Squaw’s Bennett takes season-best seventh place in Switzerland
Squaw Valley downhiller Bryce Bennett had his best finish of the World Cup season Saturday, racing to seventh place in Wengen, Switzerland.
Following a night of heavy snowfall, Bennett, 27, led the U.S. at the 90th anniversary of Wengen downhill, racing down the mountain on the famed Lauberhorn track in 1 minute, 43.40 seconds. The result marked Bennett’s best World Cup finish since claiming fifth in downhill at the same venue last season.
“This season started off really poorly and I really had to find some things very quickly and ask some questions to myself,” said Bennett in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I was excited I was able to make some quick decisions and change a few things in my skiing and execute today in this downhill. It just feels good to get some confidence back in my skiing, which I did not have in the first couple of months.”
Swiss skier Beat Feuz, 32, won the race with a time of 1:42.53.
Bennett’s finish came after he claimed 14th place in alpine combined on Friday. The finish was his first top-15 result of the season.
“I love Wengen — it’s such a cool experience,” Bennett told U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “The snow this year is perfect — all the way down, top to bottom. I just love this downhill because you need all the pieces in your skiing to be competitive here.”
After competing in Wengen, Bennett is now in Kitzbuehel, Austria where skiers will compete in downhill, super-G, and slalom. Bennett finished his downhill training run on Thursday with the ninth fastest time.
Also out of Squaw Valley, Travis Ganong, 31 was competing in Wengen and took 27th place in downhill with a time of 1:44.39. Another skier with local ties, Luke Winters, 22, raced in slalom at Wengen, but after claiming an early lead he lost control going over a pitch and was unable to finish the run.
“I know I’m fast. I know I can ski well an keep up with those guys,” said Winters, an alumnus of Sugar Bowl Academy, in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I just have to find that gear. There are things I learned today — like coming over that pitch: You gotta change gears. You’re not going to win it on the pitch because it’s so steep … I tried to bring the intensity on the pitch and didn’t need to.”
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.