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Killington Women’s World Cup: Who to Watch (Besides Mikaela Shiffrin)

Mikaela Shiffrin is the star of the coming showdown, but she’s not the only tech skier to watch anymore.

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The Heroic Killington Cup kicks off of on Saturday, Nov. 26 with a women’s World Cup giant slalom, followed by a women’s World Cup slalom on Sunday, Nov. 27. Tune in live on Outside Watch to see Mikaela Shiffrin go for her first Killington GS win and sixth consecutive Killington slalom victory. Get all the streaming details here

It’s official: the annual Killington World Cup is a go, and in T-minus two days we’ll get to see the world’s best women technical races kick out of the start gate atop Killington’s Superstar course and give it their all in front of one of the biggest crowds on the World Cup circuit.

All eyes will be on American Mikaela Shiffrin, the best slalom racer of all time who started off her 2023 World Cup season with a double slalom victory in Levi, Finland last weekend. But Shiffrin won’t be the only American to watch in Killington.

For the first time in a long time, the U.S. Ski Team boasts a stacked female tech team. In Levi, Team USA had a whopping seven athletes on the start list, including Shiffrin, Paula Moltzan, Nina O’Brien, and a handful of promising up-and-comers like Ava Sunshine, who managed to score World Cup points in her very first World Cup starts.

The talent on the U.S. women’s technical team is undeniable, but if the recent Levi races are any indication, they’ll have their work cut out for them to keep their competition at bay in Killington. We’d argue that no World Cup racing discipline (on the men’s or women’s side) is as fiercely competitive as the women’s slalom and giant slalom these days. Shiffrin, one of the best skiers of all time, admitted that she herself is pushing her limits to stay ahead of her competition in these fields.

“There are quite a few girls who are skiing at a very high level,” she told SKI in 2021. “Just faster and quicker than what I feel like we’ve seen before. The margin of error is smaller.”

Read more: Mikaela Shiffirn is pushing her limits to stay ahead of the competition 

While our money is on Shiffrin and we’ll be rooting for the entire American team in their first race on home snow, here are the other racers we’ll be watching at this year’s Killington races.

Who to watch in the Killington World Cup giant slalom, Nov. 26

Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)

Mikaela Shiffrin with World Cup Crystal Globe
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates winning the 2019 Overall GS World Cup Title with her crystal globe trophy in hand in Andorra. (Photo: JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

Speciality: Slalom
2022 GS Ranking: No. 3
World Cup GS podiums: 31
Times on Killington GS podium: 2 (2017, 2019)

The 27-year-old is a force to be reckoned with in any race she starts in (including the speed events), so you can’t say that giant slalom isn’t one of her specialities—after all, she has 31 World Cup GS podiums and a GS crystal globe to her name.

But if the women’s slalom discipline has gotten competitive over the years, the GS field has become even fiercer. As a result, Shiffrin has had to fight hard for every GS podium she’s made in the last three years and hasn’t enjoyed quite the same success in Killington’s GS event as in the slalom race. She’s finished on the podium twice in the GS here, but never won the race in front of a home crowd.

She’ll surely be looking to change that this time around, especially since she didn’t get a chance to double-down on her GS win in Sölden, Austria this year (the opening GS event for women in late October was canceled due to weather.) Plus, Shiffrin will be kicking out of the GS start gate fresh off two victories in Levi, and once that woman gets on a roll, she keeps rolling.

Tessa Worley (FRA)

France's Tessa Worley attacks a GS gate in Kronplatz, Italy
Tessa Worley attacks the the GS course in her signature aggressive style on January 26, 2021 in Kronplatz, Italy. (Photo: Millo Moravski/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Speciality: Giant Slalom
2022 GS Ranking: No. 1
World Cup GS podiums: 36
Times on Killington GS podium: 1 (2016)

Tessa Worley is the current reigning queen of women’s World Cup GS. The World Cup veteran has not one, but two GS crystal globes in her trophy case, and in the years that she hasn’t won the overall giant slalom title (2017, 2022), she has usually ranked in the top 10 (if not top 3). She’s one of the most aggressive GS skiers on the women’s World Cup circuit, willing to take tighter lines and bigger risks than her competitors. Look for her to do the same on Killington’s Superstar, a course she knows well and has won once.

Sara Hector (SWE)

Mikaela Shiffrin finished third in the 2022 World Cup giant slalom standings, behind Sweden’s Sara Hector in second and winner Tessa Worley. (Photo: Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Speciality: Giant Slalom
2022 GS Ranking: No. 2
World Cup GS podiums: 9
Times on Killington GS podium: 0

Speaking of aggressive giant slalom skiers, Sweden’s Sara Hector is one of the most fun skiers to watch on the women’s circuit these days. For one, she absolutely charges down any and all race hills, no matter how steep or icy (something that should serve her well on Killington’s Superstar track). We also love watching her reactions to her runs in the finish area—whether she had a good or not-so-good run, Hector seems stoked to be racing regardless. Her bright personality aside, Hector has emerged as a major threat on the women’s GS circuit in the last two seasons. She’s landed on the GS podium nine times, and on four of those, she claimed the top spot. If she can ski on the edge without skiing over it in both runs on Saturday, we expect her to nab her 10th GS podium.

Petra Vlhova (SVK)

Petra Vlhova skis GS
Petra Vlhova in action during the women’s GS in Are, Sweden on March 11, 2022. (Photo: Jonas Ericsson/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Speciality: Slalom
2022 GS Ranking: No. 4
World Cup GS podiums: 14
Times on Killington GS podium: 0

Shiffrin’s biggest rival in slalom is also one of her fiercest competitors in the giant slalom event. The 27-year-old from Slovakia has 14 World Cup GS podiums to her name and has been in the top 10 of the women’s GS rankings since 2019. Like Shiffrin, she has yet to land on the Killington GS podium; but unlike Shiffrin, Vlhova has decided to dedicate all of her time and energy to the technical races this World Cup season, meaning she is forgoing training for super-G and downhill in favor of focusing her training in giant slalom and slalom. So expect Vlhova to come down the GS course in Killington with her hair on fire.

Federica Brignone (ITA)

Federica Brignone
Federica Brignone celebrates her podium finish at the Killington World Cup in 2019. (Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

Speciality: Giant Slalom
2022 GS Ranking: No. 6
World Cup GS podiums: 26
Times on Killington GS podium: 2 (2018, 2019)

Federica Brignone doesn’t always ski pretty, but she always skis fast. Like her Italian compatriots Sofia Goggia and Marta Bassino, Brignone’s signature style is throwing caution to the wind when she’s hurling herself down course, and it usually works out in her favor. Though the 2020 overall GS champion didn’t fare as well in the GS rankings last season, she has a history of skiing well in Killington—she scored a second-place finish here in 2019 and won the race in 2018.

Marta Bassino (ITA)

Marta Bassino Killington 2019
Italian Marta Bassino stands atop the Killington GS podium in 2019, flanked by teammate Federica Brignone and Mikaela Shiffrin. (Photo: Steven Earl Photography/U.S. Ski and Snowboard)

Speciality: Giant Slalom
2022 GS Ranking: No. 5
World Cup GS podiums: 15
Times on Killington GS podium: 1 (2019)

Like her teammate Federica Brignone, Marta Bassino struggled to find consistency in her best discipline, the GS, last season. But the 2021 World Cup GS champion has proven that she knows what it takes to win giant slalom races, and win them consistently. Bassino has started in every Killington GS since the inaugural event in 2016 and finished in the top 15 each time; in 2019, she won the event after besting Brignone and Shiffrin. If she shows up with the type of skiing she’s capable of on Saturday, she’s a serious threat.

Who to watch in the Killington World Cup slalom, Nov. 27

Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)

Mikaela Shiffrin Killington slalom
Mikaela Shiffrini en route to her third Killington slalom victory in 2018. (Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Speciality: Slalom
2022 SL Ranking: No. 2
World Cup SL podiums: 68
Times on Killington SL podium: 5 (all victories, 2016-2021)

The slalom has become the marquee event at Killington because of Mikaela Shiffrin—American racing fans get to see the best slalom racer of all time dominate her competition on home snow and a home slope (Shiffrin spent her youth at Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy and is considered an honorary Vermonter). She won the first Killington World Cup slalom in 2016 and has won every Killington slalom since, shutting out fierce rivals like Petra Vlhova (SLO) and Wendy Holdener (SUI). On Sunday, she will aim to add a sixth consecutive slalom win here to her tally, and if she skis like she did in the opening slaloms of the season in Finland, she’ll pull it off.

Petra Vlhova

Slovakia's Petra Vlhova Beijing Slalom
Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova holds her breath in the finish area of the Beijing Olympic slalom, hoping her second run time holds to secure her an Olympic medal. In the end, she won gold. (Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Speciality: Slalom
2022 SL Ranking: No. 1
World Cup SL podiums: 37
Times on Killington SL podium: 4 (2017, 2018, 2019, 2021)

Expect the 2022 overall slalom champion to give Shiffrin a run for her money in Sunday’s slalom. Since 2017, Vlhova has ended up second to Shiffrin in every Killington slalom, a position she’s surely getting tired of. If Vlhova can string together two clean, fast runs (something she struggles with on occasion), she has perhaps the best shot of any other competitor at overtaking Shiffrin at her best race.

Lena Duerr (GER)

Speciality: Slalom
2022 SL Ranking: No. 3
World Cup SL podiums: 4
Times on Killington SL podium: 0

Germany’s Lena Duerr had a breakout season in 2021, starting with two back-to-back podiums in Levi. She nearly repeated that feat this year, but struggled to hold on to her Run 1 lead by posting a strong second run (the same fate that befell her at the Beijing Olympics). She finished fifth in last season’s Killington slalom, and with that positive recent experience on the Superstar track, combined with her strong showings throughout the rest of the 2022 season, we expect to see her near or on the podium in Killington’s slalom.

Wendy Holdener (SUI)

Mikaela Shiffrin wins the second Levi slalom in 2022
Wendy Holdener settles for another second place finish behind Mikaela Shiffrin in the 2022 Levi slalom. (Photo: Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Speciality: Slalom
2022 SL Ranking: No. 5
World Cup SL podiums: 30
Times on Killington GS podium: 2 (2016, 2021)

Other than Shiffrin, Wendy Holdener is perhaps the most consistent slalom skier in the world. The Swiss racer has a whopping 30 World Cup podiums to her name in this discipline, but she’s never managed to claim a victory in a World Cup event. She always seems to be on the unlucky side of a few one-hundredths of a second, landing her in second or third (usually right behind Shiffrin and/or Vlhova) instead of on the top spot. While we’re rooting for Shiffrin all the the way in Killington, we’re also pulling for Holdener to finally get what she deserves for her textbook slalom skiing.

Anna Swenn Larsson (SWE)

Anna Swenn Larsson
Sweden’s Anna Swenn Larsson finished third behind Petra Vlhova and Mikaela Shiffrin in the 2019 Killington slalom. (Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

Speciality: Slalom
2022 GS Ranking: No. 10
World Cup GS podiums: 6
Times on Killington SL podium: 1 (2019)

The Swedish women’s tech team is not messing around these days. Of the handful of seriously talented skiers on that team, Anna Swenn Larsson is right at the top of the pile in the slalom discipline. She broke out onto the scene in 2019, ranking fourth in the world after a season of landing on or near the podium. Unfortunately, she missed the majority of the 2020-’21 season after contracting covid and dealing with longer-term side effects. But she came back last season and pretty much picked up where she left off. Swenn Larsson has one of the most aggressive styles in women’s slalom, and when she can pull off two strong runs in her signature style, she’s undoubtedly a podium threat. Her struggle is skiing on the edge without skiing over it and crashing out of the course.

Paula Moltzan (USA)

Paula Moltzan
American Paula Moltzan has the potential to be a regular podium contender in women’s World Cup slalom. She just needs to string together two fast runs. (Photo: Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Speciality: Slalom
2022 SL Ranking: No. 19
World Cup SL podiums: 0
Times on Killington GS podium: 0

American Paula Moltzan was once considered an underdog on the World Cup circuit, but no more. After a breakout season in 2021, Moltzan found herself ranked 11th in the world in slalom. Since then, she’s struggled with consistency a bit, posting blazing fast first runs only to crash and DNF in the second run. But if she can do what she’s known to do in training, which is, ski so fast and aggressively that she pushes training partner Mikaela Shiffrin to her skiing limits, she’s a shoe-in for the podium. Especially in Killington, a mountain that Molztan, a University of Vermont graduate, knows well.

How to watch the women’s Killington World Cup

  • The sixth annual Killington World Cup takes place Nov. 26-27, 2022 on Killington’s Superstar track
  • Stream the first run of the women’s World Cup giant slalom live at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 26 on Outside Watch, or the Outside TV app, available on AppleAndroidRoku, or Fire TV streaming devices
  • Stream the first run of the women’s slalom live at 10:15 a.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 27 on Outside Watch, or the Outside TV app, available on AppleAndroidRoku, or Fire TV streaming devices
  • Outside+ members have unrestricted access to the live stream of the second runs of both events on Outside Watch or the Outside TV app, plus on-demand streaming after live coverage ends

See the full schedule and learn more about how to watch the Killington races on Outside Watch here.