Alpine legend Ganong announces retirement

Travis Ganong

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — One of the greatest skiers to come out of the Tahoe area is calling it a career.

Travis Ganong, 34, on Thursday announced this will be his final season competing on the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team.

“From a young age I fell in love with the sport of skiing and spending my days outside,” said Ganong in a social media post. “My love of skiing drove me to experience ski racing, which became my obsession and has given me the opportunity to travel the world, make lasting friends, meet my future wife, and build a dream life and career. For this I am grateful to the US Ski Team and I have been proud to represent my country in this way.”

Ganong has represented the U.S. alpine team the past 17 years. He is a two-time Olympian, including fifth-place finish in downhill in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. He also claimed silver at 2015 World Championships at Beaver Creek Resort, in Colorado. The Team Palisades Tahoe skier made his World Cup debut in 2009. He won a World Cup downhill event in Italy in 2014 and won downhill again in Germany in 2017. He landed on the podium six times, including this season when he achieved a career-long goal of standing on the podium at iconic Kitzbühel track where he finished in third place in downhill.

“I achieved my goals by winning World Cups, earning a medal at the World Champs, fighting for podiums at multiple Olympics, and capping it off last month in Kitzbühel with a podium on the Hahnenkamm was an honor,” said Ganong in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “Being an American Downhiller for almost 18 years has been a wild ride! It’s time to transition from ski racing back to the place it all started: a true love for skiing and experiencing an adventurous life lived outdoors.”

Ganong grew up near Alpine Meadows, waking his parents up to ski even during blizzards to be the first on the mountains.

“Whether he was skiing in it or shoveling it off the driveway, he just loved snow,” his father, Rick, said in an interview with the Associated Press. “He revels in it.”

This weekend’s Aspen World Cup will be his penultimate event and final on U.S. snow. The other is the season-ending World Cup finals in Andorra.

“I went into the year knowing this would be my last year racing on the World Cup, after 13 years and almost 200 starts,” Ganong told the Aspen Times. “It’s been really cool to go to all the venues one last time with the mentality it was going to be my last chance. So I’ve had time to process it and say goodbye to some of these legendary downhill tracks and enjoy it one last time.”

Ganong had been scheduled to take part in the first of two downhill training runs on Wednesday ahead of Friday’s race on Aspen Mountain, but fresh snow on course that morning led FIS to cancel the training.

The first men’s downhill at the Aspen World Cup is scheduled for Friday, followed by a second downhill on Saturday and a super-G, which Ganong said he’ll skip, on Sunday.

Ganong currently sits 11th in the downhill standings.

“I’m going to stay really involved in skiing and go down a different path, transition into more of a freeskiing career,” he added. “That’s kind of what my passion has been my whole life growing up. I’m excited for the next chapter, but I’m also excited to ski in Aspen this week. It will be really fun.”

Outside of racing, Ganong has been an advocate for the environment, serving as a Protect Our Winters athlete alliance member. He will be speaking on a panel about sustainability this weekend at the Stifel America’s Cup in Aspen, Colorado.

Skiing-wise, Ganong said he plans to purse more backcountry adventures with fellow World Cup skier and fiancé Marie-Michele Gagnon, who also announced her retirement.

“I recognize an opportunity to continue to work as a professional skier and ambassador to the sport, and integrate meaningful ways to do so, through supporting the movements in climate change, social equity, access to the sport which has given me so much, and do what I can to protect our truly wild places,” added Gagnon. “I am excited to continue on my adventure with Marie-Michele Gagnon, travel adventurously, ski some POW, and ultimately start a family of our own, so that I can pass on my passion for the skiing life.

“I could not be more grateful for the support I have gotten from my family, my friends, and my team throughout my career. And I could not be more excited for the next chapter, and the opportunity to evolve and keep this skiing dream alive. Now let’s go skiing!”

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