Hannah Kearney could make it an even dozen consecutive World Cup victories this weekend.
“One of the unique things about it is that a record gets you attention,’’ she said by phone from her Norwich, Vt., home earlier this week. “People are much more impressed when it’s a record and they understand success through record breaking.’’
The 2010 Olympic champion won her record 11th consecutive FIS Freestyle World Cup moguls race Jan. 19 at Whiteface Mountain during the USANA Freestyle Cup. Her World Cup streak started a year earlier, Jan. 21, 2011, at the same Lake Placid, N.Y., mountain.
“I spend summers there and I think it’s the closest I have to a second home,’’ she said.
Now after spending a few days off in Vermont that included gym work and cross-country skiing, she’s preparing for a Saturday race in Calgary, Alberta.
“I really like this part of the tour,’’ said the half-Canadian Kearney.
“The course in Calgary is challenging in a fun way. It sort of rolls over and gets really steep. Deer Valley [Utah] after that is a treat and has this long course, a real moguls course that is steep, long, and at altitude.’’
Kearney said she doesn’t feel pressure coming from the media attention.
“You just have to remember that is not why you are skiing,’’ she said. “Whether the attention is negative or positive, it should not affect my skiing. Ultimately it comes down to my skiing.’’
Plus, Kearney points out that she hasn’t finished first in all her races during the past year. She placed third in dual moguls and second in individual moguls at the World Ski Championships at Deer Valley last February.
“They aren’t World Cup races,’’ she said.
Some of the most versatile all-mountain skiers will tackle the gnarliest terrain in Vermont during the 2012 Ski the East Freeride Tour.
A feeder series for the international Subaru Freeskiing World Tour, competitors ski over cliffs, rocks, and down the narrow chutes at Mad River Glen (Feb. 11), Magic Mountain (March 3), Sugarbush (March 10), and Jay Peak (March 17-18).
“I think the beauty of our events is that we help uncover future highly-visible skiers,’’ e-mailed tour director Tim Fater.
Returning to compete is women’s overall winner S.J. Grundon, a 14-year-old from Bristol, Vt., and second women’s overall contestant Paige Fitzgerald, a Harvard Kennedy School grad student from Wellesley. Last year’s top two men’s finishers - Griffin Dunne of Burlington, Vt., and Colby Vavolotis of Rehoboth - are expected back.
“Our skiers have proven themselves on the biggest mountains in the world,’’ wrote Fater.
Two of the Tour organizers and judges are regional freeskiing giants - Jay Peak’s John Witherspoon and Sugarbush’s John Egan, a Boston native known for his past roles in Warren Miller ski movies.
Lindsey Jacobellis tore a ligament in her left knee yesterday in Aspen, Colo., during practice for the Winter X Games and will not have a chance to go for her fifth straight gold medal in snowboardcross. Jacobellis, from Stratton, Vt., crashed on the final landing on the course and tore her ACL. She was trying to become the first female to win five straight golds at the Winter X Games. Jacobellis has seven gold medals overall and is the leader in the World Cup standings . . . Sarah Burke will be remembered tonight at 9 in a telecast tribute on ESPN marking the beginning of the Winter X Games. The Canadian freeskier had competed in the Winter X Games between 2005 and 2011, winning four gold superpipe medals and two silvers. Burke, 29, died Jan. 19 from injuries sustained during a fall in a halfpipe training accident . . . Two-time Olympic gold medalist and Maine native Seth Wescott is out for the season after surgery to repair a torn muscle but he’s expected to make a full recovery. Wescott tore his pectoral muscle during the snowboardcross World Cup last Thursday in Veysonnaz, Switzerland.
Free is easy
Black Mountain of Maine is holding the first of five scheduled free skiing nights tonight from 4-9. Other free nights at the Rumford mountain are Feb. 2, 9, 16, and March 1 . . . At Cannon’s Saturday Family Fun Nights from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. through the end of February the Huckerbrook MiniPark is lit and a park pass is $5 . . . Waterville Valley’s new South Street terrain park sees some street-style action for snowboards Saturday and skis Sunday during Eastern Boarder’s Street Games jams . . . College students can save $8 off a non-holiday tubing ticket and $20 off a weekend or holiday lift ticket at Ski Butternut by using the e-coupons at the mountain’s website . . . Bolton Valley in Vermont’s $19 Saturday night lift tickets start at 4 p.m. . . . Okemo has a two-day Weekend Warrior $99 online ticket deal for Feb. 3-4 . . . Super Bowl Sunday two can ski for $68 at Cannon.Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.