U.S. Ski Team athlete Sarah Schleper on fire

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 29, 2009 9:44 am

U.S. Ski Team athlete Sarah Schleper returned to the World Cup scene last season after resting a back injury and later, having a baby boy, and now the Vail skier is back more than ever. Today the hot mama sped to fifth place at the women’s World Cup slalom in Lienz, Austria. The top five finish was Schleper’s best World Cup placing since her slalom win in 2005.

“I’ve been skiing so well, I just wanted to put one together,” Schleper said. “In slalom you’re always recovering from mistakes. So when everything lines up, it’s great.”

After launching out of the start with her patented roaring scream, Schleper put down the third fastest time in the second run. “I’ve been skiing really well in slalom. This result is more than I could hope for. I’m so close to the podium,” Schleper added.

According to Women’s Tech Coach Trevor Wagner, Schleper’s success had been in the works and simply a matter of time. “Last year she had all the ingredients, but she just didn’t have the mileage with the technique,” Wagner said. “With last year underneath her belt everything is coming together now. We started building on what we had before, but with a more modern technique. Now she’s comfortable with it and it’s all coming together.”

Schleper is unique on the women’s World Cup tour. She regularly travels to the World Cups with her husband Federico Gaxiola de la Lama and their son Lasse. In fact, the couple recently put their little bundle on skis-with great success, before he was even two. (Lasse turns two in January.)

When Schleper returned to the slopes two summers ago in New Zealand, she not only had to regroup after time off, but she had to ski as a new mother, taking breaks to pump milk and nurse Lasse-not the norm for the women in training.

Schleper’s goal was to come back and make the Olympic Team, and she looks to be well on her way. In fact, her recent solid performances are inspiring her teammates, including U.S. Ski Team superstar, World Champion Lindsey Vonn. “It was so awesome to see Sarah race today,” Vonn said. “She’s been working so hard and is building confidence every week. It’s pretty inspiring to see what she’s doing right now.”


The women’s next World Cup slalom takes place Jan. 3 in Zagreb, Slovenia.

photo: USSA