U.S. Ski and Snowboard will bring the freestyle national championship back to Waterville Valley in New Hampshire this weekend (March 25-26) for the first time since 2019 with moguls and dual moguls competitions. It is the first year of a two-year deal that was announced in October by the federation.
Both disciplines are judged on technical ability of the skiing, aerial maneuvers and speed, but duals includes head-to-head racing and is done in a bracket format. It is a coming home of sorts for the discipline. Waterville Valley is widely considered to be the birthplace of freestyle skiing, and there even is a sign with that proclamation just before entering the village along Route 49.
Waterville Valley takes that moniker seriously. It started the first freestyle instructional program in 1969 and hosted the first championship in the discipline the following year. Hot dog skiing quickly became popular thanks to the likes of Wayne Wong, one of the early hot-doggers, creator of the “Wong Banger,” and now a member of both the U.S. and Canadian skiing halls of fame. He came from Vancouver to compete at Waterville and became a freestyle coach for the BBTS (Black and Blue Trail Smashers) and Waterville Valley Academy, which was formed in 1972. Many of the freestyle legends to visit Waterville during those early years are immortalized with trail names on Green Peak like Wayne Wong Way and (Nick) Preston’s Path.
Hannah Kearney, a member of the BBTS, competed in three Olympics and won moguls gold in Vancouver in 2010 and bronze four years later in Sochi. The Norwich, Vt, native also won four overall freestyle World Cup titles and six moguls titles.