Thursday, November 15, 2001
Steamboat Springs Caroline Lalive will be taking it one day, and one race at a time this weekend when she competes along with the World's best women skiers in a pair of NorAm slalom races at the Loveland Ski Area.
"The snow conditions are great," Lalive said from the resort on Thursday afternoon. "I'm not putting too much pressure on myself this year. If I get amped out too early I will not have anything left for the Olympics."
So when the top international women take to the man-made snow this Saturday and Sunday at the Loveland Valley Ski Resort, Lalive will be focusing on doing her best in that one race.
Saturday's event, however, will take on added importance since it is also a U.S. Ski Team Gold Cup event. The winner will pocket a check for $10,000 and an automatic berth to the Salt Lake Olympics.
"Sure, it's an important race," Lalive said. "It would be a nice one to win then I could get the whole Olympic thing off my shoulders, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I really just want to ski well and, hopefully, come out on top."
The local racer expects the level of international competition at the event to be high as several top European teams come to Colorado for a run of international races at Loveland, Copper Mountain and Aspen.
In addition to Lalive, who finished seventh in the combined at the 1998 Olympics, Americans Kristina Koznick and Sarah Schleper are expected to be on hand for the races. Sweden's Sonia Nef, the reigning giant slalom World Champion, and Australia's Zali Stegall, the 1999 slalom World Champion, will also be looking to gain an edge in the first of several elite level races in the state.
Organizers of the event will turn the Loveland Valley base area into a mini alpine village for the event complete with vendors and other events designed to draw spectators to the area.
Lalive said she is looking forward to racing at the event and is hoping that a few Steamboat fans will make it to Loveland to give her a boost.
"I know my family will be here, which will be great," Lalive said. "It's always nice to race back here in the states."
The women's races are part of the Nature Valley Cup, which opened on Thursday with the men's slalom. The men will race again on Friday.
Lalive said the women's team would have a busy schedule this winter, which will take the squad to Europe from December to the beginning of February.