It was a true speed weekend for both the men’s and women’s circuit this weekend, with the men’s races going down in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Scheduled to have two super-g races followed by two downhills, the first super-g featured a long DNF list and a first-time Canadian podium with Broderick Thompson. 2020 Overall Crystal globe winner Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was a part of the DNF list but returned with redemption in sight. The previous day’s winner, Marco Odermatt from Switzerland was also looking for another win to extend his crystal globe lead.
Before either of the European superstars could take on the famous Birds of Prey Super-G course, California’s Travis Ganong had his say. The 33-year-old was 22nd in the first race but was the 2nd athlete down the course on Saturday. Ganong was noticeably smooth and kept a calm upper body through his run, in what was his 160th World Cup race. He crossed the line with an impressive time of 1:10.63 and enjoyed a stay in the leader box. Only 2016 Super-G Crystal Globe winner Aleks Kilde and current Globe leader Marco Odermatt would beat Ganong’s time and the Truckee, California native took his 5th podium, his 1st in Super-G.
The Birds of Prey course has a reputation for its aggressive, no-nonsense start which gets athletes up to speed quickly. This was a feature that Aleksander Kilde and Marco Odermatt wouldn’t shy away from. The Norwegian was 6th on the start list and benefited from a still fresh course, unlike the previous weekend in Lake Louise where he was farther down the pack. With a seemingly perfect run that was accented by artistic turns and effortless airtime Kilde came to the finish with a 1:10.26, 0.37s quicker than Travis Ganong. Odermatt would immediately follow. Dawning the red bib that represents the series leader, Odermatt had the edge on Kilde until the final interval. Visibly less aerodynamic and smooth than Kilde, the Swiss Skier’s lead dropped from a 0.32s advantage to a 0.03s deficit by the end of the run. A testament to the Attacking Viking’s perfection through the more challenging parts of the track.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde would go on to take top honors in the next day’s downhill as well, leading a familiar podium that featured Matthias Mayer from Austria and Beat Fuez from Switzerland. The bronze was Beat Fuez’s 42nd career downhill podium, which means he is now the sole owner of the record for most downhill world cup podiums. Prior to this, Fuez was tied with Austrian legend Franz Klammer and two-time Olympic medallist Peter Mueller from Switzerland with 41 Downhill podiums each.
Travis Ganong has been a staple on the US Men’s Speed team for 17 years. His podium in Beaver Creek marks his first top-3 result since a December 2017 crash in Bormio, Italy left him with a torn ACL and forced Ganong to miss the rest of the season, including the 2018 Olympic Games in Korea. Ganong has won two world cups, both downhills, in Santa Caterina, Italy and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He was the first American to win a men’s race on the Kandahar Downhill track in Garmisch, with the only other American to win there being Lindsey Vonn. Travis also won silver in the Downhill at the 2015 World Championships, also held in Beaver Creek. To hear more from and about Travis Ganong, keep an eye out on our SnowBrains podcast. Travis is going to be one of our guests on the podcasts, and we’ll have an opportunity to talk both about ski racing and freeskiing.
The men’s World Cup circuit now heads to Val d’Isere, France for a Giant Slalom on December 11th and a Slalom on December 12th. After these, the men shift back to speed with Super-G and Downhill races in Val Gardena the following weekend. California’s Tyler Wallasch will be back in action with the US Ski Cross team in the ‘FIS Cross Alps Tour,’ which features seven ski cross world cup races in the span of 10 days. Wallasch will start the campaign in Val Thorens, France on December 10th.
Full race results and schedule can be found at fis-ski.com