The eyes of the ski racing world will be on Vermont this weekend, with Killington Resort expecting 30-40,000 spectators for a stop on the women’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup calendar.
Ski racing royalty Mikaela Shiffrin was among the athletes taking training runs Wednesday, ahead of the races Saturday and Sunday.
Members of Team USA told NECN & NBC10 Boston they’re glad the Thanksgiving weekend event takes place in Vermont, because it provides an easier chance for their families and friends to come cheer them on.
“Nothing beats it,” competitor Katie Hensien said. “We don’t get that when we’re traveling around Europe all year. So it’s very special for us to come here, especially during Thanksgiving, and race in front of everyone.”
“It’s a very long season on the road,” Hensien’s teammate, Allie Resnick, added. “So to be here and have our friends and family in the crowd — it’s amazing. It’s super special for us.”
Students at Castleton University’s School of Resort & Hospitality Management will get first-hand experience working at a major event. The school has a learning partnership with Killington.
“The World Cup’s at the beginning of our season,” noted Castleton student Calvin Merrill, who will work this week at the event, which also features concerts, fireworks, and other activities. “So for the kids that are just starting, this is their introduction to the resort, so they come in at 0 to 60: a super, super fast-paced and tough work environment, but it makes it almost easier for the rest of the winter because you start off with such a bang.”
World Cup weekend will also mark the debut of Killington’s new K-1 base lodge. The 58,000-square-foot, three-level lodge has been in the works for several years, and was delayed by the pandemic.
“It absolutely elevates the guest experience,” Killington Resort spokeswoman Kristel Killary said of the new K-1 lodge, two floors of which open Friday. “It upgrades all the food experiences, the bar experience, and the view from the bar is absolutely stunning.”
Saturday and Sunday, Shriffrin will be in a familiar spotlight. Fans are eager to see if she can become a Killington Cup champion for a sixth time.