USA Today: Gretchen Bleiler takes on issue of climate change |

USA Today: Gretchen Bleiler takes on issue of climate change

Heading into today’s Winter X Games, Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler is relaxed and confident.

Gretchen Bleiler of the USA smiles after the women’s finals of the US Snowboard Grand Prix on Dec. 12, 2009, in Copper Mountain, Colo.

“I’m really excited about X Games. It’s in Aspen, my hometown,” she says. “Plus I’ve won it four times, which blows my mind.”

Bleiler’s skill on a snowboard has blown away the competition for years. But her sport is not her only passion.

“Since I won the silver medal in 2006 in Torino, I realized I had a platform to talk about things that were important to me,” she says. “Being a pro snowboarder, the environment is very important.”

Bleiler commits her time to environment sustainability projects, including a line of Oakley outerwear made with 100% recycled and recyclable materials. She is an advocate for and took part in the “21 Day Reusable Challenge,” boycotting bags and water bottles made of plastic and Styrofoam containers.

“Climate change is a very real issue. Traveling the world chasing the snow, we’ve seen the differences that are out there,” she says.

Bleiler, 29, and her husband Chris Hotell also founded a company to produce reusable stainless steel bottles.

As for her riding, Bleiler focuses on having fun. “I’m looking to ride my best, give everyone a good show and hopefully land my best tricks.”

The women’s superpipe final will be shown on ESPN (Saturday, 9-11 p.m. ET).

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Posted on: January 27, 2011