Business & Economy

Covid cancels Vermont’s two largest snow-sports events

A record crowd estimated at more than 40,000 people cheer on World Cup racing in 2019 at Killington Ski Resort. Photo by Andrew Shinn

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of Vermont’s two largest snow-sports events, the Killington World Cup and Brattleboro Harris Hill ski jump.

The fifth annual Killington event was set to bring the best female downhill skiers to the state on Thanksgiving weekend as part of an international racing tour that now will take place entirely in Europe.

“It’s unfortunate that we can’t bring thousands of fans together for another World Cup race this season,” Killington president Mike Solimano said in a statement, “but we fully support the decision and know it’s best for the health and wellbeing of our community, guests and employees given the current health crisis.”

Killington — which hopes to host a World Cup return in 2021 — will open to the public this winter but delay its traditionally early start to Nov. 14, when only pass holders will be permitted until the resort assesses its safety precautions and capacity limits.

Brattleboro’s Harris Hill ski jump, for its part, was scheduled to hold its annual competition in February in advance of its centennial in 2022.

“We considered the enormous health risks to the jumpers, coaches and judges coming from around the country and overseas,” event co-directors Kate McGinn and Liz Richards said in a statement. “Those risks would extend to the hundreds of volunteers who staff the competition and the thousands of spectators who come from all over New England.”

Harris Hill
Slovenian Blaz Pavlic topped the field last Presidents Day weekend at Brattleboro’s most recent Harris Hill Ski Jump. Photo by Dana Sprague

Since its start in 1922, the Brattleboro event has attracted ski jumpers from North America and Europe who leap off New England’s only Olympic-size venue and one of just six 90-meter hills in the country.

“Planning for an event of this scope would normally start this month,” McGinn and Richards said, “but we feel that it would be irresponsible to begin efforts based upon hope that a vaccine would render everyone safe in time.”

The ski jump — which may hold some sort of online program — has been canceled only 10 times in its history for lack of snow, World War II or, most recently, to rebuild the hill to international standards.

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Kevin O'Connor

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