Ganong named male athlete of the year

Tahoe legend closes career out with Stifel Alpine Award

Travis Ganong

SUN VALLEY, Idaho — Travis Ganong may have competed in his final race for Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team, but he’s not quite finished collecting awards.

Ganong was named the team’s male athlete of the year on Monday following his final season competing in World Cup racing.

Ganong, 34, last month announced his retirement from professional ski racing. He represented the U.S. alpine team the past 17 years, and is a two-time Olympian, including a fifth-place finish in downhill in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. The Team Palisades Tahoe skier 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.

Ganong landed on the podium six times, including a third-place finish in downhill this season at the iconic Kitzbuhel venue. Ganong said it was a career-long goal of finishing on the podium at Kitzbuhel and one that he prioritized coming into his final year of ski racing.

“My goal this season was to push it and I’m happy with what I did and I can walk away being satisfied on what Kitzbuhel gave me,” said Ganong following the race. “It was a pleasure to ski here — I love this place.”

Mikaela Shiffrin took home the women’s athlete of the year award after surpassing numerous records, including moving into first place for most career World Cup wins.

Team Palisades Tahoe’s Nina O’Brien was named the women’s comeback skier of the year. O’Brien suffered a broken leg after a crash at last the 2022 Winter Olympics. O’Brien, 25, bounced back with a pair of slalom win at the Italian national championships. She also took first place in team parallel at the World Championships, and picked up a Nor-Am wins in giant slalom and slalom.

O’Brien said she recently had the rod taken out of her leg, marking the fifth surgery she’s had in her career.

In total nine awards were handed out. New this year, U.S. Alpine Ski Team athletes voted on the award categories. The winners also received a $3,000 check. In previous years, athletes did not vote on the categories, and the awards were given out at U.S. Ski & Snowboard Congress.

“Each person that received this award has a tremendous story in the sport, whether it is a comeback, a success story, or just being an overall valuable member of the team,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief of Sport Anouk Patty in Monday’s announcement.

Many of the winners did not know about these awards and it was a welcome surprise, announced on Sunday in Sun Valley. 

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