Winter X Games 15: 10 Things You Need To Know About Gretchen Bleiler
The Winter X Games are finally here.
It's been nearly a year since the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and now the top winter sports athletes from around the world are here to show off what they've been working on for the last year.
Among them is world-class female snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler.
In this slideshow we'll get to know the real Gretchen—everything from her major victories to her favorite activities, and everything in between.
So without further ado, here's 10 things you need to know about Gretchen Bleiler.
Bleiler Wasn't Born a Snowboarder
Believe it or not, she wasn't born with a board on her feet and goggles on her eyes. In fact, she wasn't born anywhere near the snow.
Gretchen Bleiler was born in Toldeo, Ohio, and raised three hours away in Dayton—famous for its Air Force museum, the Wright brothers, and the Dayton Art Institute.
Not for snowboarding.
It wasn't until Gretchen was 10 that their family moved out to Aspen, Colorado, where she fell in love with snowboarding at age 11.
Gretchen Bleiler...or Gretchen Hotell?
The casual fan may never notice, but Gretchen is in fact married.
In the summer of 2009, she and Oakley team manager Chris Hotell wed in Dominical, Costa Rica. The town is often called a "surfer's paradise", well known for its surfing (duh), and beautiful scenery.
The couple took it slow and steady, dating five years before getting engaged in 2008, and marrying the day of June 19th, 2009.
So no, she isn't single...sorry guys.
Gretchen's Also a Surfer
Along with being an Olympic snowboarder, Gretchen Blieler gets a little surfing done in her spare time. In fact, she has a summer home down in Carlsbad, California, a town known for its surfing.
She finds it the "perfect balance" between Carsbad and Aspen—surfing during the summertime, and snowboarding during the wintertime.
As the video shows however, she should probably just stick to snowboarding.
Protector Of the Environment
Like many athletes, she's involved in several movements and foundations. A few being "Protect Our Winters", "Stop Global Warming", and the "Women's Sports Foundation".
She's actually an active spokesperson, speaking in behalf of the WSF and for groups helping climate change, like Stop Global Warming.
Clearly, the environment's important to her. I mean hey, her whole livelihood depends on the environment, wouldn't you be concerned too?
Cover Girl Snow Angel
Not a lot of people have heard of it, in fact, unless you're into snowboarding you're probably thinking that the Snow Angels Invitational is some snow angel making contest.
Rather, its a pretty big deal. Just ask Gretchen. The SAI is an all female superpipe competition, "girls day out", and photo shoot, all sponsored by Covergirl.
These world class female snowboarders not only compete in the superpipe, but hit spas, yoga classes, go to photoshoots, and all around have an amazing time. Its third year was in 2010, when Kelly Clark took home the $10,000 prize for the second year in a row (Gretchen finished 5th, earning $500). There were 15 competitors in all.
Its really the only event of its kind out there, put on at the end of over 30 Aspen/ Snowmass, CO snowboarding events. And it all started because of Gretchen. Props to her.
Gretchen Isn't Afraid To Be Bold
Sure, Gretchen crashed during the Vancouver Winter Olympics. We all know that. She bit it at the end of her run and came in 11th place—leaving the Olympics without a medal.
Something to take away from that, though, is her originality. Or more specifically, her boldness in staying true to who she is. That's something to be proud of.
If you watched the Olympics at all, you no doubt noticed how safe people were playing it. I suppose some of that is to be accepted, however the woman's snowboarding events in particular left me disappointed.
Except for Bleiler.
She did the tricks she knew, landed some big stuff, and ultimately pulled out all the stops in her effort to take home gold.
Yep, she bit it.
But she has every right to be proud, and don't be surprised if this Winter X Games she dominates the competition.
Fashion Designer? You Bet!
Yes indeed, in addition to saving the environment, eating organic, surfing, and of course snowboarding, Gretchen Bleiler also designs clothes.
Women's Health Magazine calls them "super cute and guilt free". You can see her in one of her signature jackets up above. I mean hey, they're made from recycled materials, so why not?
For obvious reasons I can't personally call them super cute or guilt free, but I'm sure they are.
You can view Gretchen's entire line of Oakley products here.
The Key To Success Is Setting Goals
Something she says in nearly every one of her interviews, and something I've found true as well, is you need to set goals. Without them, you just have dreams...which don't amount to anything unless turned into goals.
One thing she said in an interview after Vancouver, was that the crash served as a wake-up call for her, that she needed to rethink things, and set new goals.
Setting goals is the key people!
Enough of the philosophical stuff, and onto something more fun...
The Best Part Of Snowboarding Is...
For me, this would be a hard question to answer. Its like asking what my favorite part of writing is, or what the best thing about life is...it's one of those impossible questions to answer.
But she gave one that I thought was quite good. Bleiler said, "I love the feeling of landing a new trick for the first time...its one of the most satisfying feelings in the world, and definitely a reason why I love snowboarding."
So go out there and land new tricks!
Gretchen Bleiler's Current Goal?
Simply, domination. That and retribution.
As mentioned earlier, her Vancouver performance was below par. That will be very different than the Winter X Games, mark my words. Her goal for the X Games is, simply put, domination.
Look for Bleiler to not only do better than she did at the 2010 Olympics, but also to come away with a gold medal.