Reaching the Peak (of Seven Summits) with Skier Kit DesLauriers

Up and down with champion skier Kit DesLauriers.

Photos by Jimmy Chin

Kit DesLauriers in Chamonix, France. Photo Jimmy Chin

She is the first person to ski from all the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each of the seven continents—after climbing them first. She also made several first ski descents in the Brooks Range of Alaska and is the first woman to win two consecutive world freeskiing championship titles. You can see why she was National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year in 2015 and one of Outside Magazine’s Top 25 Athletes of the Year. Living in the Teton Range of Wyoming with her husband Rob and two daughters, she continues to balance an athletic career, epic ski expeditions, raising a family, and advocating for the environment.

HANAH founder Joel Einhorn and Kit talk climbing-slash-skiing Everest, arachnophobia and doing the right thing.

Joel Einhorn: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Kit DesLauriers: My daughters, but 40 years into the future. We’d talk about their lives, world issues and in general what we personally and collectively did well over the past 40 years and what we could have done better. Then I’d wake up the next morning and be back to the present.

JE: If you weren’t a skier, you’d be…

KD: A regenerative agriculturist, a stone sculptor, a scientist, a landscape designer…

JE: What is one of the most important lessons you hope to teach your daughters?

KD: With love and grit, anything is possible.

Skier Kit DesLauriers, Everest. Photo Jimmy Chin

JE: What scares you?

KD: A few years ago while on a solo ski trip in the Winds, I read a book by Pema Chodron that asked me the same thing. I realized then that I’m scared of losing my freedom to be outdoors in the natural world on my own terms, which I’d basically summarize as a major disability. That and spiders since once upon a time one almost killed me.

JE: What is one (or more) thing you do for health or fitness every day?

I practice gratitude, exercise and eat whole foods. I wish I could say I meditate every day, but it’s still a goal.

JE: What is the biggest challenge facing our planet and civilization today?

KD: I believe that the biggest challenge facing our planet and civilization today is our attachment to material wealth and propensity for taking the “easy way.” In my opinion, if our civilization could adopt the mindset of doing the right thing as opposed to being focused primarily on making money and taking the easy way out of a challenge then we’d be full of solutions to our most pressing problems such as climate change, loss of habitat, deforestation, pollution, disease, humanitarian crises, and the list goes on. By example, what harm has ever come to our planet or civilization from kind subsistence farmers or Buddhist lamas?

Kit DesLauriers skiing in Chamonix, France. Photo Jimmy Chin

JE: Who were your heroes growing up?

KD: This will really place me on a timeline but to be honest, when I was a young girl I was enamored with Nadia Comaneci, the nine-time Olympic medalist and the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.0 in the Olympics. Also, I’ve always loved the story of Amelia Earhart. She was obviously many generations before me but I appreciate her boldness as well as her skill, grit and determination.

JE: Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?

KD: The summit of Mount Everest with my skis on.

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Skier Kit DesLauriers, Everest. Photo Jimmy Chin