Ganong sixth in final World Cup downhill
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland — While Squaw Valley skier Travis Ganong continued his season-long string of quality results on Wednesday, finishing sixth in the World Cup Finals downhill in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety became only the second American man in history to podium in all five events when he tied for second.
Ligety, who started fourth to set the early pace, was just .11 off the winning time of Austrian Matthias Mayer, tying with Italian Christof Innerhofer.
“To be on the podium in every single event in my career is pretty cool — I’m psyched about that,” Ligety said.
Bode Miller finished eighth to give the Americans three top-10 finishes. Miller led the U.S. Ski Team in the final men’s downhill standings, finishing seventh, while Ganong finished a career-best ninth and Ligety pulled into the top 30 in 26th.
The following day Miller rallied to an impressive third-place finish in the World Cup super G final, while Ligety finished fifth and Ganong ninth.
The event — won by Alexis Pinturault of France — wrapped up the men’s speed events for the 2014 season.
Thursday also closed the best-ever season for Ganong, who took 19th in the super G standings. With his podium finish Miller climbed to fifth in the overall super G standings.
“Even though I’m old, I’m not broken down,” Miller said. “Mentally I think I’m just as tough as any of these kids. I know I’m capable of top skiing and my body is holding up great.”
Olympic silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht was on his way to the podium in the super G race when he went out on the shady section of the hill.
Mancuso leads U.S. women
Squaw Valley skier Julia Mancuso, meanwhile, finished 10th to lead the U.S. women in their final downhill of the Alpine World Cup season Wednesday. She then matched the result with another 10th-place finish in Thursday’s super G, which marked the final women’s speed event of the season.
Swiss Lara Gut picked up the downhill win while Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch took the crystal globe, despite not finishing the race. She was helicoptered off the hill.
Truckee’s Stacey Cook finished 18th in both the downhill race and the downhill season standings. Mancuso finished the downhill season ranked 15th, while Leanne Smith ranked 30th.
“Last downhill of the season and you just really have to go for it,” Mancuso said. “It’s a really tough course. It’s a fun hill. I like it. There’s definitely room for improvement (in my downhill season), so I’m just going to keep working to improve and hopefully next year will be going better.
“I just had a lot of things going on with equipment, and that always gets into your head, especially when it’s an important year to be in top form.”
Mancuso’s 10th-place finish in the super G led the U.S. women. Cook finished 11th and Smith 14th.
Thursday concluded the best-ever super G season for Cook, who tied with Mancuso for 15th in the standings. Smith finished 19th in the super G standings.
Gut won the race to secure the World Cup super G championship.
A nations team event is scheduled for Friday, when Miller, Truckee’s Tim Jitloff, David Chodounsky, Mikaela Shiffrin and Mancuso will race in a bracket-style parallel giant slalom.
“I’m excited for the team event,” Mancuso said. “It’s really fun and we’ve got a good team this year, so let’s see what we can do.”
Lapanja wins NorAm slalom title
Lila Lapanja of Incline Village, who used to race for Sugar Bowl and Diamond Peak, secured the NorAm slalom title with a podium finish in the final women’s race of that discipline at Canada Olympic Park this week.
Resi Stiegler won the race and was followed by Canada’s Brittany Phelan and Lapanja. Independent skier Hailey Duke of the U.S. finished second in the slalom standings and will also have a guaranteed World Cup start next year along with Lapanja, who finished ninth in the 2012-2013 slalom standings.
“Winning the title was one of my written goals at the beginning of the season,” Lapanja told Ski Racing Magazine. “Consistency, perseverance and luck helped me claim it. I have been working hard all year and searching for that next level. My coach (Seth McCadam) and tech (Gunnar Sorensen) helped give me the tools I needed to succeed, and it was my job to apply them the best I could every race. I’m so thankful for the support I’ve been given, and this result is extremely rewarding for me.”