Hannah Kearney honored by ski journalists with Paul Robbins award

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 24, 2011 2:15 pm

Author of Story: Tom KellyUSSA.ORG

The U.S. Ski Team’s Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) was honored by the North American Snowsports Journalists Association for her record season winning nine freestyle moguls World Cups and the season-long title. Kearney was selected to receive the Paul Robbins Outstanding Competitor Award presented annually by NASJA to a top competitive skier or snowboarder.

Kearney will be formally recognized by NASJA after Friday’s moguls competition at the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships at Stratton Mountain. The award is named in honor of the late Paul Robbins, who for more than 30 years was the written voice of ski competition worldwide.

“I knew Paul Robbins personally, so it means that much more because I know what an outstanding journalist he was but also a fan and supporter,” said Kearney. “To have the award being named after him and to be the recipient is truly a huge honor.”

Robbins, a Vermont journalist who worked for the U.S. Ski Team, Ski Racing and other publications, died in 2008. The award has been named in his honor since then.

Photo: Tom Kelly/USSA.ORG

Kearney told the story of her first World Cup win in Japan when it was impossible to make a call back home. “Paul was the one who called my parents at probably two in the morning and told them I’d won. He’s been an important part of my career.”

The Olympic champion had a record breaking 2010-11 season, winning nine FIS World Cup moguls events including all six individual events and three of the four dual moguls competitions. Her nine wins was a new World Cup season record for moguls skiers. Kearney ran away with the season-long World Cup moguls title and also took the overall crown.

“Every journalist I know loves to interview Hannah,” said Vermont journalist and NASJA member Peggy Shinn. “She’s smart, focused, enthusiastic, and articulate. And she never seems to tire when talking about freestyle skiing. I know she was a favorite of Paul’s too.

“And I like to think he would get all gooshy knowing that she is receiving an award named after him. But only for a few minutes. Then he would tell Hannah to get herself back to Fenway and show Wakefield how to really throw a pitch.”

Kearney had learned of the honor while competing in Sweden earlier in March, before she had clinched the titles. “It was voted on earlier in the season, which is even more flattering because they believed in me before I’d necessarily won the [World Cup] overall,” said Kearney, who went out after that and won the final three events of the season.

Kearney is the first freestyle skier to receive the award since Olympic champion Donna Weinbrecht won in 1992. The award has been presented since 1967 with the late Jimmie Heuga as the first recipient.

NASJA is a professional group of more than 250 writers, authors, photographers, filmmakers and broadcasters who report ski- and snowboard-related news, information and features throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, via various media.

Past Winners – NASJA Outstanding Competitor Award
2011 – Hannah Kearney
2010 – Entire U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Olympic Team
2009 – Lindsey Vonn
2008 – Lindsey Vonn
2007 – Julia Mancuso
2006 – Shaun White
2005 – Bode Miller
2004 – Hannah Teter, Daron Rahlves
2003 – Bode Miller
2002 – Bode Miller
2001 – Daron Rahlves
2000 – U.S. Disabled Ski Team
1999 – Victor Roy
1998 – Sarah Bilmeier
1997 – Canadian freestyle team
1996 – Picabo Street
1995 – Picabo Street
1994 – North American Olympic gold medalists (Myriam Bedard, Jean-Luc
Brassard, Tommy Moe, Diann Roffe)
1993 – Georgene Bihlman
1992 – Donna Weinbrecht
1991 – Julie Parisien
1990 – U.S. Disabled Ski Team
1989 – Jan Bucher
1988 – Pam Fletcher
1987 – Kerry Lynch
1986 – Diana Golden
1985 – Cindy Nelson
1984 – Bill Johnson
1983 – Tamara McKinney
1982 – U.S. Women’s Alpine Ski Team
1981 – Phil Mahre
1980 – Phil Mahre
1979 – Phil Mahre
1978 – No award
1977 – Phil Mahre
1976 – Bill Koch
1975 – Hank Kashiwa
1974 – Martha Rockwell
1973 – Jean Claude Killy
1972 – Barbara Cochran
1971 – Cochran Family
1970 – Billy Kidd
1969 – No award
1968 – John Bower
1967 – Jimmie Heuga