On-slope at Worldcup Killington

North American PRO ACADEMY Consultant/Trainer, Andy Lindsey got back behind the sticks of a PistenBully to assist with the grooming of the Women’s World Cup race course at Killington Resort in Vermont (USA).  Killington marked Andy’s 13th World Cup course preparation in North America.  PistenBully was a proud sponsor of the event, donating two 600 winches for the course build.  We sat down with Andy after he returned back to Reno, NV (USA) for an event recap.

How was constructing a World Cup course at Killington different from some of the other resorts you have built courses at? ANDY: At most of the previous builds that I’ve been able to be a part of, the weather was somewhat consistent.  This was not the case at Killington.  One day it would be snowing, the next would be quite warm with high humidity and then all of a sudden it would be in the negative degrees Fahrenheit.  This creates challenges when trying to prepare a consistent top to bottom base.  The crew had to be diligent about mixing the different layers that Mother Nature would provide on a daily basis. What does the step-by-step process of a World Cup build typically look like? ANDY:
  1. It starts with a lot of snowmaking, something that Killington is very good at.  Coming from the West I am very impressed with the extensive snowmaking capabilities that the resort has.
  2. The next step is for the crew to displace the snow in a cohesive manner.  This can take weeks depending on the type of slope and time frame for the race. 
  3. Then features are built into the course, enhanced break overs, rolls, off camber turns, start decks etc.  These are decided with the type of course and by the FIS Technical Director who assigns to the course build preferences. 
  4. Once the course is built and tilled, it is then prepared for watering.  The course is usually watered in sections.  The day before each section is watered the course is “furrowed” or wind rowed.  This allows the water to penetrate deeper in the snow and creates a consistent robust base. 
  5. Focusing on timing, the water is then tilled, the process is called “slush tilling,” this consists of ideally one to two tills over the same surface. 
What challenges did the Killington World Cup build team face? ANDY: Constantly changing weather was a big obstacle.  I am told that this can be expected of the Eastern US.  The crew did an amazing job with the adversity that Mother Nature handed them. Athletes reported once again that the Killington race course was in great condition for racing?  Would you agree?  What, to you, constitutes a “good” race course? ANDY: I would agree, with the ever changing weather conditions the race surface was in great shape and consistent from top to bottom.   To me a “good” race course, is a course that has challenging terrain with a surface that holds up and stays “fair” throughout the race.