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Killington, Shiffrin Wow Record-Breaking Crowds

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USA's Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates with Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova and Austria’s Bernadette Schild. (Killington)

Greeted by a roar of record-breaking crowds of more than 18,000 on Saturday and 16,000 on Sunday at Killington, Mikaela Shriffin finished second in the Giant Slalom and first in the Slalom at the Xfinity Killington Cup.

Shiffrin, who claims both east and west coast roots, was proud to call this a hometown crowd. “My Nana and my best friend are here, and those are two people that I rarely see, and they were able to come and watch me race here last year and this year, and these are just the moments that are above the Olympics, above the World Championships, above anything else,” Shiffrin said. “This day, in and of itself, will make this season successful for me.”

Racing down Superstar to the roar of cowbells. (Killington)

Killington’s snowmaking team once again pulled off an amazing feat leading up to the race: 15 million gallons of water were used on the marquee Superstar trail. The Sunday before the event it rained – and the team opened up the snow to absorb as much rain as possible, “which is pretty much the opposite of the thing you do as at ski resort,” said Killington President Mike Solimano. Then they injected the trail with water for a super-hard surface that the athletes loved.

The impact of an event of this scale is hard to pinpoint, but clearly it had a huge one not just for Killington but also Vermont and the whole region. “It shows that it is not just a Killington race. If you look on the race hill and all the people working, from Stowe, to Sugarbush, to Mount Snow to Stratton, they’re all here and everybody in the industry feels that it is their race,” Solimano said.

A young Pico Ski Club member watches the races. (Killington)

With parades each day featuring ski clubs from across the region, future ski racers also took inspiration from the event. “This provides an opportunity for those who watch on TV and who can be here to see first hand what it takes… creating thousands of seminal moments where young kids look up on that hill and say ‘I want to be like that,’” said Tiger Shaw, USSA President and CEO.

The King of Spring made the rounds among his adoring fans. (Martha Wilson)

Northeast fans can count on returning to The Beast, as the Audi FIS World Cup will be back in Killington in 2018.

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