Georgetown, Colo. Nov. 18, 2001 (USSA)--Sweden's Susanne Ekman took charge on the
second slalom run Sunday to win the final race of the Nature Valley
Alpine Cup, a slalom that served as a tuneup for World Cup racing in
three days at Copper Mountain . Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) had the top
U.S. finish, coming in 14th at snowy Loveland Ski Area.
Ekman, fourth in the first run, had a total time of 1:43.83 in the
intermittent snow showers, to collect $1,500 as she edged Slovakian
teenager Veronika Zuzulova, who was second for the second time in 24
hours. Zuzulova's two-run time was 1:44.21 with Austrian Christine
Sponring in third place with a time of 1:44.40.
Schleper, who won both Nor Am Cup slaloms at Loveland a year ago,
finished in 1:47.08. Tasha Nelson (Mound, MN), a 1998 Olympian, was 17th
and Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 25th in the field of 82.
"I'm just a little bummed out because my timing was not good. I knew I
needed more slalom training. I didn't feel ready coming in. But I think,
hopefully, it'll help me," Schleper said. "Now I know what I can do in a
race and, hopefully, I can really charge in Copper. I finished four
runs, so that gives me confidence to charge on the World Cup."
The women regroup this week with the start of continuous racing,
starting with a giant slalom Wednesday and a slalom Thursday at nearby