Some mean-spirited wind cut short the first day of the Killington World Cup 2021. After the first nine racers — including America’s darling Mikaela Shiffrin — took their chances on an icy Superstar run, officials decided to cancel the days event. The snowy gusts kept tripping up the finish line lasers and the day looked potentially dangerous, and that was that.
The band O.A.R. saved the day from being a complete blowout as they played a blistering set in the cold, warming up the disappointed crowd. Singer/guitarist Marc Roberge did a great job taking on party central as the crowd sang along to the bands upbeat hits.
On Sunday the mountain was in spectacular condition; just what you’d expect from a primetime day in February or March. The rowdy crowd was revved up to cheer on the athletes as they barreled down Superstar in what turned out to be a magnificent day at the races.
With the wind in check and the temperatures superb for sliding down the mountain, the racers had the chance to take on Superstar’s infamous steep and icy run. Cowbells clanked, adults hooted, and pint-sized mogul bunnies gleamed at the picture perfect day. A perfect day for the Killington Cup, the fourth stop on FIS Alpine World Cup Calendar following last week’s competition in Levi, Finland.
The best thirty of the first set of racers got first dibs on the 12:45 startup on Sunday’s Slalom as the wind steadily increased and a light snow started falling giving the early birders a slight advantage. The crowd got edgy and a bit nervous in fear of another cancelled day at the races.
Adding another layer of interest, in an Olympic qualifying year, this year’s event took on added urgency as skiers including USA’s Paula Moltzen vied for placement on their respective national teams.
Trailing on the second run by two-tenths of a second to Petra Vlhova, Shiffrin stepped up to the gate and beat the Slovakian dynamo by .75 of a second securing her 71st World Cup victory and 46th World Cup Slalom victory tieing her with Swede Ingmar Stenmark’s record for most victories in a single disciple.
USA Olympic team hopeful and University of Vermont alum Paula Moltzan placed 7th in her quest for the gold at next year’s events in Beijing, China adding some hometown excitement to the Cup.
The crowd roared as Shiffren, Vlhova and Swiss skier Wendy Holdener took to the podium hoisting their skis aloft and the Star-Spangled banner played on ending a fabulous day at Killington. There was something for everyone at the Cup as vendors took over the village slopeside handing out freebies and swag as the music played onstage from O.A.R. and G Love adding a funky and festive vibe to the event.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiffrin took to the podium with her sixth consecutive win at the Killington Cup beaming but everyone won at this event including the State of Vermont and skiers nationwide coming to grips from the fallout of Covid.
The women head to Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada for their second North American showdown on December 3rd before taking it to Europe for the rest of the season. Let the cowbells ring!