The Killington World Cup was a success with 30,000 spectators out to see the first FIS World Cup ski racing event held in the East in 25 years. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association thinks that enthusiasm will buoy future growth of alpine ski racing. USST member and World Cup and Olympic champ Mikaela Shiffrin was the big draw for the slalom and GS events, held Nov. 26-27, and she didn’t disappoint, winning the slalom and placing fifth in the GS.
“The success of Killington was the result of a strong partnership between the USSA, Killington and the International Ski Federation, all aligned in a common mission to grow our sport in America,” said USSA president and CEO Tiger Shaw. “We’ve introduced thousands and thousands of kids to the excitement of alpine ski racing. It could have a profound impact on the U.S. Ski Team over the next decade.”
The production of an eastern U.S. World Cup was part of a strategy by the USSA that began a decade ago to grow awareness of alpine ski racing across America with a return to the most densely populated area of ski fans. When a date opened up on the FIS World Cup calendar, the state of Vermont, and Killington in particular, rose to the top as an ideal venue.
“Producing a World Cup is a huge undertaking, especially in early season,” said Shaw. “We needed a resort with the existing ski area infrastructure, experienced personnel, and passion for the sport. We found all of that in Killington and its parent company Powdr Corp., which did a world class job in producing one of the greatest women’s events in the history of the tour.”
The resort itself benefitted from international media exposure, and resort leadership—past and present—were overwhelmingly pleased with how the event turned out.
“It was a smashing success in the ski world,” said Killington founder Pres Smith. “Vicariously, this becomes one of the great moments in my life of skiing.”
Killington president and GM Mike Solimano said it’s not just something for the resort to hang its hat on, but the local area, too. “The record-setting crowd, smooth race coordination, and inspirational athletic performances throughout our first World Cup weekend have the entire town of Killington gushing with pride,” he said. “I’m just so proud of the energy, teamwork and positivity that our staff and the entire community displayed. … I think our snowmakers, mountain operations, marketing and hospitality teams proved that they’re up for any challenge.”
The event received a strong boost on Sunday when Shiffrin took her 10th straight World Cup slalom win. Shiffrin attended Burke Mountain Academy in northern Vermont, so the home fans were especially supportive. The most support may have come from her 95-year-old grandmother, who had never been to one of Shiffrin’s races before.
The Lake Louise Women’s World Cup starts Friday December 2nd and will stage two Downhill races and a Super G. See the CBC Broadcast Schedule here.