North America’s Much-Anticipated World Cup Return
After a year without the North American FIS Ski World Cup series due to COVID-19 setbacks, everyone and their mother is frothing at the mouth for its return. From the HomeLight Killington Cup to the Xfinity Birds of Prey World Cup and Lake Louise, the excitement to be back on North American soil is palpable. It’s safe to say that this year, U.S. fans, staff, and athletes are collectively thankful for the return of our domestic races. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.
Let’s Get Down to Business: the HomeLight Killington Cup
Let’s talk Killington first...and about the rivalry everyone is talking about. Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova vs. our very own Mikaela Shiffrin. They’re tied in first in the overall standings with 260 points after the first four races of the season. Shiffrin won the season-opening giant slalom World Cup and grabbed back-to-back second-place finishes in the Levi, Finland slaloms, despite an ongoing struggle with back pain that has interfered with her training schedule.
Vlhova narrowly edged Shiffrin out on day one in Levi, and bested Shiffrin on day two by nearly half of a second...but Shiffrin made a heroic recovery that lost her at least that much time. It’s a rivalry for the ages, and Shiffrin—who has won all four World Cup slalom events held in Killington—will no doubt equally feed off the hometown vibes, and feel the nerves and expectation.
Shiffrin is joined by a deep tech crew who comes into Killington leading the nation standings following the first giant slalom of the season. Nina O’Brien, Paula Moltzan, AJ Hurt, and Keely Cashman round out the crew, each with top-20 finishes under their belt on the World Cup circuit. Joining them are up-and-comers Zoe Zimmermann and Allie Resnick, who stamped their tickets to the Killington World Cup based on stellar HomeLight Foundation Series NorAM results at Copper Mountain.
Following her results in Copper Mountain, Resnick said “I am really happy with my skiing during this race series and I’m even more excited for my first slalom and GS World Cup start in Killington. After Killington, we are heading to Europe for the Europa Cup races. I hope we can carry this momentum to Killington, and through the rest of the season.”
Coach Coley Oliver echoed her statement, saying “While [this] is a large step from the NorAm circuit, I’m very confident in their skiing and cannot wait to see how they stack up with the best in the world. They raced this past week with the knowledge of the World Cup start qualifying criteria on their shoulders in addition to the normal stress of a NorAm and both excelled under that pressure. That ability to perform under pressure will be critical for them as they race more and more Europa Cup and World Cup races.”
Shiffrin spoke of the depth of the team, saying, “I’m really looking forward to heading into Killington with such a deep and talented team, including some fresh faces like Allie and Zoe, who have proven themselves at the NorAm level and earned their spots for Killington. We are bringing the best women’s tech crew into the Olympic season that I’ve seen since I’ve been with the team...and that’s been a long time. It’s exciting to see and experience, and the team environment is so solid and positive right now.”
On the broader international front, keep an eye out for Switzerland’s ss Lara Gut and the Italian squad in giant slalom, along with France’s Tessa Worley, Poland’s Maryna Gąsienica-Daniel (my dark horse!), and New Zealand’s young phenom Alice Robinson. In slalom, one can’t discount Austria’s Katharina Liensberger and Sweden’s Anna Swenn Larsson, but watch out for our neighbors to the north, as the Canadians have a great amount of depth in the discipline, led by Erin Mielzynski and former University of Vermont standout Laurence St. Germain.
What’s Up...Up North, Eh
Up in Lake Louise, the American men have had a solid couple of days of training. The track, which boasts new terrain features that somewhat mirror Val Gardena, Italy’s Saslong track, where both Steven Nyman and Bryce Bennet have excelled and Jared Goldberg has also had solid results.
Travis Ganong led three into the top 10 on the first day of training in third. On day two, the final day of training, Ryan Cochran-Siegle posted the fourth-fastest time. The Austrians and the Norwegians, though...and that sneaky Swiss Beat Feuz, as well as Italy’s Dominik Paris, will be strong contenders.
Ganong and Cochran-Siegle both feel relieved to be back at Lake Louise. “It’s such a beautiful location, and the track is really fun...we definitely missed it last year,” noted Ganong. “Conditions this year - there’s tons of natural snow, and they were able to build up a bunch of terrain, so it’s pretty different from what we’ve seen in the past. There’s a lot of new rolls and terrain in different places, and a few new little jumps here and there, so it’s not your typical, kind of, highway tuckfest at Lake Louise...it’s more intricate, more playful, more terrain. I like that a lot. I think it really suits my style.” As Ganong said, “Anything is possible.”
Cochran-Siegle will enter the speed start gate for the first time since he fractured his neck on the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbuehel, Austria last January. He will head into Lake Louise with the same cautious optimism he has had in the past. “I’m feeling good...not amazing...just, I think there’s some better skiing to be found right now...not that I’m skiing poorly, just that I know that I can be cleaner in places and just have a little more of a race mentality,” he reflected. “I think skiing in sections was good today, but there’s still some time I’m losing in other places that I definitely need to figure out and clean up so that I can give myself the best chance on race day. Definitely a good warm-up, it seems, I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself because I think that Lake Louise can be kind of a funny race and I’m not carrying too many expectations, but hopefully it’s a good weekend. It was fun to ski today.”
What’s New on the Broadcast
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety will return to NBC Sports’ alpine skiing coverage for the two upcoming domestic events, including the women’s giant slalom and slalom this Saturday and Sunday in Killington, Vt., and the Birds of Prey Super-G and downhill races in Beaver Creek, Colo., Dec. 3-5.
“I’m excited to join NBC Sports as an alpine analyst this weekend in Killington and next weekend in Beaver Creek,” said Ligety. “I’m looking forward to feeling the race jitters, but from a new perspective, and to bring my love for skiing and all that I’ve learned as a racer to TV.”
The Inside Scoop - HomeLight Killington Cup
If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from the HomeLight Killington Cup (other than Mikaela Shiffrin being a complete boss), it’s that Herwig Demschar’s team throws an amazing party and knows how to put on an event. Case in point: the music. All concerts are included with the purchase of HomeLight Killington Cup General Admission ticket or the premier seating option. Killington will host free concerts on the stage throughout the weekend featuring O.A.R., DJ Z-Trip, and G Love.
Even though none of the women competing at Killington will be able to meet, greet, and interact with the crowd, Ligety will be signing autographs on Saturday, November 27th after racing has concluded. WINTERSTEIGER, the global leader in ski service, has teamed up with Mr. GS to offer fans a taste of pre-Covid fanfare and fun. Hosted at Peak Performance Ski Shop, time and details to be announced on social media, the signing will run for 45 minutes. Peak Performance is just down the access road from the World Cup event at 2808 Killington Road and the signing will take place outside, so attendees should dress accordingly.
Just got your booster and looking for a night out, with a purpose? Look no further than the Pickle Barrel. On Saturday night, World Cup Dreams Foundation will be hosting a party, Saturday night after the women’s GS in Killington, WCD is partnering with the Pickle Barrel (the best Apres spot in Killington, VT) to host an Apres party in support of the World Cup Dreams grant fund, and when Slalom Tokyo Drift is involved, it’s bound to be a good time. Tickets are $11.50 and the event is 3-7 pm. Hang with U.S. Ski Team alumni like Ted Ligety, Andrew Weibrecht, Tommy Biesemeyer, and current athletes like AJ Ginnis (Greece), Alice Merryweather, and Sam DuPratt (who has a birthday on Sunday, FYI).
Last but not least, we’re hearing there’s a post-World Cup party at none other than the Wobbly Barn. Of course there is. Would the HomeLight Killington Cup be the HomeLight Killington Cup without the Wobbly Barn?! Have a blast...and please, have a drink for me.
Housekeeping Deets for the HomeLight Killington Cup - COVID-19 Protocol
All event attendees must have a World Cup ticket and will be required to go through a ticket/security checkpoint in front of K-1 Base Lodge to enter the festival village, K-1 Lodge and spectator areas. For families or groups who purchased tickets in one order, please plan to arrive together – only one person needs to show the QR code entry ticket. If this is not possible, one person in each arrival group must have the QR code entry ticket. Each QR code will only be valid for the number of admissions purchased.
All event attendees (except those who purchased K-1 VIP World Cup Parking Passes) will be required to park in a remote lot and use a shuttle to get to the event. Masks are REQUIRED for everyone on shuttles regardless of vaccination status.
Attendees 12 years and older will also need to show proof of vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test result (PCR or rapid antigen) that was administered by an official testing center. The test must occur no earlier than November 24, 2021. Home testing kit results will not be accepted for entry. Proof of vaccination may be shown via the actual vaccine card (or copy), a photo of the vaccine card on a phone, CLEAR Health Pass, NY Excelsior Pass, Docket, NYC Covid Safe, CommonPass, or VeriFLY.
Tune in this Thanksgiving weekend to cheer for the Americans as we kick off the bulk of our 2021-22 Olympic season World Cup action.
WOMEN’S STARTERS - KILLINGTON
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Saturday, Nov. 27
10:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Giant Slalom - run 1 LIVE, Killington, VT, Streaming Peacock
1:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Giant Slalom - run 2 LIVE, Killington, VT, Streaming Peacock
2:15 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Downhill - LIVE, Lake Louise, CAN, Streaming Peacock, Ski and Snowboard Live
3:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Giant Slalom - same-day broadcast Killington, VT, Broadcast NBC
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021
9:45 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - run 1- LIVE Killington, VT, Streaming Peacock
2:15 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Super G - LIVE, Lake Louise, CAN, Streaming Peacock, Ski and Snowboard Live
12:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - LIVE Killington, VT, Broadcast NBC
12:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - run 2 LIVE Killington, VT Streaming, Peacock
5:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - Same-day delayed broadcast, Killington, VT, Broadcast NBCSN
Current television broadcast and streaming schedules for all sports are available here.