A slalom rerun on Saturday?
November 29, 2002
Saturday’s slalom race on Aspen Mountain could be a rerun of the November 2000 event.
Janica Kostelic, the “Croatian Sensation,” handily won the last women’s slalom race here, and since then, she’s gone on to much greater glory, including a gold medal in slalom in the 2002 Olympics.
She’s also fresh off the top step on the podium in Park City, Utah, where she beat the rest of the slalom field.
Not that she’s satisfied.
“I think my results are good, but I don’t think my skiing is,” Kostelic said after winning in Park City. “I’m fast, but I’d just like to get better.”
The talented Kostelic may also decide to just go out and win the slalom because her brother, Ivica, made World Cup history here last year.
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He came out of the 64th starting position to win the slalom, which then sparked him to take the overall World Cup slalom championship last year.
Kostelic was dismissive of the Aspen slalom course the last time here, calling it easy and flat. But then again, she’s able to make most courses seem easy and flat.
Germany’s Martina Ertl, who finished second behind Kostelic here in 2000, will be a threat Saturday. She won a silver medal in slalom in the 2002 Olympics and has finished 11th in her first two races this year.
And American Kristina Koznick, who placed third here in 2000, could also easily make the podium. She finished second in the World Cup slalom standings last year and has won five World Cup slalom races.
Koznick, who calls Burnsville, Minn., home, trains separately from the U.S. Ski Team and conducts her own independent program, which seems to be working for her.
Vail’s Sara Schleper, who likes to go surfing in the off-season, is another potential slalom winner. She snagged sixth place in the Park City slalom race and had eight top-10 finishes last year.
She was frustrated at the end of last season, however, and this year has said she will “be taking more risks this season and not worrying about mistakes. I want to just keep letting it flow.”
Schleper was said to be skiing really well this week while in Aspen, and her coaches have high expectations for her.
Other American skiers expected to run in the slalom include Lindsey Kildow, Caroline Lalive, Julia Mancusco and Bryna McCarty.
The first slalom run is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. The second run is set for 1 p.m.
Also, on Sunday and Monday, NorAm races are scheduled to be run on Aspen Mountain. NorAm is a step below the World Cup, and the racers will be running a similar super G course as the World Cup racers.