Travis Ganong, Bryce Bennett post U.S. Ski Team’s top times
The International Ski Federation World Cup made its first stops in North America for the 2017-18 season last week, and local skiers are already posting the U.S. Ski Team’s fastest times in downhill and super-G.
After stops in Austria and Finland in late October and early November, the World Cup touched down on the North American continent last week with events in Lake Louise, Alberta and Killington, Vt., and will continue with training sessions and racing throughout the week in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek, Colo.
Squaw Valley Ski Team veteran Travis Ganong saw his first World Cup action of the season on Nov. 25, competing in downhill at Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Ganong, 29, would post a time of 1 minute, 46.70 seconds on the course for 48th place out of 74 skiers. Last season’s overall fourth-place finisher in downhill, Beat Feuz, of Switzerland, won the race with a time of 1:43.76. Ganong finished 12th overall in downhill points last season.
Ganong, a Truckee native, went on to race the following day in super-G, posting a time of 1:32.21 for the U.S. Ski Team’s fastest time in the event and a 16th-place finish overall. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud won the race with a time of 1:30.76. Ganong was 15th overall in points last season in super-G.
Fellow Squaw Valley skier, Bryce Bennett, also competed in downhill at Lake Louise on Nov. 25, and raced to the U.S. Ski Team’s top time with a mark of 1:45.71 for 21st overall.
Bennett, 25, then competed in super-G the following day, but failed to finish the course. This season is the first in which Bennett received an A Team nomination from the U.S. Ski Team, meaning he will receive full funding from the team for the upcoming World Cup season.
“It’s putting yourself in position to ski fast every single weekend in the World Cup,” Bennett told the Sierra Sun after being nominated last June. “And through that building confidence for the Olympics to have a chance to put a run or two down.”
One of the area’s top female skiers, Lila Lapanja, of Incline Village, made her season debut at Killington Ski Resort on Nov. 26. Lapanja, 23, competed in slalom, but failed to reach the final, finishing her only run with a time of 53.99.
Defending Overall World Cup Champion and reigning Olympic and World Champion in slalom, Mikaela Shiffrin won the race with a time of 49.57 in her first run and 51.34 in her second. Shiffrin, of Vail, Colo., is off to a hot start this season with top-five finishes in each of her four races so far.
Also skiing at Killington and making her World Cup debut was Squaw Valley Ski Team’s AJ Hurt. The 17-year-old started the season impressively on the North American Cup circuit with three top-25 finishes in four events, including a first place in giant slalom at Copper Mountain Resort on Nov. 21.
Things didn’t go as smoothly for Hurt four days later in Killington, as the Squaw skier missed out on reaching the finals. She finished the giant slalom course with a time of 1:02.74.
Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy’s Mark Engel raced in Finland on Nov. 12, and failed to qualify for the finals after one run, missing the cutoff by roughly half a second. Engel, 26, has since gone on to take a pair of third-place finishes in slalom at Copper Mountain Resort in the North American Cup series.
Competition will continue at Beaver Creek and Lake Louis from Dec. 1–3. Results provided by FIS-Ski.com.