Shiffrin spotlights weekend action in Killington – The Daily Gazette

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The ski season is BACK!

We know this because while there might not be snow in our garden, some areas in our region are open at least to a limited extent and almost all of them produce snow when nighttime temperatures drop below. zero.

And, the best female skiers on the planet are gathering in Killington for World Cup slalom and giant slalom races this weekend.

A few years ago, I was in a waiting room sitting next to a nationally recognized financial expert. So naturally we started talking – sports, of course. He lived in Chicago and was very happy that for a wedding anniversary surprise his wife bought tickets to a Bulls game. It was at the height of the Michael Jordan era and my new friend was going to see the greatest of all time play up close.

The price of these tickets? $ 680 each, he told me – and, remember, that was years ago.

Now, seeing a GOAT in person is a treat for any sports fan. How much would you pay for tickets to see Tom Brady play football? Or LeBron James plays basketball?

Where does Mikaela Shiffrin ski?

Shiffrin, who is only 26, has already won 71 World Cup races in his career, which, barring injuries, is expected to last until his 30s. Only Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark with 86 wins and American Lindsey Vonn with 82 have won more international ski competitions than Shiffrin, and both are retired.

So, is Shiffrin the goat on the snow?

A lot of people think so. She is a six-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. In three World Cup starts in Europe this season, she has one victory and two second places.

Clearly, she’s on her game. . and you can see her running this Saturday and Sunday in Killington. While living in Colorado, Shiffrin has family in our area. She went to school at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont and has won the slalom competition against the world’s top runners every year since the World Cup arrived in Vermont in 2017.

The cost of a general admission day ticket this weekend, which can be purchased online at killton.com/worldcup: just $ 5.

Killington, as area skiers know, has a massive snowmaking system in place and over 120 snow cannons have been dumping snow all month on the Superstar Trail where both races will be held. The zone is ready.

There had been no World Cup ski competition in the area last year due to COVID restrictions, but the competition in the past in Killington has proven popular. The 2018 races drew more than 39,000 spectators, a record for a World Cup event in the United States. The races are also expected to be back next year.

Adding additional interest to the event this time around, it offers a glimpse into women’s competition three months from now at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Shiffrin, who is best known for her slalom skills, says she plans to compete in the five Olympic downhill skiing events this winter. This weekend will be a good test against two of her strongest rivals, Slovakia Petra Vlhova and Austria’s Katherina Liensburger who won the world titles in slalom and giant slalom last winter when Shiffrin took time off following the death. from his father. Vlhova edged Shiffrin in both slalom races last weekend in Finland.

This season is off to a good start for American women. Schiffrin claimed her World Cup slalom victory in Solden, Austria, and her teammates Paula Moltzan and Nina O’Brien also competed there. The United States will enter five women in World Cup events this weekend.

Is Shiffrin the GOAT? This is a great opportunity to see for yourself.

If you are planning to go and early indications point to decent seasonal weather, be aware that spectators will need to provide proof that they have been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID within the previous 72 hours. Parking for the event is free. There is a free shuttle system to the hill, but passengers will need to wear masks on buses.

SONNTAG AT SUN VALLEY

A native of Clifton Park, Pete Sonntag, who began his career in the resort industry working as golf course maintenance staff in Beaver Creek, Colorado, is the new vice president and general manager of The Sun Valley Resort in Idaho.

This is not his first exposure to the major ski leagues. Sonntag comes from Vail Resorts where he was vice president. His experience includes senior management in areas of Colorado, California, and Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia.

In her new role, Sontag is responsible for the day-to-day operations of America’s oldest destination, founded in 1936. Sonntag’s daughter, Katie, is a senior at Union College and a member of the women’s hockey team for four years. years.

PAT CUNNINGHAM

One of the central figures in the growth and popularity of skiing in our region for over 50 years passed away last summer.

Pat Cunningham of North Creek was a leading competitor in the late 1950s and 1960s, and took over the family ski business Barn from Cunningham in his hometown in the 1970s. He also developed the store. of the same name in Lake Placid and repeatedly operated retail stores in Tupper Lake and Vermont.

Cunningham is also credited with the development of whitewater rafting activity on the Hudson River, which is one of the mainstays of the summer recreation industry in the Adirondacks.

He was 81 when he died in July. His son Tyler operates family businesses.

KNOW THE REGULATIONS

A year ago, statewide protocols guided ski area operations. In New York City, the restrictions appear to have brought people closer to home, which has boosted businesses across the region. Neighboring Vermont has placed restrictions on out-of-state travel and ski tourism has taken a hit.

There doesn’t appear to be any general regulations in place this year – at least so far – with areas adopting their own policies on lodge capacity, ticket access, masking and social distancing.

Given the diversity of practices and the changing impact of the virus, be sure to check your ski destination’s website ahead of time to understand the rules.

Contact Phil Johnson at [email protected].

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