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. Among the athletes could be U.S. Ski Team superstars Julia Mancuso, Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn. If accepted by 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 is holding the World Cup Finals in March, 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 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 USA since 1991 when the U.S. Ski Team’s Julie Parisien won the giant slalom at Waterville Valley, NH.
“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 Cup 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.”
Killington president and general manager Mike Solimano said the course would be established on the Superstar trail adjacent to the K-1 Express Gondola and base area.
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.