Soelden, Austria Oct. 25, 2001--Ten Americans, including seven men and three women, will be racing this weekend on the Rettenbacher Glacier aboveSoelden as the Cafe de Colombia World Cup season opens and athletes begin chasing Olympic Team spots for Utah in February.
Nearly a foot of new snow this week spruced-up course conditions.
The schedule calls for women's giant slalom Saturday and men's GS Sunday before the skiers take a short hiatus. The season begins the continual racingportion of its schedule Nov. 15-18 at the Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational in Aspen, Colo., with giant slalom and slalom for both men and women.
Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO), who had the first two podiums of her career -- one in GS, one in slalom -- last season, will be joined Saturday by Caroline Lalive(Steamboat Springs, CO) and Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN). Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT), Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA),Thomas Vonn (Newburgh, NY), Dane Spencer (Boise, ID), Chip Knight (Stowe, VT) and Casey Puckett (Aspen, CO) are set to race Sunday.
"I'm feeling great. I'm looking forward to racing again," said Miller, who is coming back from a left knee injury suffered at the World Championships inFebruary. He rehabbed it without surgery and "has been on fire, really looking good," said men's Coach Jesse Hunt.
Schlopy had a pair of second-place finishes last season en route to be the U.S. men's giant slalom results since Phil Mahre won the World Cup overall andGS titles in 1983. Spencer is returning after continued back problems have limited his racing over the last two seasons while Knight and Puckett earnedtheir start spot based on their performance during recent time trials in Europe.
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