Hilaree Nelson, renowned ski mountaineer, friend, and mentor to many perished this week on Manaslu in the Nepalese Himalayas. She was attempting to ski from the summit with her partner Jim Morrison when she set off a small slide that sent her careening some 5,000 feet down the mountain. Her body was recovered yesterday.
Above all the adventure accolades, Hilaree Nelson was a mother to two fine young sons. She was a trailblazer as well, balancing a professional ski career with motherhood like perhaps no one before her. It was a tricky balance: she told us she undervalued herself in the beginning and had reservations about having children given her career. But a traumatic event convinced her that having kids was the right move, and that her career would survive. So she continued to do what she loved, pushing the pursuit of ski mountaineering (and alpine climbing for that matter) to its absolute limit.
In 2019, she sat down with Kimmy Fasani and The Inertia’s Joe Carberry at the EVOLVE Summit to discuss the tricky balance of parenting and juggling a professional skiing career. She spoke of the struggles and the triumphs of working through the awkward years, when she said women were less valued. But she came out the other side, and has become an icon since. Nelson also talked about why she worked to get her kids outside to play with her, even if it wasn’t always easy – she wanted them to have a passion for the great outdoors and understand the importance of that community.
The staff at The Inertia has a deep respect for Hilaree Nelson as a person, as well as all of her accomplishments. Our thoughts are with her friends and family during this difficult time.
Watch the entire panel with Hilaree Nelson at the 2019 EVOLVE Summit, here.