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Profile: Hilaree Nelson

posted: 01/14/2002
by Evelyn Spence

Sign: Sagittarius (Born: Dec. 13, 1972)

Hometown: Telluride, Colorado

Pedigree: Grew up in Seattle, skiing at Stevens Pass.

Focus: Ski mountaineering

Résumé: Won the '96 Red Bull Snow Thrill in Chamonix, then switched to expeditions.

Epic Trips: First descents of Udina, in Kamchatka, Russia, and Hanuman Tibba, India.

Why Mountaineering? "The problem solving. It's kind of fun to find routes and avoid avalanches, to solve puzzles for places no one has skied before. I mean, how cool is that?"

Injuries: "I've been lucky. I'm more likely to fall down while I'm crossing the street."

Good Luck Charm: "I stick Powerpuff Girls stickers on my skis. They're just silly pictures of girls being aggressive. When I'm freaked out, I look down and laugh."

Ski Heroine: Kristin Ulmer: "I saw her in all the ski movies, so when I first met her in Chamonix, I was fully in idol mode. She was my goal: aggressive and fast."

Marital Status: Sigh "I'm pretty single. My lifestyle's not good for relationships."

Mountain Chow: "Beef jerky. It's the best."

Mountain Hooch: "Whenever I start a trip, I stop at the duty-free shop and pick up a handle of Maker's Mark to put in my water bottle."

On the Nightstand: Endurance: An Epic of Polar Adventureby F.A. Worsley.

Reel Time: Her descent of Mount Waddington, B.C., appears in Warren Miller's new movie, Cold Fusion.

Biggest Scare: "I was in Cham skiing an icy face above huge cliffs. My friend had never skied it before. I told her, 'Don't fall. You can't fall.' She went ahead and skied down just fine, and then I fell. I stopped, but it scared the piss out of me."

Wild Streak: "After a hike, I love to take off my clothes and jump in the water. Anywhere. Is that weird?"

On Being a Girl: "I prefer to mountaineer with men, unless it's women I'm used to. But that makes it hard -- I push myself too much. I don't want to be the one always bringing up the rear."

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