FIS World Cup returns to Killington
Day two begins Sunday morning
KILLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - An absolutely beautiful day for ski racing at The Beast on Saturday for the 6th edition of the Heroic Killington Cup, beginning with giant slalom races. Fans once again packed into the stands and slopes behind me to get a glimpse of the best women’s skiers in the world
The fan favorite at this event, 4-time overall World Cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin. She’s racked up 76 world cup wins in her career, 5 of them in the slalom here, but the Burke Mountain Academy grad was seeking her first victory here in the GS. But it was not to be on this day. Shiffrin 1.36 seconds off the lead after the first run, that was only good for tenth, and she was a little bit slower on the second run, finishing 13th on the day.
“I was off timing and that makes a huge difference. Especially on this slope because it’s like, it’s just a sprint race,” she said. “You have to be on every turn and you have to be like pushing from the start and kind of no mistakes kind of a thing.”
The star of the day turned out to be Lara Gut-Behrami from Switzerland. She overcame about a half-second deficit after the first run to down Sweden’s Sara Hector and Italy’s Marta Bassino to claim her first victory here at Killington.
“It’s great, second run was a bit more risky. I controlled a little bit more in the down part but I’m happy,” Gut-Behrami said. “I mean it’s the first race of the season and to be on the podium, to win, that’s nice.”
Give a hand to a couple other Americans with local ties making some noise on the course Saturday. UVM alumna Paula Moltzan has been here several times for the slalom, but due to some bad injury and weather luck in the past, this was the first time she’d race the giant slalom. Moltzan with a strong showing, she was 16th after the first run and would finish 18th overall
“I’m happy, the sun’s out, the fans are amazing,” she said. “I can’t wait to see my family, and I’m just really proud of the skiing I put out there.”
Burke alumna Nina O’Brien is also a regular at Killington, but few people would have expected her to be back competing this early in the World Cup season. O’Brien suffered a brutal crash at the Olympics back in February, but she would earn a spot in the second run. O’Brien would finish 23rd overall.
“Mentally I feel pretty good. Overall I think this has been a learning experience. Not only throughout the rehab process but also just getting back on snow,” she said. “Trying to actually listen to my body for once. I feel confident and I really want it, which is great and I think shows that I’m mentally in a good spot. But sometimes I also need to be pulled back a bit and told to take a day off and that’s ok too.”
Copyright 2022 WCAX. All rights reserved.