How Killington will keep athletes, spectators safe from COVID at World Cup

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST
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KILLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Killington Mountain got the official go-ahead Wednesday to host the Women’s World Cup next week.

The event was postponed last year because of the pandemic, and athletes and spectators will see changes this year.

In about one week, athletes from all over the world will come to Killington for the World Cup. But as COVID cases throughout the region continue to rise, precautions are being taken to keep both the public and the athletes safe.

The snow guns are firing nonstop for the Thanksgiving weekend event. But in order to get a seat in the grandstands, spectators will have to go through a more strict than usual screening process.

“You will be asked to show proof of negative COVID test or proof of vaccine to enter the venue,” said Amy Laramie of Killington Mountain.

Thousands of ski racing fans turn out for the annual event to see the best female athletes in the sport. But, this year, everyone will need a ticket.

“We usually have about 15,000 people each day and we are trying to cut that in about half. Even though it is an outdoor event, we really wanted to be able to get people to be careful in terms of being too close to each other,” said Mike Solimano, the general manager of Killington.

The athletes, which include Mikaela Shiffrin, also face restrictions to protect their health. They will be isolated in a bubble with little interaction with the crowds.

“Athlete signings, our athlete bib presentation won’t be happening,” Laramie said. “We want to make sure they stay as safe as possible and as healthy as possible for the tour and to get them to the Olympics.”

Doctors say COVID-19, with its long-haul effects, can have a big impact on an athlete’s performance.

“A lot of these athletes will complain that they can’t do what they used to do, both in terms of lung capacity. They can’t run like they used to,” said Dr. Joshua White of Gifford Medical Center.

COVID can leave the lungs inflamed, which makes breathing difficult.

“There are case studies of major league baseball players whose batting averages went down after COVID,” White said.

Another common long-haul symptom is “brain fog,” which can affect an athlete’s concentration.

“As a ski racer, I would be concerned about response times,” White said. “You are going to miss gates that you might not have missed.”

But mountain officials say they are doing everything they can to once again make the event a success.

Tickets are still available for Saturday and Sunday’s races. However, the VIP access is sold out.

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Killington announces details on tickets for World Cup

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