Ski notebook

A freed-up freestyler

Moguls hold less stress for Kearney

By Marty Basch
Globe Correspondent / November 11, 2010

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With an Olympic gold medal in Vancouver behind her, veteran United States freestyle team mogul skier Hannah Kearney is ready for the starting gate.

“It feels a little less stressful coming off an Olympic year,’’ said the 24-year-old from Norwich, Vt. “It’s not that I’m not training just as hard but it just feels like there is less tension. An Olympic year is ultra competitive and exhausting.’’

Kearney, who skied through the ranks of the Ford Sayre and Waterville Valley’s Black and Blue Trail Smashers programs, is leading the 2011 team along with fellow Olympians aerialist Jeret “Speedy’’ Peterson and mogulist Bryon Wilson. New Englanders on the roster include Duxbury’s Michael Morse, Belmont’s Stacey Cook, Amesbury’s Dylan Ferguson, and Carrabassett Valley Academy grads Jeremy Cota and David DiGravio.

“There’s always a change in the dynamic of the team after an Olympic cycle,’’ she said. “But we have a lot of depth because of our population and strong development program. A lot of young kids will have the chance to compete on the World Cup stage.’’

Kearney, the 2009 World Cup moguls champ, has 10 career Cup wins. The season begins with a Dec. 11 World Cup event in Ruka, Finland, and includes the World Championships in February at Deer Valley and the US Freestyle Championships in late March at Stratton in her home state of Vermont.

“The end of the season will be here before we know it,’’ she said. “Stratton will be a kind of homecoming for me at the end of the year because my family and friends will be able to come. It’s almost in my backyard for me.’’

She’s looking forward to racing dual moguls, an event in which skiers race side-by-side and advance by winning the round.

“Once you get in the starting gate the feeling is the same,’’ she said. “My desire is there to win. My motivation to ski is the same. Past success is just that and has nothing to do with once you are in the starting gate.’’

Kearney augmented her dry land training workouts with water ramping in Steamboat, Colo., and Lake Placid earlier this year, in which skiers propel themselves down a ramp and into water.

It’s a showstopper Kearney will be one of several high-profile skiers and snowboarders signing autographs at the 29th Annual Boston Globe Ski and Snowboard Expo today through Sunday at a new location, the Seaport World Trade Center.

Produced by BEWI Productions, president Bernie Weichsel estimates some 42,000 people will attend the “uptown’’ show.

“The Trade Center is a great facility and I know our guests coming to the Expo this weekend will not only find the usual great deals and fun features that have always brought them to the Expo but an easier and more friendly environment within which to get themselves reacquainted with their favorite winter time sports,’’ he e-mailed.

The Expo opens at noon and runs until 10 p.m. Tomorrow’s hours are 3 to 10 p.m., Saturday is 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“I’m childishly excited about being there,’’ Kearney said. “Everyone in the room will be excited about the industry.’’

Other Olympic medalists making appearances include Seth Wescott, Ross Powers, Donna Weinbrecht, and Tommy Moe. Extreme skier Glen Plake and two-time Olympian Doug Lewis will be there, too.

Organizers are touting early bird specials for the first four hours today. Throughout the show, there are ski and snowboard sales as well as specials from resorts like $125 Attitash gift cards for $100 (also good at Wildcat), a Bromley, Vt., ski and stay package that’s $55 per person, double occupancy Dec. 19-23, and a limited 3-day, 4-night package with roundtrip airfare to Jackson Hole, Wy., starting at $799 per person.

Pitou to be honored Penny Pitou will receive the New England Ski Museum’s Spirit of Skiing award this weekend at Gunstock in Gilford, N.H. Pitou won Olympic silver medals in the downhill and giant slalom at Squaw Valley in 1960 . . . Three-time Olympian Julie Parisien and former Bates College ski coach Tim LaVallee are teaming up for a new non-academy ski racing program at western Maine’s Mount Abram Resort in Greenwood, outside Bethel . . . The seventh annual New England Telemark International Telemark Film Festival is tomorrow night at 7 at Bowdoin College’s Kresge Auditorium in Brunswick, Maine. Admission is free . . . Warren Miller’s “Wintervention’’ plays tonight at 8 in Worcester’s Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts and at Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre Nov. 18.