Squaw Valley’s Travis Ganong earns first career World Cup win (w/ video)
SANTA CATERINA, Italy — Travis Ganong has flirted with victory on multiple occasions during his rise through the U.S. Ski Team ranks. His hard work and patience paid off on Saturday.
The Squaw Valley speed specialist ate up a new downhill course in Santa Caterina, Italy, to earn his first career World Cup win. Austria’s Matthias Mayer was the only one who got close to Ganong, finishing nine-hundredths back.
“It was a perfect run,” said Ganong, who took advantage of information relayed by U.S. teammate Steven Nyman. “I love to take on a new challenge and a new slope.”
Nyman, who won the previous weekend’s Val Gardena downhill and was on the podium in Beaver Creek, started eighth. After executing his planned line, Nyman radioed advice to Ganong in the 16th starting position.
Ganong took charge from the outset, skiing a straight line to build a lead, then nailing a perfect sweeping turn through the final carousel to take the lead. It was his second career podium after finishing third in Kvitfjell, Norway, last February.
“I went really, really straight in a couple areas. It was really smooth and I was able to carry it all the way down,” Ganong said. “The last big carousel turn I did perfectly — I don’t think I could do that again if I tried.”
“Congratulations to Travis,” said U.S. coach Sasha Rearick. “He pushed hard and skied aggressive right out of the start, and kept that going all the way to the finish line. Aggressive mentality helped him cut line in a couple key spots and also hold his tuck more than others today.”
Nyman ended up 15th as the Americans notched back-to-back downhill wins for the first time since 2008, when Bode Miller and Squaw Valley’s Marco Sullivan accomplished the feat.
Sullivan finished 29th on Saturday, while Bryce Bennett of Squaw Valley was 50th. Jared Goldberg placed 24th and Andrew Weibrecht did not finish. Italy’s Dominick Paris rounded out the podium in third.
The win boosted Ganong into third in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill standings, with Nyman fourth.
“Hopefully this will keep going all year,” Ganong said. “My New Year’s resolution is to do this more often.”
The men’s downhill tour gets a break until the Lauberhorn in Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 16-18. The tech team has a slalom Jan. 6 in Zagreb, Croatia, before heading to Adelboden, Switzerland.
— The information and quotes from this article were provided by the U.S. Ski Team.