The High Flyer
On October 10, 2016, even before the first snow fell, Tara Geraghty-Moats added “National Champion” to her growing resume as a skier. The 23-year-old from West Fairlee, Vt., soared 92 meters and 102 meters on her two ski jumps at the Lake Placid, N.Y. event, earning 250.5 points and finishing exactly ten points ahead of her close friend, local hero Nina Lussi.
For Geraghty-Moats, winning ski jumping’s national championships was an especially sweet victory. In the summer of 2015 she had been suspended from the U.S. Ski Team for failing to make a final payment toward her training and travel.
Geraghty-Moats didn’t let that stop her. She trained at home on her own that summer and fall, improvising workouts and working on an organic vegetable farm to raise money so she could travel the World Cup circuit on her own that winter. That meant competing in events in Japan, Russia, Khazahkstan and Finland, among others. Her best finish was 11th at the World Cup in Almaty, Khazakstan.
Geraghty-Moats has been “hooked since the first time I jumped.” That was at age 9 at the tiny jump at Storrs Pond Recreation Area in Hanover, N.H., near her home in West Fairlee.
Home-schooled since the third grade, Geraghty-Moats is an all-around athlete. She competed in her first Vermont 50 bike ride on her own at age 10, earned medals
at the Nordic Junior Nationals and made
the U.S. Development Team for ski jumping by 15.
Then, at age 16, Geraghty-Moats had a bad landing on a jump. She tore three ligaments, her ACL and broke her tibia.“My doctor said I would never jump or run again,” she says. She proved him wrong, began training for biathlon and in her third race qualified for the Worlds in 2011.
But she never gave up her love for ski jumping. In 2013, after a year training and going to school in Sweden she jumped back into ski jumping. In 2014, she earned third at the Nationals.
This season, Geraghty-Moats is one of three Americans (with Nina Lussi, former World Cup Champion Sarah Hendrickson and Nita Englund) competing on the World Cup circuit.
In the first two events, Geraghty-Moats had yet to move into the top 30. But it’s a long season and this is one determined Vermonter.