Grete Eliassen Checks in Prior to Winter X Games
Grete Eliassen is in a league of her own. As one of the most accomplished women in freeskiing, she’s driven to expand the role of women in the sport, pushing for more exposure and more participation. To that end, she embarked on a two-year all-girls film project called Say My Name, which was released last fall, and she’s constantly looking for ways to evolve and progress her own skiing.
In addition to traveling the world to film and compete, Grete’s been attending classes at the University of Utah and is active in a host of other sports and activities. Next up on her busy calendar is the Winter X Games; she earned a bronze medal in Slopestyle last year, her fifth overall WXG medal, and she’s returning next week to take another crack at the Slopestyle podium.
We checked in with her to see how her season was shaping up, how Say My Name has been received, and what else she has cooking. Check it out below, and tune in to ESPN’s coverage of WXG next week to see Grete throw down…
Grete Eliassen Q&A
How’s your season been so far?
The season’s going really great. We’ve been getting so much snow in Utah; Park City’s been awesome, Snowbird’s been awesome, Alta, Brighton… My movie, Say My Name, came out and it’s been going really well. I’ve actually been winning a lot of awards for the movie, which has been awesome. We’re having some of the last premieres at the end of the month, one of them is at X-Dance, and the other one is at the Ski Channel’s Film Festival in Denver.
Did you do a big promo tour for Say My Name?
We had a couple stops throughout the fall. We went to The Meeting in Aspen, IF3 in Montreal where I won Best Female Performance, the Summit Action Film Festival where I also won Best Female Performance, and then we had a showing in New York with the Women’s Sports Foundation, one at Red Bull in Santa Monica, and now we’re having the hometown one here in collaboration with X-Dance. It’s going to be really cool because there are so many other great films involved.
Two years ago when we started filming, my main purpose was just to try to get women’s skiing out there. There was no women’s ski movie being made, and you couldn’t go online and find any women skiing, anywhere. I just took it upon myself to make it happen, with help from Oakley, Red Bull, Kicker and Volkl. It couldn’t have worked out better.
Now that it’s wrapped, do you have any other filming projects coming up?
I’ve actually started a web site called coldasice.tv with two of my friends, Keri Herman and Meg Olenick. We’re collaborating with GoPro to make videos of each other – nothing serious, just funny stuff we can do throughout the year (see video below). I’ll also be filming with TGR for the rest of the season, and hopefully a couple more projects…
When will you be done with school?
I’m doing a bachelor of science in Marketing at the University of Utah, and I have about a year left. They’re super flexible and all of the professors over there have been so amazing. [Pro freeskier] Tom Wallisch is also going there, so they understand; they make it so easy for us to go to school and ski at the same time. During the fall, I was at school Monday through Wednesday, then on the road doing premieres Thursday through Sunday every week from August to November. You have to learn how to do your homework in the airport…
You earned your fifth Winter X Games medal last year; how are you feeling going into this year?
There’s always pressure; I won gold back to back there at my first two WXG, and before that I won the U.S. Open four years in a row, so I always feel that pressure. Now everyone wonders if I’ve been skiing pow or putting time in at the park…
This year, I’ll be doing X Games, FIS World Championships, Dew Tour and Red Bull Cold Rush. Cold Rush is really the kind of contest I’m the most excited about, because that’s the type of skiing that I’m trying to pursue more and more, the backcountry style and picking lines. I get more of an adrenaline rush out of doing different things, getting out on my snowmobile, going heli skiing. Going to X Games is more about seeing everyone, having fun, learning new tricks – when you get into that competitive vibe, you’re going to try something new, and that’s always fun.
Outside of contests, what do you have planned for the rest of the season?
I’ll be filming with TGR, and I’ll also be doing a couple of Oakley camps – one at Loon Mountain, Vermont, and one here in the Canyons in Utah. I’m going to be putting on a contest in April called the Kjersti Buass/Grete Eliassen Invitational. It’s going to be a snowboard and ski event in Norway, where I’m originally from. I really wanted to bring a contest back to Norway so the girls can get exposure there. It’s my first time putting on an event, but knowing Kjersti and me, it’ll be really fun. And of course I’ll be working on coldasice.tv the whole time…
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