Hunter Schleper, Delainey Ackerman earn Rocky/Central Topolino spotsAfter victories at the Rocky/Central Topolino Time Trials on Dec. 30 and 31, Ski Club Vail’s Hunter Schleper and Delainey Ackerman will tackle the world’s best J3s in February at the international Topolino Children’s Games in Italy.
“Hunter was probably the favorite going in, and he lived up to it,” said Ski Club Vail coach Bruce Knoepfel, “but Delainey was a bit of a surprise.”
Ackerman is always strong in GS and speed, explained Knoepfel, but coming into the two-day event at Winter Park, Colorado, her slalom remained a question mark. True to form, Ackerman cruised to the fastest GS time, ahead of teammate Whitney Setterberg, but then surprised by skiing the third-fastest run of slalom and holding off CBA’s Julia Keeler and Team Summit’s Joelle Chevalier in a tight race for the overall. Even a rerun due to timing difficulties didn’t faze Ackerman in the slalom. “She wouldn’t be denied,” said Knoepfel.
The competition consisted of three runs of GS on the first day and three runs of slalom the following day. The time from the best single run of GS was added to the best single slalom run for a total time.
While the top two women were separated by a mere 0.08, the men’s races lacked the same drama, thanks to Schleper’s dominant skiing. Schleper was fastest in both the GS and slalom, and cruised to the overall spot ahead of a pair of Buck Hill skiers, Marc Massie and Michael Ankeny. “He’s been doing it all season,” noted Knoepfel of Schleper, who will return to Topolino this year after qualifying for Topolino last year as a first-year J3.
Schleper’s international experience (seventh in GS last year), and strong pedigree (his sister Sarah won a medal in the 1993 Topolino slalom and is now just returning to the World Cup after back problems) should mean he will be one of the top forces for the United States in Italy and a possible threat to the podium.
With the Eastern region again electing not to send its J3s to Italy in the middle of the season, there will be another representative selected from the Rocky/Central region later in the week. The rest of the American team comes from the Western division, which held its own time trials last weekend (check back for results).
Topolino Time Trials
Winter Park, Colo. – Dec. 30, 31
Women – top 3
1. Delainey Ackerman SSCV 80.92
GS 37.95 (1) SL 42.97 (3)
2. Julia Keeler CBA 81.00
GS 38.51(4) SL 42.49 (1)
3. Joelle Chevalier SUM 81.36
GS 38.39 (3) SL 42.97 (4)
Men – top 3
1. Hunter Schleper SSCV 75. 13
GS 36.54 (1) GS 38.59 (1)
2. Marc Massie BKH 76.41
GS 36.72 (2) SL 39.69 (3)
3 Michael Ankeny BKH 77.02
GS 37.41 (7) SL 39.61 (2)