By Travis Ganong
This past weekend I raced in my first Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria. It was an amazing experience.
The hill is by far the toughest downhill in the world and really is the highest level of competitive ski racing. It is the Super Bowl of skiing.
Marco Sullivan tweeted me after the race saying, “Congrates you are no longer a rookie”!
I had a decent run, but I am definitely looking forward to next year now that I have my first experience behind me. The hill is so intimidating that I really couldn’t push it as hard as I wanted to, but now that I know where to go and now that I know how everything runs, I think that I can be really fast here.
Daron Rahlves commented after the race saying, “#1 on last speed trap! nice run. Get those splits up top on par with the last one and you’ll be knocking on the door. Good work!”
As a kid growing up I always dreamed of one day being able to race Kitzbuhel, and now that it has happened, it feels almost surreal. Did that actually just happen!? I think so! It was one of the most special moments of my skiing life so far. Standing up in that start house getting ready to absolutely send it down the Streif is an amazing feeling (not to mention that there was a 20 minute hold just before me from a crash). It comes close to standing on top of a big line like McConkey’s (Eagles Nest High Line) at Squaw Valley, and thinking about what you are about to do, but it is brought to an entirely higher level as there are 80,000 people watching you on the side of the hill, plus millions more on TV all over the world, and it lasts for over two minutes.
Ha-ha Kitzbuhel is amazing. I was really happy to score World Cup points on my first try. I’ll be back for some more next year!
To see some more of Ganong’s photos from Kitzbuehel, check out his blog site here