Welcome to year four of the Blizzard Tecnica W2W Hilaree Nelson Education Scholarship Program. Over the last 3 years we have given over $60,000 to 51 women to further their education and knowledge in snowsports.
Hilaree lost her life as she attempted a descent of Manaslu, the 8th highest peak in the world on Sept. 26, 2022. Her untimely passing has left a void in the outdoor and mountaineering community, as Nelson was not only a remarkable athlete but a beacon for women across the globe, inspiring them to break barriers and accomplish incredible feats in the outdoor world.
We will be awarding financial support to women for educational opportunities, ranging anywhere from introductory courses to top level certifications, as well as a pair of Blizzard skis and Tecnica ski boots. The number of scholarships to be awarded is dependent on the requests and will be determined after all applications have been received.
Winning the scholarship was a game changer for me. It enabled me to attend PSIA‘s National Academy this year. My assigned PSIA National Team member was Troy Walsh who helped me learn how to ski according to PSIA standards over 10 years ago. At this year’s Academy, he helped me to improve & become more dynamic when skiing Big Sky’s double black diamonds.
He also distracted me from the fear of skiing straight down steep, variable terrain. I was frequently able to ski in Troy’s tracks which helped to fine tune my timing with turns. I’m excited to pass on my newly learned skills to those at my much smaller mountain back east.
This scholarship has helped open up the door for me to start down the path of becoming a ski guide in the Tetons. There is a large financial barrier in taking guide courses, and this scholarship made the first step (the AMGA Alpine Skills Course) feasible.
The intimidation factor of guiding is also very real, and having external people tell you they believe in you (outside of financial support) also inspired confidence in me to go after my dreams. This scholarship kickstarted my path as a guide, which I hope to ultimately use to empower other women to find joy and strength in the mountains.
Blizzard Tecnica W2W Program Leader