It was probably inevitable, but the news that the World Cup will not be making its stop at Killington later this year still stings.
The Homelight Killington Cup race had been one of the most popular stops on the local ski circuit over the last four years, with thousands descending upon the Vermont resort to cheer on the women racers, including local hero and Burke Mountain Academy product Mikaela Shiffrin, in particular.
But the coronavirus pandemic has stripped the festival from taking place this November.
Following a decision made jointly by the International Ski Federation, National Ski Associations and local organizing committees in Canada and the U.S.A, the Alpine Skiing World Cup tour will be limited to to Europe through early December.
That means in addition to the Killington Cup, there will be no races at Lake Louise, Canada or Beaver Creek, Colo. Those races will take place in Val d’sere for the men, and St. Moritz for the women, Therese Brisson, CEO of Alpine Canada told skiracing.com.
“We take a lot of pride in hosting the FIS Ski World Cup at Killington and we’re disappointed that we won’t be able to host it this year,” Killington president Mike Solimano said in a statement. “It’s a world-class event that brings the entire Killington community together every fall to celebrate the world’s fastest female ski racers. It’s unfortunate that we can’t bring thousands of fans together for another World Cup race this season, but we fully support the FIS’ decision and know it’s best for the health and well-being of our community, guests, and employees given the current health crisis. We will continue to focus on the upcoming 2020-2021 winter season and welcoming back fans of ski racing in 2021 for the fifth Killington Cup.”
More than 36,000 spectators saw Italy’s Marta Bassino and Shriffin win the giant slalom and slalom races, respectively, over last Thanksgiving weekend. On the day of the giant slalom, Killington welcomed nearly 20,000 fans.
In addition to the races, the festival atmosphere, complete with concerts from top musical acts, had become the unofficial beginning to ski season in New England, a kickoff that will have to wait at least another year.
“As much as we regret not being able to host the HomeLight Killington Cup this year, we have to be smart, keep everyone safe and focus efforts on keeping Killington operating in these challenging times,” Herwig Demschar, chair of the local organizing committee, said. “I am confident that the dedication of our volunteers, the support of our community and the passion of our fans will not be diminished by our hiatus, and we look forward to getting together again next year to celebrate the women who will continue to train and compete to be the best in the world.”