Travis Ganong knows how to pick a line down a race course and in the backcountry, but it was the line set by older sisters Megan and Ali, which helped reel him into ski racing. He launched his World Cup career in 2010 and hasn't showed any signs of looking back.
A member of the next generation of great American downhillers, Ganong packed on the miles in 2011 and earned some international respect with World Cup points at some of the toughest venues on tour including Bormio, Wengen, and Kitzbuehel, plus super G points in Lake Louise.
The numbers are there, but it was the run he put down in Bormio that brought the fist pumps. Known as the gnarliest in terms of course conditions, Ganong turned a bib 34 start position into a World Cup career-best 20th place. The momentum carried him through January and directly into his first World Championships where he notched solid results in both super G and downhill. But there was a bit more to his downhill in Garmisch – he finished 24th after breaking his hand on the fourth gate – ending the season abruptly. Ouch. Seven screws and a titanium plate later and he's good to go for 2012.
For the summer prep period Ganong headed to the Great White North of Canmore, Alberta to live and train with his girlfriend before rejoining the team in New Zealand and Chile.
"Wow this ski season has to have been my shortest ski season ever. It seems like it just started and now, sadly I am done for the year. It was an amazing season with many firsts. It was my first time scoring World Cup points in downhill. I scored at Kitzbhuel, Wengen, and Bormio and I qualified for the World Ski Champs in Garmisch which was an amazing experience. Bummer I broke my hand in the downhill race there and had to have surgery. Bormio is crazy. It's a real deal downhill, bumpy, fast, icy and dark. In my mind this is the toughest hill, but it turns out I really like it. It's really turny and suits my more technical style."
Growing up minutes from Squaw Valley, he found himself in the Mighty Mites peewee program as a tyke. He devoured the opportunity. “Cliffs, chutes, pillow-lines, arcin’ turns down the Dog Leg! I couldn’t get enough,” he recalls. With his sisters showing the way, he got into the race program. He pointed to Megan’s time on the U.S. Ski Team and said he wanted to follow her lead.
OFF THE SNOW:
Ganong loves snow and is the first to grab his fat boards on a race cancellation day. Big Mountain skiing is what it's all about and what a better place to learn than Squaw Valley. "I love free skiing and big mountain skiing just as much as racing, and they both kind of help out the other." He's big into hip hop and reggae – both of which have made their way into the soundtracks of the web edits he does for www.travis-ganong.com. Oh the wonders of a GoPro camera.