Hilaree O'Neill

Alpine Climber,Skier

Combining a passion for exploration, mountains and skiing, Hilaree has traveled to some of the most exotic mountain ranges on earth. Outside Magazine named her one of the most adventurous women in the world of sports.

She’s skied from the Himalayan summit of Cho Oyu in Tibet and climbed and skied several high peaks in Bolivia and Argentina. Elsewhere, she’s cut turns on remote volcanoes in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, in Mongolia, Pakistan, Lebanon, as well as many first descents in the tight couloirs of Baffin Island.

Born and raised in the Northwest, Hilaree began skiing at age 3 at Steven’s Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Eventually she moved to the Chamonix Valley of France where she learned most of what she needed to know in order to take her skiing skills to the next level- ski mountaineering.

In addition to her travels as an athlete for The North Face, Hilaree is a mother to two young boys, and although they have changed her life dramatically, her passion for the mountains has not abated. Hilaree lives with her family in Telluride, Colorado and finds her sanity in the beautiful San Juan Mountains.

  • Denali Summit and Ski, Alaska Range, June 2011
  • Ski Exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, May 2010
  • Attempted ski descent of Gasherbrum II, Pakistan, turned around at 7500m, June 2008
  • Ski exploration in Prince William Sound, Alaska, April 2007
  • Climbed and skied several peaks throughout Bolivia, Spring 2006
  • Skied from the summit of Cho Oyu in Nepal
  • Kamchatka, Russia: exploring the region via helicopter and ski touring
  • Cerro Mercedario Ski Expedition: first ski descent of the south face of Mercedario, from 19,500 feet, Los Andes, Argentina
  • Mongolian Altai Women’s Expedition: first ski descent of all five of the “Holy Peaks” of the Mongolian Altai
  • South Georgia Island Ski and Snowboard Expedition: first ski descent of Mt. Norman
  • Mt. Waddington Ski Expedition: first female descent of the northwest summit of Waddington and Combatant Couloir
  • Hannuman Tibba Women’s Expedition: first ski descent of RFHP, a 2,500-meter couloir in the Himachal Pradesh region of India
  • Aconcagua Ski Expedition: summited via Polish Glacier Direct in Los Andes, Argentina
  • Kamchatka Women’s Ski Expedition: first ski descent of Mt. Udina and Mt. Zimina, as well as the first female ski descent of Mt. Tolbachik
  • Lebanon Ski Expedition: ski descent Qornet as-Sawda, 3,090 meters: traverse of the Mt. Lebanon Range
  • The Monta Rosa via Grenz Glacier from Switzerland into Italy, ski descent of the Marinelli Couloir, longest couloir in the Alps
  • Buck Mountain: first female ski descent of Bubble Fun Couloir, The Tetons, Wyoming
  • 1996 European Women’s Extreme Skiing Champion, Chamonix, France

Films/Media Highlights:

  • Warren Miller Film, 2010
  • Feature of Baffin Island, 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America, 2010
  • Athlete Profile in Warren Miller’s Snoworld Magazine, 2010
  • Athlete Profile, Backcountry All-Stars, Telluride Magazine, Winter 2010
  • Feature Article, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Expedition, Wend Magazine, 2010
  • Warren Miller Film, 2004
  • National ad campaign photos for The North Face, 2004
  • Skiing magazine (February), “12 Stars Who Are Changing the Sport,” 2004
  • Outside magazine’s “25 Sports and Adventure Goddesses Who Rule,” 2003
  • Warren Miller’s Storm, 2002
  • OLN South Georgia Island Expedition, 2002
  • Warren Miller’s Extreme Winter, 2001
  • Transworld Television, “Ski Nomads: A Traverse of Lebanon,”2001
  • OLN, “Outlaws of the Aconcagua Trail,” 2001
  • OLN adventure series, “Mystery Mountain,” 2001
  • NBC adventure series, The North Face’s “Descending India,”2000* Most Humbling Moment: Being outsmarted by a 3 year old
  • Ambition: Being a good mother. Getting my pilot’s license. Skiing a second 8000m peak
  • Inspiration Within the Sport: Every time I see a new mountain range. It is different from the last. The more places I go, the more places I realize I have yet to see.
  • Favorite Destination for Your Sport: Mountains anywhere in the world but my heart beats a little harder for anything India
  • Favorite Movie: Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Favorite Magazine: The Ski Journal
  • Words to Live By: The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
  • What TNF Products Do You Always Pack: the Thunder Jacket because it is the most versatile jacket as a layer or my main piece and it’s super light to pack; Ultra GTX XCR running shoe because it’s a great shoe for multiple purposes from hiking to hanging; and a great hat because I can’t stand sun on my face
  • Proudest Moment in Your Career: Skiing the 5 Holy Peaks of Mongolia
  • Favorite Mountain: Telluride in Colorado
  • Favorite Music to Ski to: I prefer to ski sans tunes.
  • How do you prepare for a day in the backcountry? Pack yummy food, check the avy report, talk to anyone that’s recently skied where I want to go (the avy danger in Telluride is off the charts), pack my gear, check my beacon batteries, drop the kids at daycare and head out.
  • What advice do you have for staying safe out there? Get as much info as you can about where you are going. Go with people you trust and that listen to each other. Make sure everyone knows how to use their gear!!
  • Goals for Next Season: Have fun and scare myself a little bit.
  • Favorite Place to Travel: India because it is crazy. It’s always an unexpected adventure despite all of the planning. Plus, the people are beautiful and rough and deeply religious all at the same time. I love the smells and the colors, the food is also unbelievable.