Ganong Seventh in Snowy, Shortened Saalbach Super-G
On a shortened super-G track due to heavy snowfall and high winds in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, Travis Ganong was the fastest man on the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team, finishing in a tie for seventh place.
Running bib lucky number seven, Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde snagged the victory—his first World Cup victory of the season—by 15 hundredths of a second, over Switzerland's Mauro Caviezel in second. Germany's Thomas Dressen, who grew up going to school 30 minutes away from Saalbach—was once again feeling at home finished in third. This was Thomas' third-straight podium, as he won Saturday's downhill and the previous downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Aleksander is the only man to have finished in the top eight in each of the last 10 World Cup super-G events, with his best result second places in Beaver Creek, Colo. and Kitzbuehel, Austria. His only career super-G victory was on February 27th, 2016, in Hinterstoder, Austria. Despite having won only one race this season, Aleksander's podium consistency in the speed disciplines, coupled with his strong giant slalom skiing (he has two top-five results in GS), has made him a strong contender for this year's overall title. With 982 points, Aleksander is leading the overall title chase by just 79 points over tech-focused teammate Henrik Kristoffersen.
Travis was within striking distance from a podium and had both the fastest speed and the fastest second split, but a couple of mistakes cost him valuable time. "I had a really good top two splits and was feeling really confident and comfortable on my skis, and I landed off the second to last jump and the snow is a lot different down there," reflected Travis. "I didn't adjust properly, so I went into two turns and tried to push hard and lost my ski, and I lost over seven-tenths on the second to last split. It's super frustrating because I have never been on the podium in super-G yet and I've been really close a lot of times, and today was a really good chance for me. I'm really bummed out, but also happy with my skiing, and I'm looking forward to one more chance in Kvitfjell (Norway), and Finals in Cortina (Italy). All in all, pretty happy and I can get to go home now for a little break, so it's nice."
After multiple delays to Sunday's race with volunteers, organizers, and coaches shoveling massive piles of snow off the course, an early bib number wasn't an ideal scenario to be in, making it difficult to get meaningful information or course reports. While Ryan Cochran-Siegle ran an unfortunate bib 2, he was still able to pull off a 16th place finish—his 13th top-20 finish of the season, across five disciplines: downhill, super-G, alpine combined, giant slalom and parallel giant slalom.
With 15 DNFs in the 53-person field, the conditions weren't ideal, but Travis felt like it was a positive that the organizers were able to get a race off. "It's always tough when it's a big snowstorm and you're waiting and waiting and waiting," he said. "I think, in the end, the skies cleared and it stopped snowing, and we were able to have a race. Everyone always wants to race, that's why we're all here. You put in the effort in, it's good that we got the race off. The conditions were not perfect, but it was still a good race and the best guys won."
Bryce Bennett started in just his third super-G of the season, finishing in 36th. Sam Dupratt was having a top-20 speed run, before skiing out and DNFing. Steven Nyman also missed a gate and DNFed, but skied away and is OK.
The Saalbach races were a replacement for the previously scheduled Beijing Olympic test events in Yanqing, China, so the men's speed team will enjoy an unexpected break and travel home to spend time with family and friends. Due to the change in schedule, the men will enjoy the rare weekend off while the women compete in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Up next for the men is a tech series in Niigata Yuzawa Naeba, Japan.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Friday, Feb. 14
6:00 p.m. - Men’s super-G, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, AUT - NBCSN*
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app.
Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.