By Karen D. Lorentz
Editor’s Note: This is part four in a series on Killington hosting the Audi FIS World Cup Women’s Giant Slalom and Slalom races on November 26-27, 2016.
With less than two months to the first World Cup to be held in Vermont since 1978, there’s excitement in the air and anticipation is heating up, driven by a plethora of planned activities and the promise of the world’s top women skiers coming to town.
Leslie L. Smith, daughter of Killington’s founders and a 1976 Olympian who skied in the last World Cup to be held in Vermont, shared her thoughts with the Mountain Times.
“I am thrilled the World Cup is coming Killington! Skiing fans will have the opportunity to see the best in world compete right here in Killington! It has been a very long time since the Stratton World Cup in 1978, but I still remember the thrill of competing on ‘home turf’ in front of family and friends as a member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team.
“This upcoming event will showcase international skiers from around the world and will surely inspire the current generation of local competitors striving for World Cup stature. It will also demonstrate Killington Resort’s continued commitment to competitive ski racing, and the Superstar venue will showcase Killington’s challenging mountain terrain,” Smith added.
A to Z good-to-knows
Anyone can attend the race events for free. Spectator standing areas can accommodate 7,500 visitors each day at the base of the Superstar trail; jumbo screens will provide enhanced viewing. Free parking and shuttle services are also offered.
Beast of the East is ready for the Superstar action, but the rest of the mountain will be open for business as usual. Yes, we can ski/ride our usual terrain Thanksgiving weekend. The more cold and snow, the more terrain.
Cinema: Exciting sports action and great stories by best in the business: Matchstick Productions, Teton Gravity Research, and Warren Miller Entertainment. Thursday and Friday movies will benefit the Pico Ski Club, Killington Mountain School, and Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports while Saturday’s film benefits the Killington Ski Club.
Dining extravaganza: From traditional turkey dinners on Thanksgiving to special adventures offered by the area’s diverse bounty of restaurants to the World Cup Expo Village food vendors, you won’t go hungry.
Entertainment features free O.A.R. concert, World Cup Official Post Party at Wobbly Barn Nightclub and films.
Film “Here, There & Everywhere” will be shown, Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Snowshed Vacation Center. It features segments on the iconic sports filmmaker Warren Miller along with the thrilling ski and snowboard action that Warren Miller Entertainment films are known for.
Giant Slalom race will start at top of Superstar Headwall and drop 400 meters. Slalom starts further down the trail, and both races end at the base area finish line.
Herwig Demschar is the man behind the plan to bring the World Cup to Killington, but it could not happen without the huge support and financial investment of Powdr Corp, Killington’s parent company. (mountaintimes.info/vision-team-behind-killington-hosting).
International racers from approximately 30 countries will compete.
Jeff Temple, director of mountain ops, has crews ready to fire up the snowguns. They just need cold. (mountaintimes.info/world-cup-snowmaking-team-confident)
Killington founder Pres Smith calls hosting the World Cup “a dream come true.”
Logistics of event planning and hosting are mindboggling, but an organizing committee is supported by hundreds of volunteers to showcase the resort and town at their best (mountaintimes.info/world-cup-planning-continues-volunteer/).
Matchstick movie “Ruin and Rose” will be screened at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 24, Snowshed Base Lodge.
O.A.R. headlines with a free concert immediately following Saturday’s races. The show expects to draw thousands. Press from 60 countries will be on hand for broadcast, Internet, and print coverage. World Cup racing is huge in Europe and this event will put the Northeast on the international map.
Races: Sat. Nov. 26, Giant Slalom Run 1, 9:30 a.m.; Run 2, 12:30 p.m. on Superstar Trail. Sun., Nov. 27, Slalom Run 1, 9:30 a.m.; Run 2, 12:30 p.m. on Superstar Trail.
Superstar is FIS homologated for the Slalom and Giant Slalom. The snow surface will be “rock hard” for the races but during the following week, workers will return it to skiable shape for the rest of us.
“Tight Loose,” is the new TGR film, which will premiere at 7 p.m. at Snowshed Base Lodge, Friday, Nov. 25.
U.S. Ski Team autograph signing will take place on Sat. 4-5 p.m. at K-1 base area. Meet superstars Mikaela Shiffren, a graduate of Vermont’s Burke Mt. Academy, and current world slalom champion; Julia Mancuso, four time Olympian (1 gold, 2 silvers, 1 bronze), five World Championships; and Lindsey Vonn, a four-event champion (four overall World Cup victories) and Olympian (gold, bronze).
VIP Area opens 8 a.m. at Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar Saturday and Sunday for ticket holders.
World Cup Expo Village, located at the K-1 Base Area, will feature over 40 unique sponsors, ranging from Vermont craft and food vendors to the latest ski industry hardware and technology companies. Village opens to public at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
X-factor: the unknown is cold temperatures, not snow. Killington invested in additional air compressors and fan guns (2015) just for snowmaking on Superstar — and so as not to take away from regular early season snowmaking operations on the mountain. Needed cold temperatures to run the guns.
Youth ski racers from the local area will carry flags of participating nations in Saturday’s 8:45 a.m. Opening Parade (Expo Village/K-1 base area) to kick off the competition.
Bringing the World Cup back to the East is the “pinnacle” — a crown jewel — for Eastern skiing and racing. This is the biggest event to hit this region since the 1980 Olympics when the U.S. Alpine Team practiced at Killington and helicoptered over to Lake Placid/Whiteface for events. (Canadians headquartered at Pico).
Questions? Check out the special World Cup program, which will be available Nov. 10, or these websites killington.com/site/to-do/World-Cup; mountaintimes.info/category/audi-fis-ski-world-cup.
By Karen D. Lorentz