Schleper wins Breck GS; Lynch fourth |

Schleper wins Breck GS; Lynch fourth

BRECKENRIDGE – If anything attests to a long season on the race hill, it’s Tucker Burton’s ski poles, which have little plastic triangles where the baskets used to be.

Tuesday’s FIS giant slalom at Breckenridge was the last official GS of the season for Burton and the rest of the field, which included U.S. Ski Team members Sarah Schleper of Vail and Lauren Ross of Stowe, Vt.

Schleper won with a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 7.6 seconds with Ross close behind, finishing in 2:08.10. Ross won Monday’s GS in Vail, and Schleper swept Saturday and Sunday’s super G races in Breck.

Although both racers have competed in Europe for the better part of the season, they assure other racers they are still throwing down their best runs for the spring series races.

“I hate to lose; I’m always really competitive,” Schleper said. “I come out here and still charge. It’s good for the younger girls to know I’m skiing as well as I can. It’s good too, that they’re kind of close in time, so it gives them a lot of hope to reach the (U.S.) Ski Team and compete with us in the future.”

Kind of close is an understatement for the likes of Chelsea Lynch from Quantum Sports Club, who took second to Schleper in last weekend’s super G races by just a fraction of a second both Saturday and Sunday.

Lynch also was the top local woman in giant slalom the past two days, taking seventh Monday in Vail and fourth (behind Emily Colin) Tuesday on Breck’s Cimarron course.

“I think it’s been so great to go up against Sarah all week and Lauren in the (technical events),” Lynch said. “It’s definitely the next step in challenging ourselves. I’ve been in situations this winter where I’ve started a lot farther back and I can’t always keep up. But it’s fun to keep up on a course like this.”

All racers commented on the quality of the Peak 10 course. Breck staff members have worked hard from Saturday to Tuesday preparing the course and cleared snow Sunday on a day that event organizers said other ski areas would probably have cancelled the event.

“The conditions have been unbelievable,” Ross said. “It’s a good hill and good snow – hero snow. It was a good time.”

Quantum’s Lauren Brien took fifth Tuesday, Burton (from Team Summit) took 10th, Helena Woodrow took 11th and Lyndee Janowiak was 12th.

Burton’s 32.82 racing points were a personal best for a GS race, as were those of her teammate Daniella Meier, who took 18th with 58.30 points. The women still have two more slalom races in Vail this week, but Burton said she was a little bummed about wrapping up her GS season.

“That was my last GS run of the year and I’m sad,” she said. “I’ve been racing for four days straight now. I mean, of course I would like to take a break and go to Hawaii or something, but that’s obviously not going to happen.”

The course was altered for the women’s second run Tuesday, and racers said the second run definitely offered more of a challenge.

“It’s a very good course, but I didn’t take the line I should have,” Janowiak said. “It was a little turnier than the first course – longer and turnier. I’m looking forward to slalom (today).”

In Vail Tuesday, U.S. Ski Team World Cup racer Jakub Fiala, who is a Frisco resident and a Quantum Sports Club alumnus, won the men’s GS in a time of 2:06.71. Fiala also won Sunday’s super G at Breck and took second in Monday’s GS. U.S. Ski Team teammate Brett Fischer took second Tuesday, and Aspen’s Casey Puckett was third.

Quantum’s Jason McNeill, who took second behind Fiala in Sunday’s super G, finished fourth Tuesday while teammates Pete Petry (fifth Sunday) took seventh and Eric Scott eighth.

Several hundred miles away in Whistler, Canada, Team Summit skiers represented the United States against a worldwide field in the Whistler Cup, where Eric Davis had a 10th-place finish, Taggart Spenst had a 12th place and Ian McKnight had a 25th. For girls, Alice McKennis finished 30th and Katie Hartman 44th.

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