships at Big Mountain, Montana. It was his fifth career national title overall.
"I've surpassed all the goals I set for myself this season," said Schlopy. "My goal was to be top-15 (on the World Cup) andI ended up top-3. That's something that hasn't been done in a long time. I'm really excited."
Vonn, primarily a speed racer, entered the Deer Valley event leading the Super Series standings. He won a super G and agiant slalom at Beaver Creek, Colo. in early December on the tough Birds of Prey course and was fifth and eighth in apair of downhills at Snowbasin, Utah, the speed venue for the '02 Olympics.
Canadian Jean-Phillipe Roy and Schlopy were the only two racers that could have caught Vonn for the title. Vonn enteredthe race with 140 points. Roy had 123 and Schlopy had 88. Vonn picked up 15 points with his finish and Roy failed tofinish his first run. Winners get 30 points, so even if Roy won Saturday's slalom, it wouldn't be enough to overtake Vonn.
"I was very nervous this morning," said Vonn, who picked up $10,000 for winning the season overall title. "When I saw JP(Roy) here on the start list, I knew I was in trouble. My slalom is not quite up to par where it should be, so I wasdefinitely sweating. Once I heard JP went out in the first run, I could totally have fun. All I had to do was make it downthe course."
In the last three seasons, Vonn claimed he has only raced in three or four slaloms, most of those in the last month.
"I was trying to get my slalom going because I knew it would come down to these races," said Vonn.
Of 33 racers to start the first run, just 20 posted an official time as seven did not finish and six more weredisqualified for missing gates.
A second and final slalom will be run Saturday on Know You Don't. The first run is scheduled for a 9:30 a.m. MST start,while the second run is slated for 11:30 a.m.
Chevy Truck Super Series Finals
Deer Valley, Utah
March 30, 2001
1. Erik Schlopy, Park City, Utah, 1:36.33
2. Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, Wash., 1:38.69
3. Chip Knight, Stowe, Vermont, 1:40.08
4. Martin Kroisleitner, Austria, 1:40.49
5. Sacha Gros, Vail, Colo., 1:40.61
6. Josh Nolting, Boulder, Colo., 1:42.02
7. Drew Thorne-Thomsen, Manchester, Vermont, 1:42.26
8. Evan Weiss, Kenmore, Wash., 1:42.57
9. Martin Tichy, Canada, 1:42.66
10. Todd Ligare, Park City, Utah, 1:42.77