PARK CITY, Utah – World Cup ski racing may be coming back to New England in 2016. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, along with its resort partner Powdr, Corp., is proposing an Audi FIS Ski World Cup at Killington, Vt., this week during meetings of the International Ski Federation in Zurich. The submission comes after years of work by the USSA to find an opportunity to bring World Cup ski racing to the most populated region of the country.
The proposed November 2016 World Cup would include women’s giant slalom and slalom races. The athletes in attendance could include U.S. Ski Team superstars Julia Mancuso, Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn. If accepted by the FIS, the dates would be Nov. 26-27, 2016 – Thanksgiving Weekend. The race would fill the weekend traditionally hosted in Aspen during the season in which the Colorado resort will hold the World Cup Finals in March of 2017.
In a final site inspection Sept. 23, FIS Women’s World Cup Tour Director Atle Skaardal visited Killington and gave a positive report, which encouraged the USSA to move forward in the process. The bid will be submitted to the FIS at its fall meetings in Zurich that run through Saturday. It is anticipated that the bid will then be put onto the draft 2016-17 World Cup calendar that will be finalized next June.
It would be the first World Cup in the eastern U.S. since 1991 when the U.S. Ski Team’s Julie Parisien won the giant slalom at Waterville Valley, N.H.
“An eastern World Cup will have great impact on our sport by bringing the best ski racers in the world close to our largest population of USSA members and fans,” said USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw. “Powdr, Corp. has always been a strong partner for the USSA and we have confidence that Killington is well suited to produce an exceptional early season World Cup.”
The USSA has had a long relationship with Powdr, Corp. producing World Cup and Grand Prix events at Copper Mountain and Park City Mountain Resort. Killington has been a strong venue in alpine ski racing as a regular host to FIS and USSA races.
“Killington is one of the premier resorts in the country and close to major eastern metropolitan markets,” said Powdr CEO John Cumming. “Powdr has produced World Cup events in the past at other resorts in our portfolio and has significant experience executing large-scale races such as the Audi FIS Ski World Cup.”
As a FIS World Cup, the event would be broadcast worldwide to over 60 nations, along with national broadcast coverage across America. The event is anticipated to bring significant economic impact to the state of Vermont, which other U.S. World Cups have seen extend to $15-20 million.
“It’s been a key initiative for the USSA to find a calendar window with FIS to bring alpine ski racing to the east,” noted USSA Vice President, Events Calum Clark. “Our partnership with Powdr and the early snowmaking capability of Killington were crucial to working with FIS to get onto the World Cup calendar.”
The only previous alpine World Cup to be held in Vermont was at Stratton March 2-5, 1978 where Phil Mahre won the men’s GS and Steve Mahre won the slalom.
Release courtesy of USSA, photo courtesy of Killington