So Killington delivered the snow. The World Cup Giant Slalom racers provided the rest. With an international field representing 16 countries, Tessa Worley of France took the podium after a second place finish in her first run of the day, and then a phenomenal second run catapulting her to the top spot.
The USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin was under intense pressure for a great showing on her home turf, having graduated from the Burke Mountain Academy just down the street in Vermont. After Switzerland’s Lara Gut, the favorite to win the event, missed a gate and did not finish, expectations were high for Mikaela to capture the cup in its first visit to the East Coast in 25 years, and the first time in Vermont in 40 years.
Mikaela has made impressive gains in Giant Slalom over the past few years, but this event was not to be. With an 8th place finish in the first run, she was 1:15 behind first run leader Nina Loeseth of Norway, who would ultimately finish second. Shiffrin would have a remarkable second run that moved her to fifth overall in the Giant Slalom event, plus she came into the weekend with the overall lead in points for this years overall ranking, maintaining the position. The top three was rounded out by Sofia Goggia of Italy, who celebrated her first podium in a World Cup competition.
With Giant Slalom completed, all eyes turn to Sunday’s Slalom event where Shiffrin is the unmistaken favorite. With a win in the Slalom event in Levi, Finland, earlier in November, she wants to bring glory to her homestate of Vermont. With a gallery of almost 20,000 spectators, the World Cup may be back. It’s always great to win in front of family, friends, and the young ski racers of the East who are your biggest fans.
Here’s to many more World Cups in the East.