Killington World Cup: How the Home Team Fared in GS

“There is nothing, nothing better than winning in front of this crowd here in Killington as an American. It’s the most incredible, incredible experience” said Mikaela Shiffrin the evening before the start of the Stifel Killington World Cup. Moments later, Shiffrin was standing on the stage set up just outside Killington’s new K1 Lodge as throngs of fans waved glow lights,  working the roaring crowd like she was Taylor Swift. On stage, Shiffrin drew bib #3 but the bigger prize? Killington’s first female lift operations manager, Kayla Sarajian, presented her with the keys to Superstar Lift. Shiffrin’s response? “This is a really, really bad idea — I might just go start this up now.” She seemed at home and relaxed.

Mikaela Shiffrin received the keys to Superstar lift from Killington Resort’s Lift Operations Manager Kayla Sarajian during the bib draw on Friday night. Photo courtesy Killington/Everett. Killington Resort.

Yet she, and others, also acknowledged the challenges that come with the “home team advantage.”  “There’s really a lot of pressure because it is a home crowd and I really want to do well for them,” she said. Paula Moltzan, who skied for the University of Vermont and was ranked 7th overall in GS and 11th in slalom at the end of the 2022/23 season echoed the sentiment: ” I actually think the hardest part about racing in the US is having friends and family. I think there is just that extra layer of pressure to perform. You don’t ever want to feel like you’ve let somebody down.”

In addition to favorites such as Shiffrin and Moltzan and ski team veteran AJ Hurt, there were four Dartmouth skiers: Zoe Zimmerman, a Burke Mountain Academy grad now at Dartmouth,  Allie Resnick (of Vail), Stella Johansson (of Aspen) and Mary Bocock (of Salt Lake City). Rounding out the team competing at  Killington are Mary’s younger sister, Elisabeth Bocock, Dasha Romanov (Colorado and Sun Valley).

US Ski Team members at the Killington World Cup: Top, left to right: Zoe Zimmerman, Mary Bocock, Mikaela Shiffrin, Paula Moltzan, Allie Resnick, Stella Johannson. Bottom AJ Hurt, Elisabeth Bocock and Dasha Romanov.

Saturday’s conditions were picture-perfect on nearly every level for the GS race: hard snow, sun and just a bit of wind.  Shiffrin skied a strong first run, finishing fifth, just 0.36 seconds behind New Zealander Alice Robinson who took off in 9th place but skied the fastest line on first run. Rounding out the top five were Sweden’s Sara Hector, Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Bahrami and Italy’s Marta Bassino.

American AJ Hurt turned her 37th-place start into a 12th-place finish, just 1.30 seconds behind Robinson with Paula Moltzan coming in 15th. Another big move came from Canadian and Burke Mountain Academy grad Britt Richardson who started in 34th place and ended up in 10th after the first run.  Mary Bocock (52nd),  Stella Johansson (54th) and Elizabeth Bocock (who fell) did not finish in the top 30 so didn’t get a second run.

Paula Moltzan of the United States in the finish area after the second run of the giant slalom at the HERoic Killington Cup Presented by Stifel in 2022, Vermont…Photo: @dustinsatloff //US Ski & Snowboard/Killington 

By the second run, the course was starting to buck skiers but Paula Moltzan skied a powerful run that would move her into the leaders’ seat for a good long time. At 57.29, it was the third fastest run (Lara Gut-Behrami posted a winning 57.00 on the second run) which moved Moltzan into eighth place. Marta Bassino, in fourth the first run fell. Federico Brignone held it together to post a fast time. American A.J. Hurt earned 19th.

As it came to the final run Shiffrin had an even stronger run, putting .66 seconds ahead of the previous fastest time, earning herself a podium and roars from the crowd of 18,000 that was cheering from the grandstands.  But Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami was a wee bit faster, moving into first. Sara Hector, the GS Olympic gold medalist in Beijing, also negotiated the bumps on the course. Finally, Alice Robinson skied down, finishing in second, with Shiffrin taking third.

After the race, the crowd moved to the athlete village — a set up of vendor tents and a huge Kona Big Wave stage where Young the Giant was performing, taking over from Mix Master Mike who had kept the crowd revved up between runs.

Tomorrow’s slalom race will start at 10 am with Matsisyahu performing between runs.

[Cover photo: Mikaela Shiffrin at the 2022 Stifel Killington World Cup. photo courtesy U.S. Ski & Snowboard/Killington) 







Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports.

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