Friday’s race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, was not on the men’s World Cup schedule until about 10 days ago. The additional day of downhill was a make-up race for the canceled men’s competition in Wengen, Switzerland, and meant that the athletes only took one training run on the formidable slope. The schedule shake-up seems to have suited the U.S. Ski Team’s Travis Ganong as he took the win with a final time of 1:53.71, 0.38 seconds ahead of Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud and 0.52 seconds ahead of Italian Peter Fill.

The Kandahar course was relentless. Covered in dark shadows, the men were challenged to ski technical sections and handle the changing terrain as well as the demanding jumps. More than one athlete was helicoptered off the hill, falling victim to the mountain’s might. It’s exactly the type of slope that played to the winner’s strengths.

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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - JANUARY 27: Travis Ganong of USA competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men's Downhill on January 27, 2017 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom

The American was behind Jansrud at every split until the last 23 seconds of the course, where he skied from a 0.47 second deficit in the third split to a 0.38 second lead in the finish. Ganong’s success makes a lot of sense when you consider his knack for tackling dark, shadowy slopes. His only other World Cup win was in Santa Caterina, Italy, in 2014, which is an equally challenging venue.

“I think it was so difficult because we only had one training run, and during the training, it was really slow. Everything skied really easy, and everyone kind of relaxed like ‘Oh, this is really easy,’ and then today, the speeds were way faster,” he explained. “…They injected a section for the giant slalom race on Sunday, but they didn’t inject the whole course, so you’d hit that little patch of ice on every turn and accelerate, and I think that was a big issue today. Also, people pushing really hard, and turning off jumps. That’s never a good thing to have your ski bent when you go off a jump, and you could see that on the jump there at the bottom. It was throwing people all over the place, and it was really big.”

Aside from being at a venue that played to his strengths, the American had an extra special cheering squad supporting him.

“My parents are here, my girlfriend, a bunch of other American supporters are here from the Army base,” Ganong said. “It’s a cool spot, for sure, for me to win.”

This is the first time an American man has won at Garmisch since Steve Mahre in 1982.

More familiar to the World Cup podium is Jansrud, who has been in the mix six times this season in three different disciplines.

I have to be satisfied now, coming in from Kitzbuehel,” Jansurd said. “It was bad weekend for me with a lot of mistakes, and today I made mistakes, too, but a lot of people does, and I think the only one that didn’t was Travis and his win’s well deserved.

This result puts Jansrud in the lead in the men’s downhill standings with 202 points, eking out a three-point lead over the day’s third-place finisher, Fill. The Italian, who won the 2016 World Cup downhill globe, has had one other downhill podium finish this season, earning second place in Val d’Isere, France. He was not completely satisfied with his run, though he was happy to be on the podium.

I made a big mistake in the lower part and lost a lot of time there, but today was not easy,” Fill said. “A lot of guys was having trouble around the course, and it was really not an easy run.

Aside from Ganong, four other Americans landed in the top 30. Jared Goldberg and Thomas Biesemeyer both posted career-best downhill performances. Goldberg moved from bib 52 to 12th place, equaling his top result in downhill from Wengen in 2014. Biesemeyer embraced the shadows, coming from bib 47 to finish in 15th place. Bryce Bennett finished in 21st while Andrew Weibrecht finished in 26th position. Fellow American Downhiller Steven Nyman was one of the athletes helicoptered off the hill after crashing into the fence. He suffered a knee injury and will be out the rest of the season.

Frenchman Valentin Giraud Moine, who earned second place in the downhill at Kitzbuehel, Austria, last week, was also evacuated after taking a devastating fall and sliding into the fence. There is no word yet as to the extent of his injuries.

The men race another downhill on Saturday, which American fans can watch live on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app at 6 a.m. ET.


Top 10

  1. Travis Ganong (USA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
  2. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head / Head / Head
  3. Peter Fill (ITA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
  4. Hannes Reichelt (AUT) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  5. Beat Fuez (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
  6. Manuel Osborne-Paradis (CAN) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  7. Romed Baumann (AUT) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  8. Matthias Mayer (AUT) – Head / Head / Head
  9. Carlo Janka (SUI) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  10. Dominik Paris (ITA) – Nordica / Nordica / Marker

Official Results

RankBibFIS CodeNameYearNationTotal TimeDiff.FIS PointsWC Points
 1 12 530874GANONG Travis1988USA 1:53.71 0.00 100.00
 2 7 421483JANSRUD Kjetil1985NOR 1:54.09 +0.38 4.18 80.00
 3 9 292455FILL Peter1982ITA 1:54.23 +0.52 5.72 60.00
 4 1 50742REICHELT Hannes1980AUT 1:54.30 +0.59 6.49 50.00
 5 13 511383FEUZ Beat1987SUI 1:54.37 +0.66 7.26 45.00
 6 26 102899OSBORNE-PARADIS Manuel1984CAN 1:54.58 +0.87 9.56 40.00
 7 10 51215BAUMANN Romed1986AUT 1:54.60 +0.89 9.78 36.00
 8 14 53902MAYER Matthias1990AUT 1:54.69 +0.98 10.77 32.00
 9 15 511313JANKA Carlo1986SUI 1:54.76 +1.05 11.54 29.00
 10 5 291459PARIS Dominik1989ITA 1:54.92 +1.21 13.30 26.00
 11 6 511139KUENG Patrick1984SUI 1:55.01 +1.30 14.29 24.00
 12 52 934643GOLDBERG Jared1991USA 1:55.09 +1.38 15.17 22.00
 13 18 53980KRIECHMAYR Vincent1991AUT 1:55.15 +1.44 15.83 20.00
 14 25 200379SANDER Andreas1989GER 1:55.23 +1.52 16.71 18.00
 15 47 531452BIESEMEYER Thomas1989USA 1:55.71 +2.00 21.99 16.00
 16 29 194167MUZATON Maxence1990FRA 1:55.75 +2.04 22.43 15.00
 17 40 511513CAVIEZEL Mauro1988SUI 1:56.01 +2.30 25.28 14.00
 18 22 194298GIEZENDANNER Blaise1991FRA 1:56.06 +2.35 25.83 13.00
 19 42 512124HINTERMANN Niels1995SUI 1:56.09 +2.38 26.16 12.00
 20 33 202059FERSTL Josef1988GER 1:56.15 +2.44 26.82 11.00
 21 27 6530104BENNETT Bryce1992USA 1:56.17 +2.46 27.04 10.00
 22 4 191740CLAREY Johan1981FRA 1:56.27 +2.56 28.14 9.00
 23 8 53817FRANZ Max1989AUT 1:56.31 +2.60 28.58 8.00
 24 3 192746THEAUX Adrien1984FRA 1:56.38 +2.67 29.35 7.00
 25 43 512042KRYENBUEHL Urs1994SUI 1:56.39 +2.68 29.46 6.00
 26 23 530939WEIBRECHT Andrew1986USA 1:56.43 +2.72 29.90 5.00
 27 38 54009WALDER Christian1991AUT 1:56.47 +2.76 30.34 4.00
 28 31 511847MANI Nils1992SUI 1:56.69 +2.98 32.76 3.00
 29 28 50753KROELL Klaus1980AUT 1:56.83 +3.12 34.30 2.00
 30 41 561217KOSI Klemen1991SLO 1:56.88 +3.17 34.85 1.00
 31 37 194368RAFFORT Nicolas1991FRA 1:56.95 +3.24 35.62
 32 32 194190ROGER Brice1990FRA 1:57.07 +3.36 36.94
 33 44 990081CASSE Mattia1990ITA 1:57.17 +3.46 38.04
 33 30 54005STRIEDINGER Otmar1991AUT 1:57.17 +3.46 38.04
 35 34 6290985BUZZI Emanuele1994ITA 1:57.28 +3.57 39.24
 36 35 511981WEBER Ralph1993SUI 1:57.44 +3.73 41.00
 37 50 202535DRESSEN Thomas1993GER 1:57.60 +3.89 42.76
 38 36 53968BERTHOLD Frederic1991AUT 1:57.94 +4.23 46.50
 39 54 6291625SCHIEDER Florian1995ITA 1:58.01 +4.30 47.27
 40 21 103271THOMSEN Benjamin1987CAN 1:58.54 +4.83 53.10
 41 49 102271HUDEC Jan1981CZE 1:59.07 +5.36 58.92
 42 53 202345SCHWAIGER Dominik1991GER 1:59.15 +5.44 59.80
 43 45 561067PERKO Rok1985SLO 1:59.75 +6.04 66.40
 44 39 103512FRISCH Jeffrey1984CAN 2:00.73 +7.02 77.17
Did not finish 1st run
 55 460071ACHIRILOAIE Ioan Valeriu1990ROU
 51 104096THOMPSON Broderick1994CAN
 48 561255CATER Martin1992SLO
 46 294904PANGRAZZI Paolo1988ITA
 24 191964POISSON David1982FRA
 20 194542GIRAUD MOINE Valentin1992FRA
 19 192932FAYED Guillermo1985FRA
 17 102263GUAY Erik1981CAN
 16 422139KILDE Aleksander Aamodt1992NOR
 11 533866NYMAN Steven1982USA
 2 561216KLINE Bostjan1991SLO