Mikaela Schiffrin leads US Ski Team to Killington for World Cup

U.S. Ski Team superstar Mikaela Shiffrin will compete at the AUDI FIS SKI WORLD CUP in Killington, VT, during Thanksgiving week 2016.

Mikaela Schiffrin leads US Ski Team to Killington for World Cup

UPDATES! Nina Loeseth of Norway leads the pack at the first World Cup in Vermont in 40 years. With a time of 59:47, she is 0.09 ahead of Tessa Worley of France in second place.

Germany's Lara Gut DID NOT FINISH after a stunning miscue at the top of the mountain. Mikaela Shiffrin of the USA finished a disappointin 8th going into this afternoon's second run.


Nina Loeseth takes the top spot in the first run at Killington. ©Mark D Phillips

 

The Audi FIS Ski World Cup races in Killington are November 26 and 27th and Mother Nature couldn't have been nicer to the mountain.

We will be posting new pictures all day today, Saturday and Sunday on our website and through our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. Be sure to bookmark them all and join us as we document the return of Audi FIS Ski World Cup Racing to the East Coast for the first time in 25 years. We are expecting an epic experience in Vermont.

Lara Gut won the season opener, a World Cup giant slalom race in Sölden, Austria, in October. Mikaela Shiffrin finished in second place. Will she win on home soil, completing the return of World Cup to Vermont with a hometown victory?

Mikaela graduated from the Burke Mountain (VT) Academy in 2013 while winning her first World Cup podium at the tender age of 15 in 2012. She was the first U.S. Slalom World Champion since Tamara McKinney in 1983-84. Expectations are high for her in Vermont.

Lara Gut of Germany claimed seven World Cup wins in 2014 placing her at the top of the pyramid as well. Gut has three of her World Cup wins in the western United States, including a Giant Slalom victory in Aspen in November 2015. Can she take victory away from the hometown favorite?

No matter what, it will be an amazing three days in Vermont.


Mikaela Shiffrin at the pre-race press conference

======================================

As of Tuesday, November 22, Killington's ski condition report was perfect:

"We picked up over a foot of snow since Sunday morning, and it's still snowing hard. Snowfall is expected to continue into Tuesday then will taper, along with the gusty wind, but snowmaking temps will linger even longer. Overnight temperatures will again dip into the low teens, allowing our snowmakers to put the finishing touches on the World Cup warm up trail Skye Lark, now that Superstar snowmaking is finished. Yes, you read that right, skiers and riders. That means that the march down the North Side is in full effect, with snowmakers burying trails on Snowdon, connecting the dots back to K-1 for top to bottom skiing and riding."

So the International Ski Federation was correct to give the green light to Killington Resort for the World Cup Races last week.

According to FIS: “This is to inform you that the Audi FIS Ski World Cup races in Killington (USA) are confirmed following the official snow control from today 17th November 2016. As scheduled, the races will take place on 26th – 27th November 2016.”

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 on November 26 and 27.

“This positive snow control news from FIS reinforces what we already knew – that Killington has ample snow on Superstar to host the world’s fastest female ski racers, and our mountain operations team has the knowledge and horsepower to make more snow in the early season than any other ski area in the country,” says Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. “Thanks to the hard work of our snowmaking team during every cold weather window this fall, we can now breathe a quick sigh of relief before jumping into the final stretch of preparation for this massive event.”

With U.S. Ski Team superstar Mikaela Shiffrin competing against the best women’s technical alpine skiers in the world, the Beast of the East is the center of the ski universe for Thanksgiving 2016 as it hosts the AUDI FIS SKI WORLD CUP.

This World Cup event will include the women’s giant slalom and slalom races. On Saturday, November 26, 2016, the first run of Giant Slalom begins at 9:30 a.m. followed by second runs at 12:30 p.m., then the awards podium. On Sunday, Slalom racing begins at 9:30 a.m. with second runs starting at 12:30 p.m., and closing out the weekend with the final podium celebration.


Lindsey Vonn will definitely not race at Killington after severely breaking her arm during training at Copper Mountain in Colorado.

And Killington is pulling out all stops. The World Cup has not been held at an East Coast ski area since Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, in 1991, and in Vermont since 1978 when Stratton hosted an event. And many of us know the reason why. The snow is very iffy this early in the season on the East Coast. And right now, for those of us who are so excited about the event, the forecast is not looking very good. Yes, Killington is open, but with what?

As of today, Killington reports four trails open including Superstar, the trail which will be the site of both race courses. But with 45° and rain, today wasn't a good day. With perfect conditions, Killington can make 12 inches of snow on 60 acres every 24 hours. With two weeks to go, will the ideal conditions appear?

“According to Killington Communications Manager Michael Joseph, it will take six non-consecutive days—or 144 hours—of snowmaking throughout the month of November to prepare Superstar for the race,” wrote Ski Racing journalist Gabbi Hall. “The snowmaking team will measure temperatures and humidity, weighting all the variables necessary to get the hill hard-packed, groomed and ready to go.”

All we can do at this point is cross our fingers and pray to the snow gods that the East Coast can pull off this event. As the dad of a passionate ski racer, I want to see more of these events at the trails we ski. There really is nothing like watching these amazing athletes throw their bodies down a mountain at NASCAR speeds.

Superstar is a fantastic trail to host the races because spectators will be able to see almost half of the slalom course and more than a third of the GS course from the viewing areas. Jumbo screens in the viewing areas will provide 100% viewing coverage.

VIP and grandstand tickets for the 2016 Audi FIS Ski World Cup sold out in less than a day. For those who still want to attend, the free viewing area will accommodate approximately 7,500 spectators.

“The free viewing access area will be great for fans that were not able to secure tickets before they sold out, as well as those visiting Killington to ski and snowboard themselves,” said Michael Solimano, President and General Manager of Killington Resort. “In total, more than 10,000 spectators will be able to view the World Cup events at any given time so alpine ski fans can be a part of the action regardless of having a VIP or grandstand ticket. It promises to be a memorable occasion for everyone at Killington during the weekend. Fans in attendance can expect to see the highest levels of competition and an electric atmosphere similar to the Olympics.”

27 countries will be represented by more than 70 athletes, and the event will be telecast to more than 60 countries.

Lara Gut of Switzerland won the first event of the season, a GS race in Soelden, Austria, held on October 22, 2016, with a dominating time over Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States, coming in second. Marta Bassino of Italy finished third.


Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States finishes second in the AUDI FIS World Cup GS race in Soelden, Austria

“Lara’s performance was really impressive,” said Shiffrin after the race. “I know that I had really, really good preparation coming into this race. I felt good about where my skiing was, so when she comes down and she’s that far ahead and taking every gate like it’s the last gate she’s ever going to ski, it’s really cool to see. But I’m gunning for the rest of the races!”

Shiffrin was not shy about her discussing her goals for giant slalom this season, highlighting the upcoming Killington World Cup and stating that she’s hunting for more GS podiums. “Right now, my focus is the slalom globe and GS globe,” said Shiffrin. “I really, really want to win GS races, even more than I want to win the overall globe.”

Shiffrin brought her dominance in slalom to the second event of the season in Levi, Finland. Shiffrin held on to a comfortable opening-run lead to win the first women's World Cup slalom of the season on Saturday, November 12, 2016. She finished in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 52.71 seconds, 0.67 ahead of Switzerland's Wendy Holdener and 0.75 ahead of Slovakia's Petra Vlhova, who finished third. The victory in northern Finland earned Shiffrin an usual prize -- a reindeer. She got one from her previous win here in 2013 and called him `Rudolph.' This time she was going to call him `Sven' -- after the reindeer from the movie "Frozen."

"I am not unbeatable. I can tell you that," said Shiffrin.  "And I think a lot of these girls know that and they're shooting to be the first to beat me now. So every race I have to be faster, and it's certainly not a comfortable position."

Mikaela Shiffrin Scores a Victory in Levi, Finland, in the first slalom race of the AUDI FIS World Cup series.
The next event comes to Killington, VT, on November 26 - 27, 2016.

 

Superstar at Killington skied by a normal person, not a World Cup athlete.

 


Killington's Superstar Trail will be home to 2016 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP as the snow came through for a Northeast Party!