KILLINGTON — The Special Olympics Winter Games return for a second year to Pico Mountain, with Sunday opening ceremonies.
The event is expected to draw several hundred people, said Kelsey Conway, marketing and development manager for Special Olympics Vermont. There will be 19 delegations from across the state, totaling 344 delegates. Most, 199, are athletes. The rest, 12 partners, 72 coaches and 61 support staff members, make up the rest of the folks tied to the event.
Conway said it’s expected that people from the area will attend as well to watch.
This is the second year of a three-year contract Special Olympics Vermont has with Killington Ski Resort, which owns Pico. Conway said the winter games had been held at Suicide Six Ski Resort on Woodstock, but it outgrew that venue.
“This is one of our more popular games,” Conway said.
Special Olympics Vermont holds games in the summer, fall, winter and holidays. They’re held all across the state, but the Winter Games are the only ones held in the Rutland County area, Conway said.
The winter games will consist of four events, alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Conway said most events are being held at Pico, except cross country skiing, which will take place on the golf course across from the Killington Grand Resort Hotel.
She said it’s amazing to see all of the athletes compete, but the advanced alpine skier division has been known to really wow audiences.
Sunday’s opening ceremonies mirror the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, except on a smaller scale. The Flame of Hope will be skied down the mountain and the cauldron lit by the law enforcement team.
According to the event schedule, check-in for delegations is from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Ticket Center at Pico Mountain. The Parade of Athletes will go through the Pico Mountain Base Area starting at 6:45 p.m. Opening Ceremonies will be from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
On Monday, there will be a breakfast held at Pico from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Volunteer check-in is from 7:45 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. at Pico Ski Club. Volunteer training will be from 8:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. A Coaches Meeting at each venue will begin at 9 a.m. Events will take place from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. at various locations. Lunch is at Pico Base Lodge from noon to 1:30 p.m. At 5:45 p.m. there will be a banquet at the Oscar Wilde Ballroom at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel. An ‘80s themed dance will be held at the same location from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, breakfast at Pico is set for 8:30 a.m. Volunteers will check in at Pico Ski Club between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Volunteer training is at 9 a.m. Coaches meet at venues at 9:30 a.m. Events are between 9:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Barbecue lunch is at 11:30 a.m..