We recently contacted Kit Deslauriers recently to ask for an interview from one of the most prolific ski-mountaineering athletes in the world. Each time she hits a mountain, she faces all the challenges of mountaineering but with one huge bonus, free-skiing off the summit!
Kit Deslauriers’ Background
Prior to becoming a professional mountain skier, Kit found her skills in mountaineering appreciated whilst volunteering as part of the San Miguel County Search and Rescue Team in Colorado, USA.
Born in 23rd November, 1969, Kit has continued to marvel outdoor sports enthusiasts with ongoing achievements such as back-to-back Free Skiing World Championship titles in 2004 and 2005.
This interest in skiing and mountaineering led her to focus onski descents in the mountains of Antarctica, Russia, Alaska, the European Alps, New Zealand and South America.
Climber, mountaineer, search and rescue team leader, charitable work, mountain biker and prolific skier – is there no end to Kit’s outdoor endeavors?! Here, we get a great insight into the motivations and life of such an outdoor athlete…
CheapTents.com: What inspired you to get into ski mountaineering?
Kit: I am drawn to beautiful lines in the mountains and as I set my sights on bigger and bigger objectives, it just morphed into ski mountaineering.
CheapTents.com: What has been your greatest achievement?
Kit: Completing my project to ski from the highest point on each of the seven continents, aka the Seven Summits. [This includes being the first woman to ski off the 25,938-foot-high South Col summit of Everest].
Winning the World Freeskiing Tour two years in a row was also ‘up there’. [See more career highlights below].
CheapTents.com: What is your biggest weakness?
Kit: Wanting to do everything, really well, all at once!
Kit’s first international climbing expedition was to Peak Siniolchu (6,887 m) in Sikkim, India during April/May of 1998. It was during this trip, as she moved through the majestic Himalaya, that Kit realized how much she wished she had her skis with her.
CheapTents.com: When did you feel like you ‘made it’ in your field of outdoor sports? And do you feel like you’ve satisfied your goals?
Kit: When I made my first ever ‘first descent’ on Mount Aspiring in New Zealand and in 2003 and then won my first World Freeskiing Tour in 2004 I felt like I had finally made it to the top of somewhere! Becoming sponsored by The North Face was the icing on the cake. The goal though is to keep skiing beautiful lines, so while I have been satisfying them, life goes on!
CheapTents.com: What do you find most challenging about training?
Kit: Justifying time for cross-training, it is so important though! Strength, speed, and endurance are all enhanced by flexibility.
CheapTents.com: What has been your worst injury (if any), from outdoors sports and how did it happen?
Kit: On the second pitch climbing Elephant’s Perch in the backcountry of the Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho, I made a high step with a twist and tore meniscus in my left knee. It was a long recovery, but everything I have accomplished with my skiing that people seem to notice happened after that.
CheapTents.com: What will be your most challenging climbs for next year?
Kit: The climb back into the saddle of getting up into big high mountains again after recently becoming a mom.
CheapTents.com: Where would you like to be in 5 years time? Main Ambitions?
Kit: Bringing my little girl to basecamps around the world so she can experience other cultures and a childhood in nature while I tack exciting ski descents onto the trips!
CheapTents.com: For other budding outdoor sports enthusiasts, what tips can you provide to help other compete at a higher level?
Kit: Practice mental control. That’s what sets elite athletes apart in their fields.
CheapTents.com: What are your favourite bits of gear, and why?
Kit: The Prism Optimus Jacket because it is warm and great fitting. The Prophet 45 backpack, it can fit skis and winter camping gear but still compress down to be small enough to take to the summit almost empty.
CheapTents.com: Any people or sponsors that you’d like thank?
Kit: Thanks to The North Face, my friends at Balance Vector, Marker / Volkl, Smith, and GU Sports.
CheapTents.com: Thanks for the insight into such a fantastic career! And good luck for the future with both your sporting achievement and Pursure balance organisation!
Kit’s Ski Mountaineering Career Highlights:
- First Person to Ski From All Seven Summits and First Woman to Ski From Summit of Everest, October 2006
- Polish Glacier, Aconcagua, Argentina (22,834 ft.): first complete descent direct from the summit, December 2005
- Vinson Massif, Antarctica (16,067 ft.): first female ski descent, December 2005
- Mt. Elbrus, Russia (18,540 ft., highest mountain in Europe): first female ski descent down the North Face, June 2005
- Mt. McKinley, Alaska (20,320 ft., highest mountain in North America): first American female ski descent (2nd woman ever), May 2004
- Therma Glacier, Mt. Aspiring, New Zealand (3,033 m.): first female ski descent and first descent of new route, November 2003
- Ford Couloir, Grand Teton, Wyoming (13,770 ft.), June 2003
- Other notable descents in Siberia, the French Alps, the Tetons, the Sierra Nevada and Colorado
Kit Deslauriers Free Skiing Career Highlights:
- 2005 Freeskiing World Tour Women’s Champion
- 2005 U.S. Freeskiing Women’s Champion
- 2004 Freeskiing World Tour Women’s Champion
Watch the Kit Deslauriers Interview on the 7 Summits:
As a founding member of Pursue Balance, a not-for-profit organisation, Kit helps people fulfill their full environmental and personal potential. From their website they state:
Pursue Balance is committed to creating opportunities that allow people to move towards balance in order to live better lives, lead by example and create a healthier community…Pursue Balance exists to offer key information and education to the general public regarding methods of creating healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives for individuals, their families and their communities through attention to personal transformation and environmental stewardship.
Thank you and good luck!
CheapTents.com regards such achievements on a personal and human level, hugely commendable, as it’s from such things that make us and other outdoor sports enthusiasts enjoy the things that we do (albeit on a smaller scale!). We wish Kit, her husband (Rob DesLauriers) and their various expedition teams, all the sucess they strive for.
If you enjoyed reading this interview then check-out the climbing advice pages and other athlete interviews.
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