U.S. Sends 10 Skiers to World Cup Opener


SOELDEN, Austria Oct. 25, 2002 (USSA)--The U.S. Ski Team will start 10 racers—eight men and two women—in the upcoming giant slaloms which will open the 2003 alpine World Cup season on the Soelden glacier, coaches said Monday. U.S. men and women recently concluded training camps on the glacier.

The women race GS Saturday with Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) and Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) scheduled to race, U.S. women's Head Coach Marjan Cernigoj said. Two other expected starters—Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN)—are sidelined with injuries, he added.

Sunday, the men will also start their season with a giant slalom race. Head Coach Phil McNichol said the U.S. group will include Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), who won a GS last winter in addition to three slalom races; Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT), who is rebounding from sickness, which hobbled him a year ago after he was third in the 2001 GS standings; Thoms Vonn (Newburgh, NY), the reigning U.S. giant slalom champion; Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA); Dane Spencer (Boise, ID); Chip Knight (Stowe, VT); Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, WA); and, making his World Cup debut, Jake Zamansky (Carbondale, CO), the Ski Racing Junior Alpine Racer of the Year for the 2001 season.

"Jake's earned his place," McNichol said in naming his starters. "He's done a good job, performing quite well in the camps in New Zealand and Europe. I've been working with him for several years and he's really got his head screwed on right, and he's a great athlete. The guys get on him, of course, as the new guy, but he takes it well."

After Soelden, there is a gap before the World Cup season resumes Nov. 21-24, with the annual Chevy Truck America's opening slalom and GS for men and women at Utah's Park City Mountain Resort. After that, the women run super G and slalom at the Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational Nov. 29-30, in Colorado and the men race downhill and super G Dec. 7-8, at the Chevy Truck Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek, Colo.

For more information about the U.S. Ski Team, log onto their website at www.usskiteam.com