Ahead of this weekend's Audi FIS Women's Ski World Cup races at Vermont's Killington Resort, top athletes had a chance Tuesday to practice on the race course.
"It's a pretty nice, interesting course — quite short, so it needs to be full gas from the start to the finish line," observed Ana Bucik, a Slovenian ski racer.
U.S. Ski Team member Nina O'Brien, a Dartmouth College student and graduate of Vermont's Burke Mountain Academy, said Killington hosting the event for four years now has really helped solidify the state's international reputation in the ski world.
"A few years ago, the World Cup tour probably didn't know Killington or what the East Coast ski racing community was like," O'Brien told necn and NBC10 Boston. "And now, the entire World Cup knows Killington for the energy that the crowd brings."
Killington hopes to attract 40,000 or more fans for this weekend's races, concerts and other events.
Many will come to see two-time Olympic gold medalist and New England favorite Mikaela Shiffrin, who necn and NBC10 Boston spotted Tuesday after training. Shiffrin's looking to defend her Killington Cup.
"Here, it's a really warm crowd," Italian ski racer Irene Curtoni said of the fans who come for the Killington Cup. "They cheer, really, for everybody. And I think that's really a good thing. We go in a lot of places, and not every time they [cheer] like this."
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Homelight Killington Cup festivities kick off Friday, with races set for Saturday and Sunday.