Killington’s World Cup weekend could be an inspirational event

World Cup slalom and giant slalom races will be held on Killington's Superstar trail on Nov. 26-27. (Chandler Burgess/Killington)
Chandler Burgess/Killington
World Cup slalom and giant slalom races will be held on Killington's Superstar trail on Nov. 26-27.

Sign up for It’s All Downhill skiing and snowboarding newsletter

Julie Parisien was 13 years old when the desire to race at skiing’s highest levels took hold of her.

The 1984 World Junior Championships were being held at Sugarloaf in Maine, and her parents had taken Julie and her three siblings to the mountain for a day of skiing and spectating.

“That was a huge influence on me as a little girl,” said Parisien, who went on to a distinguished career that included three World Cup victories and two Olympics appearances.


“I watched them get in the starting gate, and I watched them come through the finish line and I was like, ‘You know what? I could do that — they do the same thing I do.’ ”

Get Sports Headlines in your inbox:
The most recent sports headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Tiger Shaw, who runs the US Ski Team, wants that exact scene to play out again, a thousand times over, when the first World Cup skiing event in New England in 25 years is held at Killington in Vermont this weekend.

“So many people say their exposure to ski racing is watching the Olympics or a World Cup, and then saying, ‘That’s what I want to do,’ ” said Shaw, president and CEO of the US Ski and Snowboard Association. “We’re hoping that happens with thousands of kids at Killington.”

Killington’s women’s giant slalom and slalom events will be the first World Cup races in New England since Waterville Valley hosted the World Cup finals in 1991. Parisien won the women’s giant slalom that day, and it remains one of her most treasured victories because in addition to being a breakthrough both personally and for the US ski team — “Parisien takes giant step for US skiers” was the Globe’s headline — it was basically a home win.

March 22 1991 / Waterville Valley, NH. / AFP Photo / FIRST WORLD CUP VICTORY / Julie Parisien, 19, of Auburn, Maine, cuts around a gate during the women's World Cup giant slalom at Waterville Valley. Parisien won the event, her first ever World Cup victory. worldcup
AP file photo
Julie Parisien was 19 when she posted her first World Cup victory, at Waterville Valley in 1991.

“It was like a family get-together race,” said Parisien, a registered nurse who lives in Maine with her husband, Tim Nuce, and their four children. “It was a beautiful spring day, and it was like I was meant to win here because everybody’s here to see me win.”


Since Parisien’s Waterville victory, the Northeast has produced some of US skiing’s biggest names, such as New Hampshire native Bode Miller and Burke Mountain Academy’s Mikaela Shiffrin, who will be among the favorites to win at Killington. But their grandest stages have been elsewhere, from the Rockies to Europe and beyond.

Globe archive
The Globe’s article following Parisien’s victory in 1991.

There’s no clear-cut reason for World Cup ski racing’s absence from New England. Instead, it’s been a combination of factors: ski racing politics, areas tending to hang on to their events, and extremely high costs associated with putting on an event.

“It’s about time. We have so many fabulous mountains here,” Parisien said. “We’ve had so many athletes from the Northeast that I think people would have loved to have seen. They really should have had a men’s event at some point here.”

Cannon held the first New England World Cup in 1967, and others have been at Sugarloaf, Stratton, and Waterville Valley. Some of ski racing’s biggest names have recorded victories in New England, including Jean-Claude Killy, Ingemar Stenmark, Tamara McKinney, Vreni Schneider, Alberto Tomba, and Phil and Steve Mahre.

March 11 1984 / AP photo / WATERVILLE, VALLEY, NH / HAPPY WINNERS / Second place winner Erika Hess (left) and third place winner Cristin Cooper of the USA (right) and winner of the World Cup women's giant slalom Tamara McKinney (center) rejoice after Sunday's race. McKinney won both the slalom and giant slalom at Waterville. worldcup
AP file photo
Tamara McKinney (center) won three World Cup events at Waterville Valley in the 1980s.

Since taking over as head of the USSA in 2014, Shaw — who is from Vermont, went to college at Dartmouth, and was a distinguished ski racer himself — has been interested in increasing ski racing’s exposure in New England as he searches for and develops new talent. This weekend is a logical step in that effort, he said.


“It moves it into the stratosphere because of the proximity of so many ski racers and resorts,’’ he said. “So many people are coming. It’s going to have a big impact.”

Years ago, another accomplished skier saw what Shaw is looking for. Stenmark, the legendary slalom and giant slalom specialist from Sweden, was among the many internationals to attend the same World Juniors at Sugarloaf as the Parisiens.

Julie Parisien said her parents tell a story about riding a chairlift with Stenmark and talking about ski racing.

“I remember the story of him saying, ‘I’ve been watching all these little kids skiing here and this is such a great mountain, and such a difficult mountain, and there are some very, very good skiers,’ ” she said.

Her parents then informed Stenmark that their four children were among the young skiers he’d seen.

“And Stenmark says something like, ‘Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if they make it onto the US ski team,’ ’’ Parisien said.

New England’s World Cup history

Past New England World Cup skiing events, with event winners (S — slalom; GS — giant slalom; D — downhill):

1967, Cannon Mountain: Marielle Goitschel (S); Christine Beranger (GS); Isabelle Mir (D); Jean-Claude Killy (S, GS, D).

1969, Waterville Valley: Kiki Cutter (S); Bernadette Rauter (GS); Jean-Noel Augert (S); Dumeng Giovanoli (GS).

1971, Sugarloaf: Michelle Jacot (GS); Annemarie Moser-Proell (D); Gustavo Thoeni (GS); Stefano Anzi (D); Bernhard Russi (D).

1978, Waterville Valley: Lise-Marie Morerod (GS); Andreas Wenzel (GS).

1978, Stratton: Perrine Pelen (S); Hanni Wenzel (GS); Steve Mahre (S); Phil Mahre (GS).

1980, Waterville Valley: Perrine Pelen (S); Hanni Wenzel (GS); Ingemar Stenmark (S); Hans Enn (GS).

1982, Waterville Valley: Ursula Konzett (S); Irene Epple (GS).

1983, Waterville Valley: Roswitha Steiner (S); Tamara McKinney (GS).

1984, Waterville Valley: Tamara McKinney (S, GS).

1985, Waterville Valley: Tamara McKinney (S); Vreni Schneider (GS).

*1986, Waterville Valley: Roswitha Steiner (S); Vreni Schneider (GS).

**1986, Waterville Valley: Erika Hess (S); Vreni Schneider (GS).

1989, Waterville Valley: Alberto Tomba (S); Urs Kaelin (GS).

1991, Waterville Valley: Pernilla Wiberg (S); Julie Parisien (GS); Thomas Fogdoe (S); Alberto Tomba (GS).

*-spring; **-fall; sources:; Boston Globe

Killington World Cup schedule

Giant slalom: Saturday, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Slalom: Sunday, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

TV: Saturday and Sunday, NBC, 3 p.m.

Follow Matt Pepin on Twitter at @mattpep15.