Mikaela Shiffrin (copy)

Mikaela Shiffrin speaks in an interview at the base of Superstar Trail at Killington prior to her second slalom race during last year’s FIS Ski World Cup.

KILLINGTON — The Audi FIS Ski World Cup will spend two more years at Killington Resort.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced Monday it had signed a contract with POWDR, Killington’s parent company, to keep the World Cup at the resort through 2020. The event includes the women’s giant slalom and slalom races, the latter of which U.S. Ski Team racer Mikaela Shiffrin has won each year since the competition was first held at Killington in 2016.

Killington spokeswoman Courtney DiFiore said the event was not only a boon for attendance — it pulled in an estimated 39,000 spectators over three days last year — but also spurred the resort on to more intense early season snowmaking, which pays dividends come spring.

“We have to get this huge base ready for Olympic athletes on Superstar,” she said. “We just closed yesterday. We made it to June. This helps us do that.”

Promotional materials from Killington touted the event as bringing in “millions of dollars” to the state. More precise estimates of the economic impact were not readily available Monday, but Killington Pico Area Association Executive Director Michael Coppinger said that during the 2018 event, lodging occupancy was up 11% over the previous year and restaurant business was up 15%.

“As I recall, the forecast leading up to that weekend was outstanding for Friday and Saturday,” he said. “Unfortunately, Sunday got all of that rain.”

Regardless of weather, he said World Cup attendance at Killington has increased each year.

“The exposure to the Killington area and the whole Killington Valley region is huge,” he said. “A worldwide television audience is watching it at home. It’s invaluable what that does for the resort.”

Coppinger also said the resort has fine-tuned its handling of the event each year.

“It seems like a well-oiled machine,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of chaos behind the scenes, but you as an event-goer wouldn’t see that.”

The event’s continued presence is also a boon to the regional marketing campaign, according to Steve Costello, one of the effort’s organizers.

“Killington is definitely playing a large role in recruitment,” Costello said. “A lot of folks who moved here recently, specifically want to be near the mountain. ... Probably four or five families I can think of specifically said Killington was one of the main draws for them.”

With the event increasing Killington’s profile, Costello said, it will become an even greater draw.

DiFiore said tickets for the grandstand will go on sale in August, but there will continue be ample free space slopeside for spectators.

gordon.dritschilo

@rutlandherald.com

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