This September, ski mountaineer Kit DesLauriers will join ranks with the sport's greatest at the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame in Park City, Utah. The Hall of Fame acknowledges those who have made significant contributions to skiing in the Intermountain region of Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. "Kit is a truly inspirational skier," said Connie Nelson, Executive Director of the Alf Engen Ski Museum, where the Hall of Fame is held.
DesLauriers, 41, is perhaps best known as the first to ski the Seven Summits, which she completed in October 2006 with a descent of Mount Everest. On that quest, she tagged several other firsts including the Polish Glacier on Argentina's Aconcagua (22,841 feet) and the first female descent of Vinson Massif (16,050 feet) in Antarctica. She also won the World Freeskiing Tour in 2004 and 2005.
“It was instilled in me early on to not let anyone tell me there’s something I can’t do.” [Photo] Jimmy Chin
"I was completely blown away with surprise," said DesLauriers of hearing news of her acceptance into the Hall. She is rightfully thrilled by the honor and equally excited for the sport. "I'm really happy that backcountry skiing is being recognized at that level."
"Kit really stands out as interesting," said Nelson, noting that the Hall of Fame primarily acknowledges Olympians, instructors and resort innovators. Nelson hopes that Kit's acceptance will be a catalyst for the Hall to elect more young, contemporary figures.
Likely the best-known backcountry pioneer in the Intermountain Ski Hall is Bill Briggs, who, in 1971, was first to ski the Grand Teton. "Many of us who love to ski the Grand will always hold Bill in the highest honor," said DesLauriers who has lived in Teton Village, Wyoming for the past decade. "We think about him often, whether he knows it or not."
Kit skiing Mount Everest's Lhotse Face near Camp III. [Photo] Jimmy Chin
Lately, DesLauriers has been recovering from a knee injury, focusing on cycling and sharing her story through presentations. Following an expedition last year to the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska's Brooks Range, she has been lobbying for the protection of ANWR through her presentations and a planned book and documentary film. This summer, Kit hopes to travel to South America to help with the World Freeskiing Tour and she is planning an expedition for the fall.
On September 22, the Alf Engen Ski Museum at Utah Olympic Park hosts the induction ceremony where Kit will be honored along with Bill Levitt, the former mayor of Alta, freestyle skier Dean Robert Theobald, and Ray Steward, founder of Timp Haven, now Sundance Resort.
Sources: engenmuseum.org, kitdski.com