As it prepares to host a major international ski competition this weekend, Vermont’s Killington Resort got a big boost from Mother Nature, tallying 10 inches of fresh snow Sunday into Monday morning. More snow fell throughout the day Monday.
“I was looking forward to snow so bad this winter,” said snowboarder Alex Mendez of Hoosick Falls, New York. “It came early!”
Killington is hosting a women’s World Cup ski event this weekend, for thousands of spectators and a national audience on NBC. Stars of the skiing world, including Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin, who is returning home to New England, will compete in the giant slalom and slalom.
Crews of groomers spent Monday preparing the racecourse. Grandstands and risers were set up, and workers were installing gates and other areas for pedestrians. Later this week, they will work on a performance stage for a band and run power and telecommunications lines for vendors.
“This is going to pay dividends for Killington for years to come,” predicted Michael Joseph, a Killington Resort spokesman.
Joseph acknowledged the preparations for the event have been complicated to plan, requiring a year of regular meetings across departments at the resort, and have required sizable investments.
But Joseph said the event will be well worth all the work that went into it, even if it only aims to break even, because this will be the first time the World Cup spotlight has turned to Vermont in nearly 40 years.
“The lasting marketing impacts--the brand impacts across the world--are going to be tremendous,” Joseph said. “This is going to be carried in 60 countries. We're going to have racers from 20 countries here. This is a way to put New England skiing and Vermont skiing back on the world map in a way we haven’t seen in decades.”
The event should also pay off for Vermont's travel-dependent economy. Hotels and inns from Woodstock to Rutland are reporting strong bookings for the holiday weekend.
While the skiers have their eyes on a trophy crafted by the glass artists at Vermont’s Simon Pearce, which is now displayed in Killington’s base lodge, the jackpot prize for the state may just be the fresh snowfall itself.
That’s because it’s coming in time to provide a wintry backdrop for Vermont’s time on the world stage.
“I think the snow is going to help with the TV picture,” predicted Roger Erker, a skier from Newport, Rhode Island. “It’ll make it look good. When they zoom out and see the rest of the mountain, it'll be a good thing for Vermont, for sure.”
According to the network’s website, NBC’s broadcasts of the World Cup races from Killington are scheduled to air at 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, November 26 and 27.