OLYMPICS

Olympic Mogul Skier Hannah Soar trains at Intermountain Healthcare’s Sports Science Lab 

Feb 3, 2022, 7:05 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:51 pm

MURRAY, Utah – The Beijing Olympics kick off Friday with the opening ceremonies. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard team has partnered with Intermountain Healthcare’s sports science lab at TOSH, The Orthopedic Specialist Hospital, to give our athletes a competitive advantage as they train right here in Utah. 

22-year-old Hannah Soar is making her Olympic debut this year as a U.S. women’s mogul skier. 

“I feel like that’s just so cool, you know when you finally get to realize the moment that you’ve been dreaming of for like your whole life at this point,” she described.

Soar grew up skiing in Killington, Vermont but has competed and trained in Park City ever since she made the U.S. Ski Team when she was a junior in high school. 

“My love for skiing definitely came from my parents and my grandfather was also really into skiing,” she said. “It kind of was just instilled in me at a young age, the classic started-skiing-at-18-months-story.” 

Four years ago in the fall of 2018, she suffered a severe high ankle injury two weeks before her first World Cup. Though she had mostly recovered a few months later, Soar said her left leg was still 30% weaker than her right despite doing the same exercises on both legs. 

“I had a lot of lingering pain there, a little instability, and stiffness,” she said. That’s when she started training at Intermountain Healthcare’s TOSH in Murray. 

“They put a lot of motion sensors on you and then you kind of look like a skeleton on the TV,” she explained. “It became pretty obvious that due to not wanting to take the load in the ankle, I was just using different joints.” 

Intermountain’s clinical biomechanist Bill McDermott said the sports science lab analyzes the data to pinpoint an athlete’s weak spots and deficits. “Those are tracked in real-time in three dimensions down to a millimeter of movement at a really fast rate, so up to 300 frames per second,” he said. 

The computer software builds a 3D model of the athlete. “That allows us to get down into the details of how they’re moving. We don’t even need to know what her injury background is. We can look at her as a whole and start breaking it down into finer points,” McDermott said. “The motion capture will tell us if she’s moving that ankle correctly, or is she compensating at the knee or hip or other leg.” 

In addition to the reflective sensors, McDermott said they use a state-of-the-art treadmill that measures the force the athlete is putting into the ground. “We can actually calculate at her ankle, her knee, and her hip, how the muscles are producing force [and] power,” he said. Then the trainer coaches the athlete through individualized exercises based on the data they’ve gathered.  

“The people at TOSH can dissect the data. They talk with my strength coach, Josh Bullock, and the two of them create a good program for me that’s very specific and useful,” Soar explained. “For example, with my ankle, I realized I was losing a bit of arch support, so I had to start grasping marbles with my toes and like folding my arch, you know, little things like that.”  

22-year-old Hannah Soar is making her Olympic debut in Beijing as a U.S. women’s mogul kier. After suffering an ankle injury four years ago, she trained at Intermountain Healthcare’s sports science lab at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital to recover and gain a competitive advantage. (Used by permission, Intermountain Healthcare)  Hannah Soar, an Olympic women’s mogul skier, trained in Murray at Intermountain Healthcare’s TOSH using 3D technology that measures her every move. This allows her trainer to identify weak spots or deficits in her performance to help her recover from injury and perform better. (Used by permission, Intermountain Healthcare) Hannah Soar, an Olympic women’s mogul skier, trained in Murray at Intermountain Healthcare’s TOSH using 3D technology that measures her every move. This allows her trainer to identify weak spots or deficits in her performance to help her recover from injury and perform better. (Used by permission, Intermountain Healthcare) 22-year-old Hannah Soar is making her Olympic debut in Beijing as a U.S. women’s mogul kier. After suffering an ankle injury four years ago, she trained at Intermountain Healthcare’s sports science lab at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital to recover and gain a competitive advantage. (Used by permission, Intermountain Healthcare) Hannah Soar, an Olympic women’s mogul skier, trained in Murray at Intermountain Healthcare’s TOSH using 3D technology that measures her every move. This allows her trainer to identify weak spots or deficits in her performance to help her recover from injury and perform better. (Used by permission, Intermountain Healthcare)

McDermott said this program not only helps athletes recover but can also help prevent future injuries. “Those compensations actually are linked to a higher risk of reinjuring the area of the joint that they just are rehabbing,” he said. 

“Pounding moguls every day and landing jumps – like it’s hard to not feel pain if you do have an injury somewhere. It’s a lot of force,” Soar said. “So, it enabled me to A, have less pain when I was skiing. But I was able to get my left leg strength back up to where it should be,” Soar said, bringing her to the top of her game. 

“At that level, it only takes a little bit more improvement to separate you from the other athletes,” McDermott said. 

Soar said she’s ready to compete.  

“I feel really good right now so now I can just think about getting medals,” Soar said. 

She’s grateful she has the chance to compete in the first place, especially during a pandemic. “Yes, it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of luck at the same time and I think I’m just trying to bask in the moment of like, ‘Wow, like, everything came together,’” she said. 

This program isn’t only designed for high-performance athletes. Any other orthopedic patients recovering from a knee, hip, or ankle injury or surgery or even a total joint replacement can participate, in addition to other local athletes like high school sporting teams. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Olympics

This week on Sunday Edition Doug Wright looks at the latest developments for Utah's Olympic bid....
KSL TV

Sunday Edition: Utah’s Olympic Bid, Midterm Elections

This week on Sunday Edition Doug Wright looks at the latest developments for Utah's Olympic bid.
7 days ago
One the of climbers in the training camp climbing a wall. (KSL-TV's Alex Cabrero)...
Alex Cabrero

USA Climbing Camp for Paris 2024 begins in Salt Lake City

As the Summer 2024 Olympic Games draws closer, those athletes looking to participate begin their training. 
11 days ago
The Salt Lake City valley buildings are seen with the Olympic rings on the mountain behind the city...
Hugo Rikard-Bell, KSLNewsRadio

Japan’s paused Olympic bid will not affect Salt Lake’s

Salt Lake City’s chief Olympic rival, Sapporo, Japan is taking a break in its bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics.
1 month ago
FILE: General View as the Olympic Flame burns during the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake Cit...
Eddie Pells, AP National Writer

Fewer locations, besides Salt Lake City, want to host Winter Olympics

It’s becoming nearly impossible to find any place, outside of Salt Lake City, that truly wants to host these events.
2 months ago
The Salt Lake City valley buildings are seen with the Olympic rings on the mountain behind the city...
Karah Brackin

Utah may be considered for 2030, 2034 winter Olympic Games

The International Olympic Committee wrapped up three days of meetings on Wednesday. During that time, they discussed everything from rotating the Olympic Games within a pool of host cities to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Utah may be an option for future winter games.
2 months ago
World Cup Short-track Speedskating event in Salt Lake another example Utah is ready for a future Ol...
Alex Cabrero

World Cup speedskating event shows Utah is ready for future Olympics

World Cup short track speedskating event in Salt Lake showcases that Utah is ready to hold possible upcoming Olympic Games.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Olympic Mogul Skier Hannah Soar trains at Intermountain Healthcare’s Sports Science Lab