BORMIO, Italy — Travis Ganong closed the 2013 calendar with another positive stride toward his first Olympic Winter Games.
The 25-year-old Squaw Valley skier tied for 10th in the rugged Bormio downhill in Italy on Sunday for his best Audi FIS Alpine World Cup finish of the season.
Starting second, Ganong powered though snow at the top of the notorious Stelvio and then through rattling bumps in the middle section. Meanwhile, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway skied flawlessly through relatively clear conditions to earn the 25th World Cup victory of his career.
“The conditions are always changing. I can’t seem to get on the right side of it,” Ganong said. “Today I skied perfect and it was snowing so hard I was plowing through snow the whole way. Now it’s definitely nicer. I feel like if I had started later today I could have had a better shot.
“For where I started I’m so happy with my skiing. I stuck to my plan, really pushed hard, had no mistakes and the skiing felt good. It was fun.”
Ganong, who had a career-best seventh in Bormio last season, hopes to make his first Olympic Team when the U.S. squad is named on Jan. 26.
“I think we’re more relaxed now,” Ganong said. “It’s the middle part of the season. We have a bunch of races under our belts now. We’re strong, we’re fit. We know we’re skiing fast in training against all these other guys, it’s just a matter of figuring out race day.”
Fellow Squaw Valley skier Marco Sullivan also landed in the points for the U.S. Ski Team with a 22nd-place finish. Bode Miller was rocked hard through the middle section and bounced low on the traverse to finish outside the top 30.
“I love these tougher, longer, bumpier, gnarlier downhills,” Ganong said. “That’s kind of my forte. It’s not just a drag race. It’s more turning and deciphering the terrain and being smart and figuring out ways you can find time. The next few races fit right into that too: Wengen, Kitzbuhel, Garmisch. Sochi is very tough too. Sochi is very similar to Bormio.”
The men’s tour will remain in Bormio for a slalom on Jan. 6. The race was moved from Zagreb due to lack of snow at the Croatian resort.