Vail’s Schleper fourth in GS | SummitDaily.com
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Vail’s Schleper fourth in GS

AP PhotoVail's Sarah Schleper speeds down the course during the first run of a World Cup women's giant slalom in Semmering, Austria, on Tuesday. Schleper finished in fourth place to lead the U.S. women.
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SEMMERING, Austria – Vail tech specialist Sarah Schleper narrowly missed a spot on the podium at a women’s World Cup giant slalom Tuesday, taking fourth place on a day for the Austrian fans.Marlies Schild won the race before her home fans, six days after she crashed into a pole during a race in Switzerland and bit off part of her tongue.Tanja Poutiainen of Finland was second and regained the lead in the overall standings. No other Americans made the top-30 cutoff to qualify for the second run.

Schild was hurt during the first run of a giant slalom in St. Moritz. She smacked into a pole and was hit in the throat, causing her to bite her tongue and leaving her with a bruised face.The winning time was 2:15.97 with Poutiainen, the women’s World Cup points leader, second in 2:16.08. Schleper, sixth in the morning run, finished in 2:17.68. It was her best result of the young season, her top performance since Schleper was fifth last February in another GS in Zwiesel, Germany.”It was definitely thick fog,” said Coach Trevor Wagner. “You could barely see the gate above and the gate below where you stood on the course … and it was definitely clearer for some people.

“Sarah did great. She skied as fast as she could for the conditions. It was pretty tough but she let it go,” Wagner added. Schleper had stayed in Austria during the Christmas holiday, and the U.S. women free-skied Monday, Wagner said.Although the temperature in the mid-30s, Wagner said the conditions didn’t break down as much as they would for natural snow because of the machinemade base. “The first run was pretty tough – very wet – and you had to take chances to get into the top 30, but there were some, including this German girl (Anja Bleininger) who started 62nd and broke into the top 20, so it could be done.”



The women run slalom Wednesday and then have a break until another GS and slalom Feb. 8-9 in Berchtesgaden, Germany.The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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