Bennett claims first World Cup victory

Local skier Bryce Bennett picked up his first career World Cup victory, taking first place in downhill at Val Gardena, Italy.

The Team Palisades Tahoe member was a few tenths of a second behind the leader through much of his run before taking the lead near the bottom of the course.

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about what a win would mean,” said Bennett in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “It’s everything I thought it would be. I’ve been skiing poorly through the last few races, and here I felt really good and I just let it flow. It’s just frustrating when you have bad training runs and bad races, but here, anything can happen for me. I had a good plan. Honestly my expectations were a top 10 and then when I crossed the line and it was green, I was more than excited.”

The win on Saturday marked the first victory in downhill by a U.S. men’s skier since fellow Team Palisades Tahoe skier Travis Ganong won in January 2017. Bennett, 29, finished the course at Val Gardena with a time of 2 minutes, 2.42 seconds, edging Austrian skier Otmar Striedinger by 0.14 seconds. Bennett’s previous best finish in World Cup racing was fourth place — a result he’s achieved three times, including twice in downhill at Val Gardena. The win also moved Bennett into seventh place in the World Cup downhill standings.

Ganong finished in 16th place with a time of 2:03.48. He took 10th place the day before in super-G.

“I think if I have a clean run and no mistakes, I’ll be up there with the best any day,” said Ganong in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’ve felt like that for a long time, but then have had a lot of mistakes over the years. I feel really balanced, confident and comfortable on skis right now, so it makes it fun to ski and that’s when results come. It’s a good spot to be in, in an Olympic year like this.”

World Cup racing continues next week with downhill and super-G events in Bormio, Italy.

Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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