KILLINGTON, Vt. — The last time New England hosted an FIS World Cup race, Auburn native Julie Parisian — who grew up skiing at Lost Valley Ski Area there — won the women’s giant slalom.

The year was 1991; the place, Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.

Parisien, whose married name is Nuce, is busy raising a family and working as a nurse in Central Maine, but the memories of that experience — and those that followed — remain vivid.

“It was a great moment for me,” she said.

Parisien had been a young junior racer on the European circuit, but had only a couple of World Cup races under her belt.

Back in the states, the U.S. Ski Team headed out west in early March for a World Cup tune-up race in the then-CanAm, U.S.-Canada race circuit.


Parisian came from the back of the pack to win the women’s giant slalom.

“It was a big shock to all of the European coaches and all of the World Cup teams,” she said. “I was just a young kid and I won this race.”

Because she had made a “huge” mistake on her second run, by her own reckoning, the other coaches had doubted she’d won. They believed the timing apparatus had failed.

He own coaches knew better.

“She’s been really fast lately; I’m not surprised this happened,” they’d said.

Three days later, in a Vail, Colorado, World Cup women’s GS, Parisien again came from out of nowhere to finish fifth.


“When I did that, all of the athletes knew my name now. I was the new kid on the block,” she said.

The European coaches who had doubted her earlier result now congratulated her.

The team flew east.

Parisien was back on familiar snow, having grown up racing in northern New England during her middle and high school years.

Classmates from Burke Mountain Academy as well as Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine and her Auburn family went to Waterville Valley to cheer her on.

She still has a photo of herself crossing the finish line, registering that she’d won, and raising both hands in the air.


It was her first World Cup race win. She was 19 years old.

“It was really a homecoming,” she said. The photo shows faces in the crowd she can identify as friends and family members.

Parisian said she’s surprised it’s taken a quarter century for the World Cup to return to the northeast.

“I’m glad that it’s back,” she said.

At Killington this weekend, all eyes likely will be on Mikaela Shiffrin, who, like Parisian, was a young phenom out of Burke Mountain Academy who turned heads at the World Cup early on.

Also like Shiffrin, Parisian had won the first run of her first Olympic slalom. Shiffrin went on to win a gold medal at her Sochi, Russia Olympic debut; Parisien finished fourth at the Albertville, France, Olympics in 1992. She finished fifth in the GS.


Watching Shiffrin’s Olympic performance two years ago, Parisien remembers thinking, “She’s going to win the gold.”

“It struck me how similar we were at that point,” Parisien said.

“That endeared her to me,” Parisien said. “I was like, ‘I gotta watch this girl.’ So, it’s been fun.”

He knew her when

Shiffrin was just 15 years old in January 2011 when she turned heads with her first NorAm (North American) circuit win at Sunday River ski area in Newry.

It was a slalom that ran top to bottom on Monday Mourning, a race trail well known to every Maine ski racer, said Norway, Maine, native Adam Chadbourne, who coached Shiffrin when she was a young Burke Mountain student.


“That was the one that shocked the world,” he said. “The entire Swiss development team was there at the time. Sixteen swiss girls and all of the Canadian national team girls were there.”

Chadbourne, who recently spent more than a week with Shiffrin in Austria helping her to prepare for this season’s World Cup circuit, predicted she’d win Saturday’s GS at Killington.

The Bates College Ski Team alumnus is quick to point out that he claims no credit for Shiffrin’s meteoric success.

“I inherited a phenom” he said. “I did not create a phenom. I’m not a magician. This young lady could ski like hell when I got her. We worked hard. She was laser focused. At 15 she had the maturity of a 20-year-old. She also has ice in her veins.”

The U.S. Ski Team had begun courting Shiffrin for the World Cup circuit when she was still 15. Chadbourne told them, “No.”

“I actually had to argue with them quite a bit because they wanted to put her in with higher level racers and I thought she need to train and continue to develop and get better,” he said.


By the end of the year, she was finally allowed to compete in a World Cup race. She likely would have earned a second run, but got tripped up by an errant ski pole at the start, he said.

She had turned 16 shortly before that race.

The added training had paid off, Chadbourne said, because Shiffrin ended that season having won won the NorAm slalom title at the finals, and, for that reason, a spot on the World Cup circuit for the next year. She also won the U.S. National Championships in slalom, “which blew everybody away because it was pretty high level and she beat them all,” he said.

Now, Shiffrin is poised to possibly win her fourth World Cup slalom globe, but Chadbourne said she has set her sights on a greater challenge.

“I know her goals are very grand,” he said. “She wants to win the GS title, the slalom title, the overall, world championships in slalom and GS.”

Chadbourne has never doubted her ability to reach her goals.

“I believe she will attain them,” he said. “I really do.”

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