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FutureStarrUS Downhiller Travis Ganong Retires
Travis Ganong, the US downhiller, has announced his retirement after this season. He plans to cap off his ski racing career at the Aspen World Cup before heading off for the season-ending World Cup finals in Andorra.
He's had an exemplary career, earning two World Cup victories (Santa Caterina, Italy in 2014; Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in 2017) and six podium performances. Additionally, he is an enthusiastic promoter of sustainability initiatives.
At the tender age of 8, Travis Ganong from Squaw Valley, California began skiing and developed an enthusiasm for all aspects of the sport. With his wise mind and superior technical proficiency, Travis acquired both the necessary attributes to reach new heights in competition.
After missing the Pyeongchang Olympics due to an injury, he is back training and working harder than ever in preparation for Beijing 2022. His relentless work ethic and wise perspective have allowed him to become the highest-ranked male in Downhill and Super G on the U.S. Ski Team; now, he hopes to make a statement in Beijing by competing at the Games.
He holds two downhill victories (Santa Caterina, Italy in 2014 and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in 2017) as well as three podium finishes (Kvittjell, Norway 2017; Kvittjell, Switzerland 2019; Beaver Creek, Colorado 2020).
Ganong loves to spend his free time mountain biking, hiking, backpacking and relaxing by Lake Tahoe. He's also a passionate cook who helps run Pacific Crest Coffee Co.
Ganong also enjoys filming. His skills have been featured in several free-skiing segments, such as those shot in Alaska and Tahoe.
In 2014, he finished fifth in the Olympic downhill in Sochi and earned a silver medal at the World Championships. Since then, he has made several appearances on the World Cup circuit, highlighted by a win at Santa Caterina, Italy in 2014.
His best race may have been last month's Olympic downhill in Krasnoya Polyana, Russia. After a difficult start, he surged to seventh in the first half and pulled off what would be his best American downhill finish in over 35 years.
He finished fifth, his career high and the first time an American had finished higher than Bill Johnson in 1984. It was a moment that cemented his place at the top of the world - one which he will never forget.
Ganong's final competitive race was Saturday at the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria where he placed third. Finishing just behind Norwegian Aleksandr Aamodt Kilde - who won to become the first man with five World Cup downhill victories in one season - and Frenchman Johan Clarey rounding out the podium just 67 hundredths behind Kilde.
Competition breeds excellence and it can also push an athlete to their limit. Travis Ganong has learned how to balance this duality, which has allowed him to excel in the high-pressure world of speed skiing racing.
Growing up in Alpine Meadows, California, Travis was forever fascinated by the mountains. So it came as no surprise when he started racing downhill that they became his ticket to travel the world. As he grew up dreaming of medals and finding true love (he met his fiancee through skiing and tater tots), Travis realized how powerful nature can be - both physically and mentally.
His career on skiing racing's World Cup carousel comes to a close this season, but his passion for the sport will endure in retirement. He plans on exploring more backcountry-focused adventures in Truckee, California with his fiance and longtime partner Marie-Michele Gagnon from Canada in their home.
He enjoys mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, sailing on Lake Tahoe and surfing. In his free time he spends time with his family and is involved in an organization that gives back by coaching the next generation of American downhillers.
In 2016, Ganong finished 3rd in downhill and 4th in super G at the Lake Louise World Cup, then went on to capture six top-10 World Cup finishes that season. Additionally, he earned silver at the 2015 World Championships in downhill - cementing himself as one of America's most accomplished downhillers to date.
Since then, he's been the best downhiller in America, averaging 23.2 points per race this season and posting four wins, six podiums and seven top-10 results. Additionally, he is an advocate for environmental responsibility as part of Protect Our Winters - an organization leading the charge towards sustainability within alpine skiing.
At the 2017 Olympic Games in Rio, he suffered an injury to his right thumb that put paid to any medal hopes he may have had. It's the type of setback that can derail even the most talented athletes.
"When I arrived in Sochi, that was when it really hit me," he said. But he was determined to improve and with help from his team, he did just that - with great grace.
American downhiller Travis Ganong announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of this season, capping off an illustrious career on ski racing's World Cup carousel. But his passion for skiing is far from over; he has big plans for more skiing in retirement and hopes to pursue a career at a resort in Lake Tahoe.
Ganong credits his fascination with skiing to a childhood view from his bedroom window. That idyllic scene of snow-covered hills ignited an immense passion and gave him the courage to pursue skiing professionally.
He developed his technique by skiing and free skiing around Palisades Tahoe, his parents' home town; learning from hometown heroes like Shane McConkey. He also experimented with freestyle skiing but ultimately chose to focus on speed events such as downhill and super-G.
Born with a passion for racing, he also has an immense admiration for the mountains - particularly Lake Tahoe. This is his home, and he treasures the opportunities that come from training on North America's largest alpine lake.
His family lives close to the mountain and he loves spending as much time there as possible, even in wintertime. He enjoys taking in the scenery as well as spending time on the water - paddle boarding, swimming, boating, surfing and cooking delicious food for friends and family.
He enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and backpacking with his girlfriend Marie-Michele Gagnon of Canada Olympic ski fame. Together they plan to take a camper van trip to Chile's volcanoes this autumn.
At 33 years old, Alex is taking time out of work to spend time with his family and get in plenty of training. After purchasing a house in Lake Forest (a suburb of Tahoe City) last year, he's currently enrolling in Sierra Nevada College's Ski Business & Resort Management program in hopes that it will lead to employment at one of the region's resorts.
Ganong will miss skiing's fast-paced action, but he has plenty to be proud of throughout his career. With two downhill wins and six podiums on the World Cup circuit, he has cemented himself as a formidable contender on the global stage. Additionally, his fifth place finish at the 2014 Olympics marked his best Olympic result yet; with continued hard work and an insightful mindset, there's no reason why American downhiller won't remain competitive into the future.
Travis Ganong, who grew up in Alpine Meadows, has announced his retirement from ski racing after this season. He won one World Cup downhill and earned his only previous career podium in a slalom race held in Kvitfjell, Norway.
On a sunny Sunday in Santa Caterina, Italy, Squaw Valley skier Gahong made history by skiing an entirely new course on the men's World Cup circuit: Deborah Compagnoni! Replacing the classic Stelvio downhill of Bormio for the first time on tour, Ganong posted an impeccable run down this new Deborah Compagnoni course.
At first glance, Ganong's victory seemed unlikely; several of his pre-race favorites had faster times in the first section but struggled afterward. But with his speed and command of the second part of the course, he pulled away from his competitors to secure victory.
Ganong is a rising star on the US ski team, but the demands of an Olympic season can be overwhelming. His performance at 2014 Sochi Games left him disappointed - he finished fifth in the downhill and just 0.56 seconds away from bronze.
At the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Ganong hopes to be part of China's Olympic team once more and this time with a shot at medaling. With margins in men's downhill even tighter than Sochi's, his best chance for success lies in perfecting his race plan.
He's currently studying ski business and resort management at Sierra Nevada College with plans to work in the industry at a Tahoe resort after racing. Additionally, his passion for filmmaking could yield lucrative earnings in this field.
Ganong spends his free time relaxing with his family in Alpine Meadows. He cherishes spending time with his parents, brother, and wife - who works as an assistant at Squaw Valley.
Ganong plans to travel and visit friends in Europe after retiring from skiing. He also wants to return to Argentina, where he grew up skiing, to enjoy some leisure time on its mountains.