Understandable. Especially when you add the fact that a number of DesLauriers's competitors were 10 years her junior - likely the types more disposed to abuse the word dude. I ask DesLauriers how she keeps up with skiers who are so much younger. She pauses. The silence goes on too long for my comfort. Finally, she says, "Well, the record should show that it's not me who is keeping up with them." Good point. "It was interesting to be competing with a lot of younger women," she adds. "Most of them didn't care. But some of them seemed like they had a bit of a chip on their shoulders [about] competing with this 30-something woman. You have to embrace where you are with your age. That's why I was able to do what I did in these competitions. I already knew what I was capable of. I had a mental strength and confidence. I wasn't trying to figure [it] out.
"You know, I get women at my ski camps, and they say, 'Oh, I can't do this. I'm too old.' And I say, 'Hey, you're 45. You know what? You better put the bar down on this ski lift before I push you off. Because I don't plan on being old when I'm 45.'?"
Okay, so now I'm afraid. Not Lhotse Face afraid, but still. Of course, it probably should be no surprise that she can be tough. Here's a woman whose year-round training includes five 100-mile bike rides during summer months and five or more 15-hour climbing days. It's as if she's going to Everest in a couple of weeks, though that may or may not be the case. "I am always training, and people ask me, 'What are you training for?' I say, 'I'm training for life.'?" The life of DesLauriers has included rappelling from rescue helicopters, recovering bodies from the aftermath of avalanches, saving at least one injured climber from certain death, and even adopting a 14-day-old wolf cub. Oh, plus all that Seven Summits stuff.