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The Dynamic Duo, 33 and 31
Kasha Rigby and Hilaree O’Neill were both ready to quit their struggling ski mountaineering careers when they literally stumbled into each other during a grappa-drenched telemark festival in Livigno, Italy, in 1997. “I’d just come back from Siberia and she had just come back from India, says Rigby. “We’d been the token girls brought along to make the photos look better, says O’Neill. Sick of the whole testosterone-dominated scene, the duo planned and executed an all-women trip to the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia. They pulled off a flawless adventure on a scant budget: “There was so much more teamwork and discussion, says Rigby. “It was the most together expedition I’d ever been on. Since then the pair has led macho-free journeys to India, Russia, Canada, Tibet, South America, China, Mongolia, and Europe. Still, the sponsors aren’t exactly lining up to write checks. “I can tell you that I’m not living fat, says Rigby.
The Vision: O’Neill: “Let’s say, ‘The future could look bright if more men in the ski business took women seriously.’ Rigby: “Okay, we’ll say that, and hope they won’t drop us for saying it.