Ganong gets a tune-up
PARK CITY, Utah ” Olympic Valley skier Travis Ganong was one of six athletes bound for Junior Worlds from Feb. 23-March 1 who competed in the NDS Invitational this past week.
The event, which concluded on Friday, consisted of four Alpine races in three days with the goals of preparing skiers heading to the Junior World Championships and giving junior racers a chance to ski against the U.S. Ski Team.
Park City Mountain Resort in conjunction with the Park City Ski Team and the USSA staff, hosted the races, which included giant slaloms Wednesday and Thursday with back-to-back slaloms Friday.
Competitors included several U.S. Ski Team veterans, including three-time Olympian Erik Schlopy, Steven Nyman, Jake Zamansky and an assortment of college and USSA racers.
The top junior was Hunter Schleper of Vail, Colo., who finished fifth, while Ganong, a member of the C Team and the Squaw Valley Ski Team, finished sixth. Ganong also was seventh in Thursday’s giant slalom and eighth in Friday’s slalom race.
Ganong, who left Saturday for Spain to compete in his second Junior Worlds, said the NDS races gave him the tune-up he wanted.
“This was an awesome hill and we had not just great training but some great racing, too, that helps get the rust out before Junior Worlds,” Ganong said.
“These races help get us fired-up and helped us ” helped me ” get the pace back. Last year, we went to Junior Worlds and had no idea who we’d be racing because so many races in Europe were canceled [because of a snow drought].
“This time, though, we know who we’ll be skiing against because we’ve seen them on the Europa Cup tour. It’s been good to be with some of the older guys ” Schlopy and the others ” and to see how they attack the hill. I thought the total experience was awesome.”
Ganong said he was looking to medal in the speed events, downhill and super G. So, getting an opportunity to spend time along with Nyman ” a World Cup downhill winner after collecting two medals at the 2002 Junior Worlds was priceless.
“After the first GS, we went free skiing, and I got to spend a lot of time talking about so much stuff, being ready to race, mind-set, just everything. He’s awesome,” Ganong said.