Hilaree Nelson’s legacy continues to thrive with this scholarship helping women at all levels of snowsports.
One of the world’s most accomplished ski mountaineers, Hilaree Nelson undertook more than 40 expeditions, leaving an astounding record of firsts (including the first female ascent of both Everest and Lhotse in one 24-hour push). Her death at age 48 in Nepal while descending Manaslu (at nearly 8163 m, the world’s eighth-highest peak) was not the end, however.
The W2W Hilaree Nelson Education Scholarship continues, now in its fourth year—the second since it was renamed in Nelson’s honour—of helping women to advance their education in snowsports. Whether applicants are interested in avalanche safety, ski instruction, guiding or other related coursework, the program welcomes applications from introductory courses up to top-level certifications. The grants awarded will include coursework fees along with a pair of Blizzard skis and Tecnica boots.
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Education is a key pillar for W2W and awarded 51 women with over $60,000 in scholarships and equipment in the first three years of the program. Seeing the growth in applicants and learning more about their stories, Blizzard Tecnica’s Global W2W Project Leader, Leslie Baker-Brown, feels more confident than ever of its significance.
“I’ve been so moved hearing the stories of the women who won W2W Education Scholarships over the last several years,” said Baker-Brown. “These courses are not only helping them advance their mountain skills or careers, they’re also empowering them in their everyday lives and allowing them to inspire other girls and women to know they can do or be anything they want.”
“Oftentimes in life, people want to play it safe, and we make everything around us—especially in the Western world—to be comfortable and safe,” Nelson said in a National Geographic interview. “And so we can make choices where you can see where that road is going to take you, and I’ve always been prone to making a choice that I don’t know where it’s going to take me.”
Applications will be accepted (Canada – English; Canada – French and U.S.) through December 11, 2023, at which time Baker-Brown and an international team involved with the W2W program will review all entries and award a number of grants dependent on applications received. Winners will be alerted in January 2024 with funds and products awarded thereafter.
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