"There is so much cool stuff to see in the world and getting out there amongst it is what I live for."
I was born and raised in Alpine Meadows, Calif., with ski touring right out my backdoor and the playground of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows as my training grounds. Skiing is my ultimate passion, and that passion has led me to win world cups, win the silver medal at the world championships, and be able to represent our country at the Olympics. I ski race downhill and super-G and have been on the U.S. Ski Team for 15 years, which is the most challenging and rewarding medium of skiing. But growing up in Lake Tahoe, I also love freeskiing and ski touring. I am so fortunate that my dream job came true and that I can travel the world as a professional skier.
Travis Ganong By the Numbers
What pushes you to be the best skier?
As a junior skier I was pretty good, but what really helped elevate my skiing to the next level was when I met my (soon-to-be) girlfriend, Marie-Michele Gagnon, 12 years ago. She is a member of the Canadian Ski team, and we met at a race in Nakiska, Alberta. I grew up skiing at Squaw Valley, where as athletes we were notorious for being laid-back, loving to freeski, and relying on talent more or less—which will only get you so far. Marie grew up in Quebec with a much more focused and hard-working mentality. When we started dating, she taught me what it meant to truly be a professional athlete and all the hard work that has to be put in to accomplish goals. We both progressed from that junior level to the highest level of winning World Cups and competing in the Olympics. We’re both happily still following that path, living together and pushing each other as we head toward the next winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.
What is one of your early ski memories?
I grew up on the backside of Red Dog (one of the six iconic peaks at Squaw Valley) in Alpine Meadows, and my backyard consisted of a perfectly pitched 1,500 vertical foot mountain with amazing tree skiing, a big cornice to jump off, and a beautiful bowl that we dubbed “Juniper Mountain Bowl.” My dad was the local doctor, and one of the clinics was on the front side of Red Dog at the base of Squaw Valley. When conditions permitted, his “commute” to work consisted of booting up in the mud room of the house and skinning that 1,500 vertical up and over the ridge and skiing down to the office. After work, he would retrace his steps and ski home. Growing up with this work/life balance mentality—and getting to join him on these early morning adventures before going to school—helped shape my love for the mountains and started me on my journey as a professional skier.