Travis Ganong made the Olympic ski team a year ago, which was a major goal. This weekend he reached another career milestone – winning a World Cup event.
Ganong, who trains at Squaw Valley ski resort in Lake Tahoe, dominated on the new course on the men’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour, finishing first at the Santa Caterina downhill Sunday (Dec. 28).
Ganong, 26, first began skiing as a child on the slopes of Squaw Valley, where he participated in the Mighty Mites program. He continued to develop his skills as a standout member of the Squaw Valley Ski Team.
A traditional site for women’s downhill, including World Championships in 1985 and 2005, it was first time for the men on the Deborah Campognini downhill, which Ganong used to his advantage.
“It was a perfect run,” Ganong said. “I love to take on a new challenge and a new slope. I love the hill – the mountains are huge here and it’s fun skiing.”
Austria’s Matthias Mayer was the only one who got close to Ganong, finishing in second, with Italy’s Dominick Paris in third.
Ganong took advantage of information from teammate Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT), who won last weekend’s Val Gardena downhill and was on the podium in Beaver Creek. Nyman started out for the USA in the eighth starting position, executing his planned line but finding clearly where time could be gained.
His radioed advice to Ganong that proved beneficial. Starting 16th, Ganong took charge of the race from the outset. He skied a very straight line to build a lead, then nailed a perfect sweeping turn through the final carousel to take the lead.
This is Ganong’s second career podium after finishing third in Kvitfjell, Norway last February. The win boosted him into third place in the World Cup downhill standings. His next race is the Lauberhorn in Wengen, Switzerland Jan. 16-18.
Last February, Ganong represented the United States in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Ganong place 5th in the downhill in Sochi, .31 seconds shy of the bronze medal time of Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud. Ganong finished 23rd in the super-G.