Tahoe alpine athletes open World Cup season

Travis Ganong

LAKE LOUISE, Canada. — The Tahoe area’s top alpine skiers opened the season this week, competing in their first World Cup races of the year.

Team Palisades Tahoe’s Travis Ganong posted a solid, first competitive run of the season at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada on Saturday, racing to a 13th place in downhill.

Ganong, 34, was second among the U.S. skiers and finished 1.63 seconds off the first-place time of 1 minute, 47.9 seconds by Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde.

“I’m feeling good about a solid 13th place today in the first downhill,” said Ganong in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I just had fun with it today, I had really good sections and I felt really balanced and positive on my skis.” 

Ganong then took 37th in super-G the following day.

Fellow Team Palisades Tahoe skier Bryce Bennett, 30, was also in action at Lake Louise, finishing 45th in downhill and 46th in super-G. Another of Team Palisades Tahoe’s members, Erik Arvidsson, 26, took 38th in downhill.

The alpine team will now head to Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado this weekend for the annual Xfinity Birds of Prey.

On the women’s side, locals traveled to Killington Ski Resort in Vermont for the first North American stop of the World Cup season.

Saturday’s giant slalom event saw Team Palisades Tahoe skier Nina O’Brien race to a 23rd-place finish. Things wouldn’t go as well the following day as neither O’Brien, 25, or teammate AJ Hurt were able to finish their first slalom runs. Hurt, 25, was unable to finish her giant slalom run from the prior day as well. She bounced back on Wednesday with a third-place finish in giant slalom at the North American Cup race at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado.

The women will head to Lake Louise this weekend for the next World Cup event.

In cross-country racing, Tahoe City’s JC Schoonmaker, 22, opened the World Cup season by reaching the quarterfinals of the spring classic race in Ruka, Finland. Schoonmaker would finish in 19th place overall.

“Fired up to start getting things rolling this season and it feels extra special for me to be partnering with my home ski center,” said Schoonmaker, who announced a partnership with Tahoe Cross-Country in an Instagram post. “I grew up skiing there and fell in love with skiing on those trails so it feels right to be representing them this winter and beyond. Let’s go!”

World Cup cross-country racing will head to Lillehammer, Norway this weekend.

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