Can Mikaela Three-Peat? FIS Ladies World Cup is underway at Killington!

Can Mikaela Shiffrin three-peat in slalom at the FIS Ladies Ski World Cup at Killington?

Can Mikaela Three-Peat? FIS Ladies World Cup is underway at Killington!

The World Cup is here!

After a day of preleminaries, the main event comes to the Superstar trail at Killington Mountain for the third year. The AUDI FIS Ski World Cup races in Killington (USA) are now a Thanksgiving tradition in the northeast, home to some of the best ski racers in the world. The crowds are infectious and the athletes love the venue.

France's Tessa Worley takes on the US' Mikaela Shiffrin and a host of top skiers on a challenging GS course that over the last two years has given us two unique champions, one of which is Worley who bested the course in the inaugural Killington Cup of 2016. Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, last year's victor, is looking to repeat her spot on the podium.

But Tessa has an added incentive. After winning the first giant slalom race of the season in Sölden on 27 October, Worley is one win shy of equalling Anita Wachter, Viktoria Rebensburg, Tina Maze and Lise-Marie Morerod in third place all-time among women with most World Cup giant slalom race wins at 14. She is already in third place all-time for French women.

Looming behind is Mikaela Shiffrin. GS is not her best event, but with 6 giant slalom victories, she is second all-time for American women behind Tamara McKinney's nine wins.

It's going to be a great day.

 

 

 

 

Victoria Rebensburg celebrates with the crowd at the bib draw with her 4th place starting position. ©Mark D Phillips

 

Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway has the lead after the first run in Giant Slalom at Killington 2018. ©Mark D Phillips

 

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The release of a simple statement can make everyone's day.

FIS announced “that the Ladies' Audi FIS Ski World Cup races in Killington (USA) are confirmed following the official snow control from today 15th November 2018. As scheduled, the races will take place on 24th - 25th November 2018.”

What this means is that Killington has delivered once again. The BEAST of the East began making snow on their world cup race trail, Superstar, on October 16th when skiing was well in the back of most people's minds. With this announcement, Killington Resort can assure international race teams and ski racing fans traveling to central Vermont for Thanksgiving Weekend that both the giant slalom and slalom races will take place as scheduled.

“The news of FIS approval on race course snow preparation has the entire resort excited to welcome international ski teams from more than 20 countries to Killington next week. This approval reinforces that Killington’s snowmaking system and mountain operations teams are the best in the business at doing their craft and getting the race hill ready,” commented Herwig Demschar, SVP international business development at POWDR and World Cup local organizing committee chairman. “Now in its third year at Killington Resort, you can expect this world-class event to be bigger and better with an expanded musical line-up and opportunities to meet and greet the athletes. The resort, POWDR, and town of Killington are thrilled to host the World Cup and once again bring elite ski racing to the East.”

With snowmaking now mostly concluded on Superstar trail (the World Cup race venue), Killington snowmakers continue snowmaking on Skyelark to add a training run for World Cup racers.

One hundred of the fastest women on snow from 21 countries will compete in giant slalom on Saturday, November 24th, followed by slalom competition on Sunday, November 25th. Last year, the US' Mikaela Shiffrin finished second behind Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany in giant slalom and took home her second Killington Cup in slalom. Can she make it three straight?

In the first Giant Slalom race of the season held in Solden, Austria, France's Tessa Worley captured the top of the podium with Mikaela finishing third and last year's Killington Cup winner Viktoria Rebensburg finishing fourth. Slalom season opens Saturday, November 17th, at Levi Ski Resort in Finland just one week before the festivities begin at Killington.

Crowd cheers for Mikaela Shiffrin on her second run at the 2017 FIS Ski World Cup slalom at Killington. ©Mark D Phillips

The last two years at Killington have surpassed expectations. There was great skepticism on whether an east coast venue could pull off skiing's greatest competition. Killingto delivered and the fans came out in droves. During the press conferences after the competition at Killington, each of the racers commented on the sheer volume of the spectators on the hill, both numbers wise and volume. Mikaela commented how she could hear the crowd cheer for her in the starting gate.


Federica Brignone of Italy accepts her #5 Bib draw from a young ski racer at Killington during the first events for the FIS Ski World Cup. ©Mark D Phillips

On top of the actual racing, Killington puts on a great party. The Killington Cup weekend features live music, an athlete bib presentation, autograph signing, and fireworks. The Athlete Bib Presentation will take place at 5:45 p.m. on Friday with a free concert by Paul Oakenfold and fireworks show following the presentation to end the evening's activities. The top 15 ranked giant slalom athletes will be presented with their start order for the giant slalom race on Saturday. Each athlete will be introduced on the stage and presented with their bib by local ski race athletes. Arrive early because it starts punctually at 5:45 p.m. and will end at 6:15 p.m. so the athletes can prepare for Saturday's races. It is strangely intimate in a rock star way.

The giant slalom first run begins at 9:45am, preceded by a parade of youth ski competitors from throughout the northeast region. The sheer number of kids last year was impressive and gave the event an even more family feel. Recording artist KT Tunstall performs in the festival village immediately following the completion of the first run. The afternoon's second run begins at 1pm with an awards ceremony upon completion. The festivities contiue with a concert by Michael Franti in the festival village. Sunday's slalom follows nearly the same schedule with a 10am start, preceded by the youth parade, and a concert by Guster in the festival village. The second run begins at 1pm with awards immediately upon completion.

Thanksgiving weekend has become a Killington tradition. We'll see if it becomes a tradition for Mikaela Shiffrin to stand upon the podium for the third straight time.

 

Can Mikaela Three-Peat for the Killington Cup? ©Mark D Phillips
Can Mikaela Three-Peat for the Killington Cup? ©Mark D Phillips