In advance of this weekend's Audi FIS Women's Ski World Cup competition, Vermont's Killington Resort is putting the final touches on the venue, and preparing for a flood of spectators.
Members of the Italian alpine racing team were training at the resort Wednesday.
They and other competitors from around the globe, including future Olympians, are pursuing glory and a trophy from the famous Vermont glassmaker, Simon Pearce. It has been on display inside the K-1 Lodge at Killington this week, and has been a popular subject for selfies and other photos.
"We are looking forward to doing a podium together," Italian racer Federica Brignone said of her teammate, Manuela Moelgg.
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"I will try to give my best here in Killington," Moelgg added.
As the athletes prepared, the mountain was putting the finishing touches on the sound system, broadcast center, and other features of the venue.
A crowd of 30,000 or more is expected at the resort in-person this weekend, on top of a worldwide TV audience.
"It puts Vermont on the map," said Wendy Knight, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.
Knight said all the worldwide attention should further cement the state's reputation as a destination for early-season skiing.
"From an economic perspective, there's a tremendous benefit to hosting an event like this," Knight said, pointing to a boost in revenues from rooms and meals taxes, as well as encouraging future vacation bookings.
"With 30,000 extra people here, everyone from us to everyone in town, the restaurants — 30,000 people have to eat, right? They need somewhere to stay," said Kristel Fillmore, a Killington Resort spokeswoman.
In one of the resort's retail shops, Ryan Dahms was setting up displays of World Cup hats, scarves, T-shirts, and other merchandise.
Dahms is a senior in Green Mountain College's Killington School of Resort Management. He said witnessing a world-class event unfold will be an important part of his education.
"You can't get any better experience than this," he said of being a part of the World Cup.
The World Cup festivities start Friday morning, with the opening of a festival village and vendors' area. Friday also features a free concert from Troy Ramey, a former contestant on NBC's The Voice, and fireworks.
The races themselves take place over the weekend, and will be broadcast on NBC at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, and at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26.