weird,” she said. “The training, all the ups and downs; it’s all been a really cool journey for me. I feel fortunate to have been a ski rac- er and be in the mountains for 30 years of my life, watching amaz- ing sunrises at training. It’s really been a great journey.” Schleper’s bittersweet final day of World Cup racing turned more sweet than bitter as she watched teammate Mikaela Shiffrin earn her first World Cup podium at just 16 years old. “It was perfect iming; Mikaela just killed it, and I was so happy that I could be there to be a part of it, that I didn’t retire one race to soon and I got o be there for her first World Cup odium,” said Schleper. “I’m leav- ing the team in really great hands and I see a lot of potential.” In 12 full seasons on the World Cup tour (she took two years off or the birth of her son) the Vail native earned 108 scoring results, including four podiums and one victory. She also brought home six U.S. Championship titles, the 1997 Junior Worlds slalom silver medal and five Junior Olympics gold medals. “The sport is pretty much everything I am as a person,” said Schleper. “I spent 16 years getting prepared to race World Cup and 16 years racing World Cup and now I’m at the next stage. Pretty much, the sport has been me for as long as I can remember so everything I am came from the sport. It taught me a lot; how to get through tough times, how to be present and not worry about results or have expectations.”
Next up for the racer who roars like a lion could be a second cub. Schleper and husband Federi-
co Gaxiola plan to have another child and put down some more permanent roots in Vail, where
Schleper’s father, Buzz, runs a ski shop.
Schleper says World Cup racing has been great preparation for motherhood. “Those highs and
lows I’m definitely going to miss,” she said, “but at the same time, I’m going to take a lot of that
into my family or maybe my next career as a businesswoman or whatever I decide to do.”
Teammate, travel companion and friend Resi Stiegler will miss her longtime women’s tech team
confidant. “Sarah is my best friend and my soul sister,” said Stiegler. “She is truly one of a kind.
A brilliantly beautiful woman who has accomplished so much in her life. I am so happy to have
been around to have her support, her inspiration and her energy.”
Schleper plans to click into her race skis one more time at U.S. Nationals in Winter Park at the
end of March. She also plans to stay involved with her mentor Erich Sailer’s summer race camps
at Mt. Hood. “I definitely want to stay involved with the sport. I love skiing, I love ski racing,” said
Schleper. “I want to help people with my knowledge of the sport not to waste it.”
Celebrating her World
Cup win with her
teammates in 2005.
Schleper’s last three seasons on the World Cup tour were a family affair as she traveled
with husband, Federico, and son, Lasse.