Squaw’s Travis Ganong returns to site of 2017 injury, posts top-10 finish
The Truckee-Tahoe area’s top winter athletes continued the World Cup season last weekend, notching a number of standout performances.
Squaw Valley’s Travis Ganong, 31, raced to his best downhill result of the season, claiming eighth place in last Friday’s World Cup event in Bormio, Italy.
The race was held on the Stelvio downhill track, which is the same venue that Ganong suffered a season-ending injury that sidelined him for 2017-18 season.
Ganong finished Friday’s event with a time of 1 minute, 51.04 seconds to lead the U.S. His finish is also his best performance at the venue since claiming seventh in 2012.
“It’s really nice to finally have another good result here in Bormio,” Ganong said in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “This is where I had my first top-10, but also the two years ago I blew out my knee, and last year it was really bad luck with my ski popping off and I tore my LCL — it was just a grade two tear, so I was able to come back — but I hadn’t had a finish here in two years. It had been a while, so it was amazing, today, to have some good feelings on the snow, have some confidence and just turn my brain off and ski.”
The conditions at Bormio, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard, were much tamer than in past years, while cloud cover prevented the sun from casting shadows on certain sections of the course.
“This hill really rewards people who don’t worry about line, or whatever — they just focus on solid skiing and pushing on the ski and looking for speed,” added Ganong. “A lot of the tracks on the World Cup are more gliding focused and it’s kind of like a drag race, but with this one, there are a lot of places where you can gain time or lose time. It really favors strong and good skiing, so there’s not a lot of luck involved here, you have to earn every inch of this hill. Really excited to have another race tomorrow … but then also looking forward to going home after this and having a little break in Tahoe before the second half of the season kicks off.”
Italy’s Dominik Paris, 30, took the win with a time of 1:49.56. Squaw Valley’s Bryce Bennett, 27, finished in 38th place with a time of 1:53.06.
Downhill racing continued the following day in Bormio where Paris again took first place, finishing with a time of 1:55.37. Bennett finished in 38th for the second straight day, reaching the finish line with a time of 1:59.16. Ganong was 43rd with a time of 1:59.31.
Bennett went on to claim 17th place in super-G and 18th in combined during Sunday’s races. The results marked Bennett’s first top-20 finishes of the World Cup season.
The World Cup season will open 2020 in Zagreb, Croatia, this weekend with a night slalom race.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com or 530-550-2643.