For many athletes, hard work and determination are what drives them to the top. The passion to be the best pushes them to the limit and beyond. For other athletes such as professional skier Kit DesLauriers, safety is her number one priority. Using Mountain Athletics training, Kit was able to strengthen her core, legs and back in order to handle the unforgiving mountainous terrain. As Kit often states “The stronger I am indoors, the safer I am outdoors”.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is home to some of the best skiers in the world, but few of them have a resume as impressive as Kit DesLauriers’. In 2004 and 2005, DesLauriers won the Women’s World Freeskiing Championship’s overall title. For eight years, she’s been a member of The North Face Athlete Team, and in 2006 she became the first person to ski from the top of the highest peak on every continent (she just finished a memoir of her seven summit conquest). She’s also racked up hundreds of first descents, including runs down the Polish Glacier on Aconcagua and Mount Isto, arguably the highest peaks in Alaska’s Brooks Range (more on that later). Her accomplishments earned her a spot in the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame in 2011. In addition, photos of her frequently grace the pages of magazines like Outside and Skiing. Oh, and she’s a wife and a mother of two young daughters, Grace and Tia. How’s she do it all? We asked.
When does your day typically look like?
When I was writing my book, I’d often wake up at four in the morning. I’d work for three hours then still have the rest of the day. Sometimes I would go to Mountain Athlete, the gym where I train, sometimes I would ski. My husband, Rob, is very supportive and we’ll talk the night before and figure out our day. Usually, I make it to bed by 9.
What do your workouts look like?
The workouts change throughout the year. At various times we’ll do lots of strength training, plyometric conditioning, and work capacity training.
How do you feel Mountain Athletics has benefited you?
About a month or so into training with Mountain Athletics, my husband looked at me and said, ‘wow, you are really strong right now. I don’t think I’ve seen you this strong.’ In the summer, I’ve taken several minutes off my time running/hiking up Jackson Hole Resort. And my core is much stronger, which is great when you have to carry a backpack or pull a sled on expeditions.
You travel a lot to give talks. How do you stay in shape on the road
Through Mountain Athletics, I’ve learned to do a lot with free weights. Squats, Scotty Bobs [Start in a plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Push up, then row upward with the right hand, then do a push up, then row upward with the left hand], EOs [Lying on your back, knees bent, crunch your body and shuffle to the right for ten reps, then to the left for ten reps], and you can usually find someplace to do pull-ups. So when I walk into a hotel gym, I’m not looking at the machines. I’m looking at where I can do step ups or weighted lunges. I’ve stopped at K-Mart and bought 25-pound dumbbells. And I’ve brought a rubber band to do band walks [Wrap a band around your ankles and slowly walk sideways while keeping tension in the band].
How do you fuel yourself?
I eat lots of vegetables and meat and I eat very little dairy. I’ve just always noticed that dairy doesn’t work for me. A guy said to me in college ‘You’re kind of sniffly. Are you always sniffly?’ I said yeah and he told me to cut out dairy. I did and my symptoms went away.
Do you use any supplements?
Yes, I use a multivitamin called Nutriex that was developed by my knee surgeon in Park City. I’ve had two knee surgeries. In 2002 I suffered a massive lateral meniscus tear and in 2011 I tore my ACL. It contains anti-inflammatory plant-based nutrients and I find that taking the multivitamin helps my joints. When I fall off the wagon and stop taking it, I can tell. I get achy. Then I feel really good when I get back on it.
Do you do anything else to keep your body feeling good?
I go to chiropractor when I need it and I get deep tissue massage every six weeks. I also do yoga once a week.
What are you training for now?
I’m heading out on a National Geographic expedition to the Brooks Range in Alaska. We’ll carry GPS devices and part of the trip will be used to measure how much the glaciers are melting. Another part of the trip will be to determine what the highest mountain is in the Arctic. It’s either Mount Isto or Mount Chamberlain but we don’t really know. Using the technology we have, we’ll be able to determine that. And it will also be a ski expedition. We’ll ski 5,000 to 7,000 vertical feet for four days.
How do you mentally prepare for those big descents?
I focus on positive mental thoughts. Still, it’s inevitable that a negative thought will creep in. When that happens, I just stop what I’m doing and replace it with a positive thought. Sometimes I imagine a really wonderful moment in my life. I raised a wolf in my 20s when I was living in Telluride, Colorado, and sometimes I’ll think of that. Sometimes I’ll think about a feature that I skied in the past and stuck it. And I don’t think about my kids, because that causes self-preservation and self-preservation is fear. And fear is paralyzing.