On December 6, 2023

Killington provides post-World Cup training opportunity 

By Brooke Geery

Following the heart-pounding races of the Stifel Killington Cup, passionate skiers may just be inspired to take up racing themselves. But excelling at the global level of competition is not something that can be achieved overnight. This is why so many academies and clubs exist in the Northeast — to give aspiring athletes the coaching and techniques they need to compete at the highest level.  
All the science, technique and dryland training in the world, though, is no match for actual time on snow. And training for a World Cup race does not just require any snow. Athletes compete on specialized surfaces that require several days and methods of watering, grooming and slipping to prepare. Although it takes weeks to create the course for the Stifel Killington Cup, normally it is only used during the race and then returned to a regular trail surface soon after. This year, Killington Resort decided to do something different, by continuing to maintain the race-caliber surface and inviting aspiring racers from all over the region to train. 

Courtesy Killington Resort

Over 350 skiers from 23 different clubs, academies and universities from around the Northeast came to Killington to train on Superstar the week after World Cup.

The resort worked closely with nearby Killington Mountain School (KMS) to tie the entire program together.  
“We are proud to be a strong partner with Killington in this training project,” said KMS Head of School Claire Butler. “The resort is unmatched in their support of youth ski racing and competitive winter sport. Killington’s recognition of the opportunity they have here with two venues prepared for World Cup training and racing is next level. Having access to this training right in our backyard is game changing for not only our program at Killington Mountain School, but for the many programs who will call Killington home for the week following the World Cup. We are seeing teams from across the Northeast, as well as foundations like the Killington World Cup Foundation and World Cup Dreams, taking advantage of this premium, close-to-home training environment. Not to mention all of the national teams who are staying to train. That kind of exposure for young athletes to watch and ride lifts with their heroes is invaluable.” 

Courtesy Killington Resort

 

“This is a very unique opportunity even for World Cup teams,” said KMS Alpine Program Director Miha Kurner. “They are always almost in a paranoid state because of how hard it is to find training the next day. Killington is the place to be in November, everyone will know that after this season.”  
Some 350 skiers from 23 different clubs, academies and universities from around the Northeast came to Killington to take advantage of the week. Normally, they’d have to travel to places such as Colorado or Europe to find something similar. A few smaller clubs, including Smuggler’s Notch and Cochran’s Ski Club of Vermont, Franconia Ski Club of New Hampshire and Winter4kids of New Jersey received help from the Killington World Cup Foundation to make their training a reality.  

Courtesy Killington Resort

 

“It is so important it is for young skiers in the development stage to face such conditions,” said Kurner. “In an ideal world, athletes should be exposed to different conditions periodically throughout their developmental phase. What we see in practice, though, is that there is always this missing piece in the athletes’ developmental process: the amount of time spent under proper conditions. A lot of the athletes meet World Cup conditions so late in their careers and for the very first time.” 
And the venue created for these aspiring athletes is about more than just the perfect conditions for training. 

     

Courtesy Killington Resort

 

“To me, it’s like a kind of sports festival,” said Kurner. “One of the most wonderful things in sports is seeing different programs from different parts of the world pursue the same goals in the same place. A culture is created, a fruitful competitive atmosphere that strengthens and accelerates learning. From the chairlift you can see how your peers are doing. Conversations between them broaden horizons, friendships are forged, motivation goes straight through the roof in these times. A coach cannot create such an environment by themselves. Some of the skiers are older and more experienced; seeing them at work is actually a learning method. This helps immensely. But if you happen to catch Mikaela Shiffrin or another World Cup competitor skiing down the slope, then that’s actually the highest form of training you can get as an athlete; same top conditions for everyone, plus a demonstration of how it’s done. Bingo. It’s kind of like playing basketball together with LeBron or swinging golf on the range with Tiger. That’s how it is.” 

The results of this will be seen in races all season long, multiple coaches agreed.

“Imagine how Superman feels on earth, pretty super, we can say,” said Kurner. “This is how athletes feel in a regular FIS race after some World Cup training exposure. Pretty super.” 

Courtesy Killington Resort

 

 

 

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