The largest resort for skiing and riding on the East Coast is hard at work preparing for a Thanksgiving week tradition, when many of the world’s top women in ski racing come to Killington to compete.
The snow at Vermont’s Killington Resort is a welcome sight this week, especially considering recent record warmth.
“It got to 70, 75 like, two weeks in a row,” recalled Kristel Killary, the communications manager for Killington Resort. “We were like, ‘Oh no.’”
Now, it’s a relieved “oh yes.” A return to chilly temperatures meant the snowguns and groomers could get right to work around the clock, preparing for the Audi FIS Ski World Cup races Thanksgiving weekend, November 26 and 27.
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“The snowmaking team really pulled it together,” Killary told NECN & NBC10 Boston, noting some fresh snow also contributed to the efforts to prepare the racecourse. “And a little help from Mother Nature last night.”
Wednesday, with even more cold in the forecast, the governing body of the races gave the green light to the conditions, assuring fans the event will be a go.
Some businesses in this tourism-dependent state have found the international spotlight from the women’s World Cup races has helped cement Vermont’s reputation for excellence in winter sports.
“It’s turned into this great event,” said Chris Karr, who owns several businesses in Killington including The Pickle Barrel bar and music venue and The Foundry, a popular restaurant. “We have people who come visit now because they saw Killington on television for part of the World Cup, and all the great things that it has to offer.”
Bryan Rivard of the trade group Ski Vermont said the event at Killington also generates positive attention that can benefit other destinations throughout the state.
“It is the number-one ski destination in the eastern US, so I think, again, the World Cup is a great way to highlight that and to put us on the map for folks who might not know how good Vermont is for skiing,” Rivard said Wednesday in an interview with NECN & NBC10 Boston.
And many of the spectators watching in-person — perhaps 25-30,000 total, Killary estimated — will be eager to see if five-time Killington Cup champ Mikaela Shiffrin can continue her winning streak.
“We’re really hoping Mikaela can hold onto her sixth win here in a row,” Killary said.
The pros aren’t the only ones headed to the mountain. Wednesday’s natural snowfall should have things looking pretty good for the kickoff of the winter season at Killington. Skiing and riding start for season passholders Thursday afternoon, and Friday morning for the general public.