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Geraghty-Moats celebrates Nordic combined successes at end of topsy-turvy year

  • West Fairlee's Tara Geraghty-Moats talks with Conner Chinn, 14, and Zoe Chinn, 16, in Lebanon, N.H., on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Geraghty-Moats spent a number of hours signing autographs and talking to fans outside Omer & Bob's bicycle shop. The Nordic combined skier has worked to get women's Nordic combined on the international skiing competition calendar. ( Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Amer Al-Nimr waits with his daughters Hannah, 8, and Mimi, 10, to talk to Nordic combined skier and ski jumper Tara Geraghty-Moats in Lebanon, N.H., on Saturday, April 3, 2021. The Al-Nimrs are all Alpine skiers. ( Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 4/3/2021 9:35:26 PM
Modified: 4/3/2021 9:35:25 PM

LEBANON — A pair of old skis is headed for retirement after receiving an autograph from World Cup champion Tara Geraghty-Moats.

The local pioneer in the sport of women’s Nordic combined — a discipline that includes both cross country skiing and ski jumping — hosted a meet-and-greet outside of Omer and Bob’s on Saturday on the Lebanon mall.

Geraghty-Moats, who claimed the inaugural FIS Women’s World Cup overall title this past winter, brought her coveted crystal globe along to the event.

“The reason I invited everyone out here today is because, with COVID, there’s not a lot of ways to share this with the community,” Geraghty-Moats said during an interview. “And I’m really happy to share this with everyone who helped me achieve these goals, but also the next generation and hopefully inspire them to reach their own goals in skiing.”

The ongoing pandemic threw a wrench into the latest season, cancelling seven of eight World Cup competitions, which left Geraghty-Moats the overall champ based on her December victory at the circuit’s lone event in Ramsau, Austria.

It was a long winter of training with limited payoff, but Geraghty-Moats made the best of it.

“I was in Europe for seven months and only had six competitions,” she said. “It was really crazy, but I got a lot of good training there and was able to test equipment and train and be part of the team.

“What was really funny is we didn’t know we were going to have five competitions or six competitions this winter, so we would train for an event for a month, a month and a half, and then just have it cancelled, so that was really challenging.”

Geraghty-Moats was able to make it the Ural Mountains of Russia, where she won the last three FIS Continental Cup events of the season to finish second in the standings. The former two-time series champion wasn’t able to make it to the first three Continental Cup competitions of the season due to COVID travel restrictions.

The West Fairlee native also took fifth place at February’s first-ever FIS Women’s World Championships in Obertsdorf, Germany. That performance included Geraghty-Moats winning the 5K cross country component of the event.

The jury is still out on if, or when, women’s Nordic combined will be added to the Olympic docket.

Geraghty-Moats plans to stay close to home next winter, necessitating a step back from Nordic combined training, she said. The jumps at Lake Placid are under renovation, which would require relocating to in Utah or Europe. She will not, however, be stepping away from Nordic training and competition.

The sport of women’s Nordic combined has gradually developed both an international and local following, as evidenced by Saturday’s turnout of at least 50 people.

Just as the event was getting under way around 10 a.m., longtime ski coach Jay Davis told the assembled group about the first time he saw the now-international champion out on the cross country trails as a fourth grader.

“She was like a floating elf, so comfortable on skis,” said Davis, who coaches for the Bill Koch ski program. “And I thought, ‘That kind of floating will go somewhere if she wants it to.’ ”

Geraghty-Moats began skiing as a 2-year-old and developed an interest in jumping around age 9. Within a few short years, she was sending it from a platform anything but kid-sized.

“She went off a 90-meter (ski jump) at age 11,” Davis recalled during an interview. “That’s just crazy.”

Saturday’s attendees were people of all ages, including Mary Matter, a 12-year old student-athlete from Hanover.

“Seeing that she knows the same people that I do and does the same skiing as I do is pretty cool,” Matter said. “It’s good to see so many people here and inspired by her.”

One young man appeared Saturday with a pair of yellow jumping skis. At 248 centimeters in length, the Fischer-brand boards towered above the crowd. They were well-known to Geraghty-Moats, who skied on them as a youngster, then left them for others to use at Storrs Hill Ski Area.

“(The skis) rotate through the kids that need them,” said Storrs Hill ski coach Ed Tourville, whose son was toting the skis. “But in the situation, they deserve retirement because now they’ve been autographed again. Her autograph is right there, if you can see it; as a kid she signed it, so you don’t lose your skis.”

Regardless of how long her latest signature lasts on the old pair of Fischers, Geraghty-Moats has already made an indelible mark on her sport.




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