Bennett skis to career-best super-G finish
Squaw Valley alpine racer Bryce Bennett posted a career-best finish in super-G at Sunday’s World Cup stop in Saalbach, Austria.
Bennett, 28, led all U.S. skiers at the event, finishing in ninth place with a time of 1 minute, 25.15 seconds. Swiss skier Marco Odermatt, 23, won the super-G race with a time of 1:23.59.
Bennett’s previous best super-G result was a 20th-place finish in Santa Caterina, Italy, in December 2016. He also reportedly chose to stay in Europe following the World Championships in Italy in order to train with the Austrians at Saalbach and work through ongoing equipment issues.
“It’s been a pretty tough season … but with that, in the last month and a half, Leo — my technician — and I, along with my whole team at Fischer, have gotten on the same page and started working in a good direction together,” said Bennett in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “We’ve been testing a lot of stuff, and we’re trying to advance the product, which has been difficult…but we’ve been making steps in the right direction. Coming to Saalbach for training was good, to test it out. Hopefully, we don’t make the same mistake twice, but it’s ski racing and in ski racing, you’re probably going to make that mistake 50 more times, so we’ll see.”
Bennett’s height at 6 feet, 7 inches tall, along with a shortened prep period due to COVID-19, have played a factor in the equipment challenges he’s faced this season.
“The canting of the boots — if it’s off by literally 0.1 of a degree, the skiing is totally different with my long shins and long legs … if it’s off by a little bit at the bottom, it’s huge at the top of the leg, so it’s super difficult to figure out,” added Bennett. “Just takes some time.”
Another skier with ties to Squaw Valley, Erik Arvidsson, 24, also cracked the top 10 in Austria, claiming an eighth place in downhill on Saturday.
“The whole team is going in a good direction,” said Bennett. “There was some good skiing that happened yesterday…and Erik skied so well. I mean, he is an incredible skier. There’s no denying that. He’s really good, he works so hard. It’s cool to see him so motivated and focused…I haven’t seen that in him in a very long time, and I’ve been around him for a long time. He wants to race World Cup and he wants to be successful at it, and all season long he’s been a sponge — he’s just been learning and learning and learning. He executed perfectly yesterday, skied so well top to bottom, and it just shows his capabilities. It’s cool to have him around, too, pushing us. He has serious focus, and it paid off for him. I’m psyched for our whole team and the results the team is collectively putting down.”
Squaw Valley’s Travis Ganong, 32, was also in action this weekend, claiming 36th in downhill and 28th in super-G.
The men’s speed time will now have a break prior to heading to Lenzerheide, Switzerland, for the World Cup Finals, which are set to get underway with training on Monday.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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