World Cup season starts Saturday at Soelden


SOELDEN, Austria (USST release) - The U.S. Ski Team will start 10 racers - eight menand two women - in the upcoming giant slaloms which will open the 2003 alpineWorld Cup season on the glacier above this mountain village, coaches saidMonday. 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) andKristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN) - are sidelined with injuries, he added.

Sunday, the men also will start their season with a giant slalom. Head CoachPhil McNichol said the U.S. group will include Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), whowon 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 wasthird 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 Cupdebut, Jake Zamansky (Carbondale, CO), the Ski Racing Junior Alpine Racer of theYear for the 2001 season.

"Jake's earned his place," McNichol said in naming his starters. "He's done agood job, performing quite well in the camps in New Zealand and Europe. I'vebeen working with him for several years and he's really got his head screwed onright, 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. 21-24with the annual Chevy Truck America's Opening slalom and GS for men and women atUtah's Park City Mountain Resort. After that, the women run super G and SL atthe Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational Nov. 29-30 in Colorado and the men raceDH/SG Dec. 7-8 at the Chevy Truck Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek, CO.