Park City, UT, Jan. 21, 2001–Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), who Saturday became only the third American to reach the podium in thefabled Hahnenkamm downhill, and five other skiers who have reached a World Cup podium this season head a 13-member U.S. SkiTeam named Sunday to compete in the World Alpine Ski Championships beginning Mon., Jan. 29 in St. Anton, Austria. While the team isone of the smallest in recent years, it is one of the deepest in results.
U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Vice President-Athletics Alan Ashley said the group includes seven men and six women. Selectionswere based solely on international results. Picabo Street (Park City, UT), 1998 Olympic super G champion who has is coming back aftertwo years of surgery and rehabilitation for post-Olympic leg injuries, was not named to the team, which will compete in the championshipsJan. 29-Feb. 10 in St. Anton.
“Everything was pretty straight-forward,” Ashley said. “We’re going with a smaller team due to the fact that so many athletes are skiingmultiple events, which should enable us to keep a tight focus our efforts in terms of concentration as well as service and coaching. This isan outstanding team with great experience – everyone has Olympic and-or Worlds experience!”
The team: Men – Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT), Chad Fleischer (Vail, CO), Bode Miller (Franconia, NH),Casey Puckett (Aspen, CO), Jake Fiala (Breckenridge, CO) and Sacha Gros (Vail, CO); Women – Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO),Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO), Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN), Megan Gerety (Anchorage, AK), Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA) and KirstenClark (Raymond, ME).
Rahlves was third Saturday in the fabled Hahnenkamm in Kitzbuehel, Austria, following top-3s from Lalive, Miller, Schlopy and two podiumperformances by Schleper and Koznick. Of the 13 team members, 12 have scored World Cup points.
Ashley said Street was fully in agreement that her comeback had not reached a point where she would be competitive at the Worlds, soshe already had headed to Europa Cup races for additional racing experience. “Picabo’s been away for two years and she had anotherknee surgery in November, so she’s disappointed, but she also understands she’s not looking just to attend another championships,”Ashley said. “She’s got a long-range vision, and that’s to be successful again next year at the 2002 Olympics, and she’s still on that track.As she’s said, she knows she needs more time on her skis.”
The Team still has a week of World Cups ahead before arriving in St. Anton for opening ceremonies next Sunday. The men have a nightslalom Tuesday in Schladming, Austria, followed by a downhill and super G next weekend in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Thewomen have a giant slalom and slalom Friday and Saturday in Ofterschwang, Germany. The World Championships begin Jan. 29 with thewomen’s super G, followed by the men’s super G the next day.