By Polly Mikula
The Killington Cup held Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 24-25, drew record crowds both Saturday for the Giant Slalom and Sunday for the Slalom races.
On Saturday, sun and near-perfect snow on Superstar make for a very enjoyable and competitive race. A crowd of 18,500 cheered on the racers – especially Vermont-school Mikaela Shiffrin, who drew bib No. 1.
“I was really happy with my skiing but not my level of aggression,” said Shiffrin after the race. In her first run, she finished sixth, putting her 0.59 seconds behind the leader, Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel. In Shiffrin’s second run she made up time and sat on the podium in first place – until the last three skiers came in. It was a nail biter as Stefanie Brunner, Mowinckel and then Italy’s Federica Brignone posted successfully better times.
Shiffrin ended up fifth for her second run and fourth overall (with combined times) with Brignone taking the top spot, followed by Mowinckel and Bruner.
On Sunday, fog and misty conditions made visibility and snow conditions tougher, but the race when on without delays.
Mikaela, wearing bib No. 3 this time, won the first run by 0.29 second, ahead of Bernadette Schild and 0.54 ahead of both Petra Vlhova and Frida Hansdotter.
For the second run racers compete in reverse order and it was a nail-biter as nearly every athlete posted a faster run than the racer before. Shiffrin, the last to race, had her work cut out for herself, but skied in classic Shiffrin-style finding speed where others couldn’t and won decisively by nearly a half second, defending her Killington Cup Slalom title for the third year in a row.
The crowd went wild! This was the picture perfect ending most had come to see.
Photo of Mikaela Shiffrin, by Jason Mikula
Lisa Lynn, of Vt. Ski and Ride, contributed to this report.