Squaw Valley, CA…Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) carved his home mountain to a .20 second super G victory at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships to regain a title he first held in 2010 and lead a commanding 1-3-4 performance by local skiers. NorAm overall and U.S. downhill champion Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT) was second ahead of Mark Engel (Truckee, CA), who started with bib 16. Bryce Bennett (Olympic Valley, CA), who grew up on the Squaw Valley Ski Team along with Ganong, was the top junior in fourth. NBC will broadcast the super G as part of a special Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships highlights show on March 24 at noon ET.
- Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) arced his local race hill to a .20 second victory and the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships super G title.
- Ganong, who grew up with the Squaw Valley Ski Team, first hoisted the super G gold in 2010, when he was also the downhill champion.
- Silver went to NorAm overall and U.S. downhill champion Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT) ahead of another Squaw local Mark Engel (Truckee, CA).
- Bryce Bennett (Olympic Valley, CA), who was also on the Squaw Valley Ski Team, was fourth for the top junior spot.
- Next on the junior podium was Jack Auty (Durham, NH) and Robert Cone (Killington, VT), his second junior top three of the Championships.
- One of the most technically difficult U.S. Championships slopes in recent history, athletes lauded the set and slope preparation at Squaw Valley.
- NBC will broadcast the race at noon ET on March 24 along with highlights of the entire Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
It’s really nice to actually be home and on home snow, sleep in my own bed, and have all my family and the hometown crowd out supporting. I grew up training on this hill every day so it’s really nice to get on a familiar hill. The hometown crowd really motivates me to push it harder and really go for it.
This is more of a World Cup than a Nationals hill. It’s pretty tricky, really steep out of the top with some blind turns. It’s intimidating. The key sections for me were on the flats. There was this little roller where it’s really blind and you have to find your edge really earlier before you even see the gate. I got word from the coaches that you had to do that so I was able to cut offline there and carry more speed onto the next flat part. And then this road on the bottom is always the infamous road. Everyone always has a lot of trouble with that. I’ve never skied super G on it but I knew that it might be smart to give a little there to gain more at the bottom, so that’s what I did.
Squaw stepped it up big time. This is my seventh Nationals and they’ve stepped it up in a big way. We have The Wailers playing a concert tonight for the opening ceremonies with a GoPro Bombsquad flying in on their parachutes and parades for a big end of the season party – celebrating ski racing, celebrating skiing.
The course is really good. This is a lot like what I’m used to. It’s really rolly and there’s blind rollers everywhere. It’s like everything that we’ve always trained and I was super excited to ski it. It’s one of the more fun courses I’ve run.
The expectations were high. I haven’t had a whole lot of super G skiing lately, but I had some pretty good results. I was on the podium up in Nakiska at a NorAm last week. On the second day I knew that “Okay I’m back into it. I can do it here.” Yeah, I was just super confident coming into today.
I’ve been really working on aerodynamics this year and I had my hands up in front as much as I could. I definitely had a little bit of trouble here and there but I know everyone else really did too. It was kind of like whoever can keep their head together the whole way.
I skied on the Sugarbowl Ski Team from age 11 until I made the team at 19. They’re a great program for the little guys. They have great training, great coaches, really positive vibe. That helped, because I’ve skied this hill probably nine-ten times and I’m more of a tech skier so I was able to handle the turns. Had a little mistake but I told myself to stay in it and it worked.
Coming into the steep pitch, they set some really turny, tight gates and I was able to just set it up and really make clean turns through there. I saw a lot of low lines and I was able to stay on the line and ski clean.
The course report was that the lines were too round, so I was just trying to go as straight as I could stand. If I had been rounder with the same air I would have not finished but since I went straight, I could land and pull it off.
I was just remembering in the start about straightlining that when I was a J4 and how many runs I’ve had down this. I know what to do down it, so it just came.
The road in the middle of the course: you can ski it well or you’re going to end up in the river. You want to go off with a non-loaded ski and carry speed through the bottom, which is a pretty important section. I skied that really well.
There’s a lot of support. It’s cool because when you’re on the road in small races you don’t get that support. But when you’re home and the family, friends and community supports you, it’s a really cool feeling.
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