KILLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Saturday was day one of competition at the World Cup in Killington.
Day one of the return of World Cup skiing to Killington is in the books as, for the second year in a row, the eyes of the entire skiing world were focused on Vermont.
It was another capacity crowd that turned out to see the world's best skiers in action and the star of the show was Mikaela Shiffrin. The Burke Mountain Academy alum and World and Olympic champion starting sixth in the first run, and put together a strong performance to sit in second place heading into the second run. She was a quarter second back of leader Viktoria Rebensburg and three tenths of a second ahead of third place Manuela Moelgg of Italy.
Also on the course Saturday, UVM ski standout Laurance St-Germain. St-Germain is taking the year off from school in a bid to make the Canadian Olympic Team before returning to Vermont for her senior season. She didn't make the top thirty to qualify for the second run, but was still thrilled to be able to compete in her adopted home state.
"It's very great and it's so close to home," St-Germain said. "I'm super happy that my fiends can come. I have a bunch of friends from school coming. So it's really fun. And the college people forerunning the race, it's great."
In run two, it would again come to the top two. Shiffrin tried to squeeze every ounce of speed out of the Superstar run. Se crossed the line with the lead by almost three quarters of a second.
But, her deficit to Rebensburg proved to be just a bit too much. The German won the season opener GS in Austria last month, and put together the fastest second run Saturday to claim the victory over Shiffrin by over sixth tenths of a second. Afterward, both skiers said they were honored to perform in front of a crowd that's quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best on the World Cup circuit.
"After last year I saw how big the crowd was, how excited everybody was. I was so proud to show that to the world, because I've raced here. I know how great the fans are here and it's really great that they came out again this year and showed everybody that," Shiffrin said.
"They are all crazy about skiing like we are, so it's really nice to ski here in front of this fair and ski-fanatic crowd," Rebensburg said.
So it's a second place finish for Shiffrin in the giant slalom. On Sunday, it's the slalom, where Shiffrin is the defending champ after earning the win last season.