Hannah Kearney: Freestyle Champion

Hannah Kearney
Hannah Kearney

As of 2015, Vermont can lay claim to having produced two of the all-time best female mogul skiers in the world. This past March, Hannah Kearney won the season finale in dual moguls. It was her 46th career victory, matching the record set in 1997 by Killington skier Donna Weinbrecht. In 2015, Kearney also won both the FIS Freestyle World Cup mogul title and the overall crystal globe.

“Being even in the same category as Donna is huge,” said the Norwich native. Like Kelley Clark, Kearney was also one of 10 finalists for the prestigious 2015 Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year award, which went to Serena Williams.

Kearney, now 29, began skiing when she was two when her parents strapped her into a horse halter and let her rip down the local hills. As a teenager she was on the high school state championship teams in both soccer and track and won the Junior Mogul Championships. At age 17, in her rookie season, she scored two World Cup victories. A year later, in 2005, she was the overall champion.

This past year was Kearney’s 13th as an international competitor and she capped it off with a cameo appearance in the Warren Miller film, Chasing Shadows.

But for Kearney, there’s a life to be considered after bump skiing and getting her college degree is part of that. Kearney started her college studies at Dartmouth, but for financial reasons transferred to Salt Lake City’s Westminster College which offered U.S. Ski Team athletes free tuition.

When asked in a U.S. Ski Team interview for her tips on what made her successful, among them Kearney says is “Never say never. As an 11-year-old, I said I would never do a backflip on snow. But I learned there’s a lot of reward in doing what scares you.”

Evan Johnson

Evan Johnson is the staff writer for Vermont Sports Magazine. The native Vermonter enjoys steep and deep skiing and wandering all over the state by Subaru. Find him on Twitter at @evanisathome.