Blizzard/Tecnica proudly announce the official addition of Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison, two of the world’s most elite ski mountaineers, to the global team. This partnership solidifies Blizzard/Tecnica’s commitment to engineering high-performance hard goods for backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. It also ensures that, in exposed, high-altitude terrain, Nelson and Morrison will be equipped with skis and ski boots made by a company with a 74-year legacy of excellence in alpine skiing.
Last September, Nelson and Morrison completed a historic first ski descent of the world’s fourth tallest mountain, Lhotse, which is located near Mount Everest in Nepal’s Himalayas. The pair skied the 7,000-vertical-foot descent on Blizzard/Tecnica’s Zero G product line.
“For Lhoste, I knew I needed a ski that had some traditional aspects to it, like a flat tail and stiffer construction,” explains Nelson, who lives in Telluride, Colorado. In terrain of high consequence, Nelson said she needs to rely on the full length of the ski, which aligns perfectly with the Zero G’s tip-to-tail edge engagement. “To me, that alpine heritage meant they had a foundation for solid, uncompromising equipment, and after a few days trying out the Zero G prior to the trip, I felt this was the ski that would allow me to ski Lhoste with confidence.”
Skiing Lhotse on Zero G products marked a big shift for Nelson in her approach to backcountry ski gear. “I had never attempted an expedition in anything other than a 2-buckle boot and was nervous about the 4-buckle format,” said Nelson, comparing the Zero G ski boot to other models of ski mountaineering boots that she had used prior to Lhotse. She based her decision to change her equipment on the reputation of Blizzard/Tecnica’s performance in big mountain ski terrain.
The week before she departed for Nepal in August, Nelson made a couple of minor adjustments to her Zero G ski boots, with the help of a local bootfitter. Otherwise, she says she felt confident skiing in them straight out of the box. “Feeling how light they were made me more comfortable,” she says.
Morrison and Nelson are both accomplished big-mountain skiers, having climbed and skied many of the world’s most prized summits, including Denali, Makalu, and Papsura. The latter, located in India’s Himalayas, is known as the “Peak of Evil.” In 2012, Nelson became the first woman to climb two 8,000-meter peaks—Everest and Lhotse—in 24 hours. After that trip, Nelson says she knew she wanted to ski Lhotse.
Morrison, who lives in Tahoe City, California, has recently emerged to tick off iconic high-altitude ski descents all over the world. He described the Lhotse Couloir to Outside Magazine as an “iconic, splinter couloir” that “just screams ski line to me.”
"To be successful at ski mountaineering projects in high-altitude terrain, Morrison and Nelson require gear that can climb with ease, but also ski downhill confidently and across variable conditions," says Joe Sipe, Blizzard/Tecnica Pro and Freeride Manager.
“Hilaree and Jim’s comments on the performance of the Zero G line are precisely in line with our engineering philosophy for touring equipment, and one of the reasons we are so excited to have them join the Blizzard/Tecnica family,” says Sipe.
Nelson echoes the values of Blizzard/Tecnica.
“I love that these guys are bringing alpine performance to touring equipment, and couldn’t be more excited to join the team,” says Nelson. “At the end of the day, I just want to ski.”