Killington World Cup breaks attendance records - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Killington World Cup breaks attendance records

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There was success on the slopes this weekend. It was a big win in slalom for Burke Mountain Academy grad Mikaela Shiffrin, but that wasn't the only thing to celebrate at the World Cup in Killington.

Despite the crowds of thousands, police say there were no major incidents to report. United States ski officials say they're hopeful this weekend's success means a repeat next year.

If you had looked at Killington's slopes in mid-November, you'd have seen more green than white.

The resort was stepping up and battling with Mother Nature to host one of the world's biggest ski events when the leaves were still falling from the trees.

"No matter where you are or what year it is, it's always tough to do a race on Thanksgiving weekend and Killington crews did a remarkable job," said Tom Kelly, from the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association. 

By Thanksgiving weekend with an army of snowmaking machines pumping out thousands of gallons a minute and an assist from Mother Nature, the Beast of the East was ready for the best female skiers in the world.

"As we look back over the weekend, this far exceeded our expectations. The numbers of people who were here, the quality of the ski racing and of course the outcome with Mikaela Shiffrin's win, it was a near-perfect weekend," said Kelly. 

And if there was any concern that crowds might not show up to cheer the skiers on in a small state that concern evaporated Saturday. Even with the fog, it was record turnout. While some organizers might have expected 10,000 spectators on any given day, the final numbers were even higher.

Killington says it estimates 16,000 people showed up to watch Saturday and 13,000 Sunday. 

They say it's the largest crowd they've ever had for an event and rivals turnout for women's World Cup races in countries where skiing is the national sport. But are the world-class skiers coming back and bringing their crowds next year? 

"All of us would love to come back here. We're going to take a serious look at it," said Kelly. 

Monday WCAX learned conversations are already happening between the International Ski Federation, Killington and the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association to see if they can bring it back here. We're told by U.S. Ski and Snowboard officials that there's a "high likelihood" that it could return.

"That's why we love World Cups. They are awesome slopes, great crowd and we want to make a show that would be great to come back" said Tessa Worley, Giant Slalom winner. 

It's still unclear whether Killington broke even on the event. The resort says they're still adding up the costs and could not provide an estimate. But even if they didn't a spokesperson says they would love to have it back. The final schedule for the World Cup will be set in May.

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