Travis Ganong fastest in second Beaver Creek downhill training
BEAVER CREEK, USA – It’s the second day of downhill training on the Birds of Prey and conditions keep amusing both racers and spectators. We saw some new names at the very top of Wednesday’s leader board in Beaver Creek – 24 years old USSA skier Travis Ganong got a taste of what it feels like to be the fastest skier out there. With his personal race best being a 12th place in last season’s Kitzbuchel downhill, the young American walked away from today’s training run with a big smile on his face.
“The course is great, its perfect snow – really smooth, you can do whatever you want,” Ganong said. “These conditions give you the freedom of charging if you want and is really forgiving. You can get away with a lot and it’s nice. The snow conditions are really fast, in the four years I have raced here this is the fastest I have ever seen it. Especially in the last section, before the Red Tail jump, you can really fee the speed.”
There were a lot of comments in the finish area on how fast it all felt while coming down the Birds of Prey this year, and also about how enjoyable it is to do so when conditions are as good as this year.
“The course set feels as if it turns more than in the past,” Ganong expained. so I doubt we will be able to break the 1 minute, 39 seconds record but we are getting close. It would be cool to break that on race day. I don’t look at the other guys, I focus on my skiing and I think today was a very solid run that gives me something to build up on tomorrow and on race day.
With a time of 1 minute, 41.38, Ganong finished 0.29 seconds ahead of second ranked Siegmar Klotz. The young Italian never finished better then 13th in super G and 15th in downhill, during his World Cup career. This is the second year on the Birds of Prey for Klotz, and his best result in Beaver Creek is a 30th place in last year’s super G race.
“I am excited, I don’t even know what my best result in Beaver Creek is, so it’s for sure a nice feeling being this fast – even it’s just a training run, it gives me confidence that I could do well here this year.”
Joachim Puchner was the last skier within a second of Ganong, with a time of 1 minute, 42.18 seconds; the Austrian finished 0.80 seconds slower then the best time.
“It’s so much fun to ski here these two days,” Puchner said excitedly after his run. “It’s so smooth that even the fact that it’s so fast doesn’t make you feel like you are out of control. There was a moment coming down where the speed is so fast that you feel as if there is no chance to make it to the next gate – but then the snow holds perfectly and the skis go in the direction you want them to.“
Some, mostly more experienced skiers might skip the third training on the Birds of Prey and use the day to get some rest from all the racing and traveling they have done in the past week and a half. But, that seems to not be an option for the Austrian.
“I definitely will be skiing tomorrow as well. I need as many runs as possible on this course. I want to use every chance I have to memorize the details of this course, and as I said it’s so much fun when conditions are like these days.”
The third and last downhill training is scheduled for Thursday, starting at 10.45 local time (18.54 CET).
by Ana Jelusic