Local News

Moguls Olympian Hannah Soar reflects on how OL, Bear Mountain training helped define her talent

By Karen D. Lorentz

It’s a cliché, but so true for the Soar family — the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Whether genes or pure luck, both of Hannah Soar’s parents were recreational mogul skiers in the 1980s and even competed in the amateur Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge (BMMC).

“My Mom learned to ski at age 28 and is a diehard skier. My dad who grew up in Chicopee, Massachusetts, learned as a kid and skied Mt. Tom and Killington. They met at Colgate and he became a weekend warrior who got mom into the sport. My grandfather, my father, and my uncle all had Killington lifetime passes,” Hannah told the Mountain Times.

So it’s not too surprising that her parents had Hannah skiing on a leash at 18 months and that she took to the sport quickly and was able to do Outer Limits at age 4 or 5! Hannah competed in her first event at age 8, the BMMC where she took fourth place overall and earned the bragging rights of having her name on the BMMC trophy for 2008.

Born in Somers, Connecticut, Hannah grew up and went to school there until her freshman and sophomore years when she joined the winter term at the Killington Mountain School. She attended KMS full time for her junior and senior years, graduating in 2017. In spring of her junior year, she was named to the 2016-2017 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.

Q&A with Hannah Soar

MT: Did competing come as natural to you as skiing did?

HS: In general, I’m not very competitive but when I was age 8 I loved mogul skiing. I loved Outer Limits but literally hated the competitive side.

I joined the Killington Ski Club as a kid and started competing in USSA events. I would throw up before them but inevitably win the event.

I preferred training, free skiing, and anything but competition day. 

I loved the sport so much, but I had to work through the nerves. I had to learn to enjoy competing. Through sports psychology, my parents’ support, and meditation, now I’m able to overcome the nerves and like competing. I had to figure things out — to learn to do the jumps in the air and handle the pressure, which is a reality for athletes.

MT: When did you set your sights on the Olympics?

HS: I wasn’t good enough to do the Olympics in 2018 (age 18) and started college during the spring. I trained hard summer 2018, gunning for the 2022 Olympics. I had to get to the World Cup Team to qualify for the Olympics. I made it for the 2018-19 season but tore my high ankle. I was out for the majority of the season but got in three races and got a top 10. 

My first World Cup podium came later in 2019 — third in a dual moguls FIS World Cup in China.

I finished third in the 2021 World Cup overall standings, which led up to making the Olympic Team for Freestyle skiing and making it to the second finals round at the competition. [She narrowly missed the third finals round by coming in seventh.]

MT: Where are you now in your competitive career? Future plans?

HS: I have five World Cup podiums: 2 seconds and 3 thirds and many top 10s.

I will be 24 in June and my plans are to compete in 2023-24 then finish college in May. I’m an economics major and had an internship at Black Rock last summer and this summer another one and hope to work for them after college.

MT: Any special memories?

HS: My highlight was coming home after the Olympics and having Killington put on a coming home party for me. It meant a lot because prior to the Olympics we had to isolate due to Covid. It was really nice to come home to the Killington community which has always meant a lot to me and my family. 

MT: Any advice for aspiring athletes? 

HS: Just because something is hard doesn’t mean you’re not going to be great. It requires work. You have to work really hard to overcome barriers; determination and trial and error will help work things out as will dedication to your craft.

MT: What are some changes you’ve
seen in moguls?

HS: The increase in difficulty of tricks that females are doing. Most World Cups have single and dual mogul events. There were only singles at the 2022 Olympics, but in 2026 there will be both duals and singles.

MT: Were there any people who were special influences or mentors to you?

HS: My parents and Donna Weinbrecht. Donna is the person I aspire to be, she’s very real and helped me learn. The weekend warriors who ski moguls at Killington have also created the person and skier I am — most are older than I am but some I grew up with from the parking lot days at Bear. We skied OL and spent time hanging out in the lot. I enjoyed playing with friends in the snowbanks there. It helped me enjoy skiing because I had friends — the social environment is one of my favorite things about Killington to this day.

MT: Any other sports, hobbies, activities? 

HS: I’m a big biker. I started at 18 and friend sold me a gravel/road bike. I do rides and mountain and gravel biking. I whip out the bike for VT Adaptive Century Ride.

MT: What are your thoughts on
 ski town culture?

HS: I think that with the Killington 365 pass and biking, locals come together over joint passions for the outdoors over all the seasons; and that creates a unique bond in the community and strong connection for our environment in our town.

Mountain Times Newsletter

Sign up below to receive the weekly newsletter, which also includes top trending stories and what all the locals are talking about!