Grete Eliassen: Breaking Records and Hitting the Books
Grete Eliassen first began hitting jumps at age four, and now at 23 she holds the women’s world record for biggest air, at 31 feet (off of a 30 foot jump) that she claimed at the Canyons Resort in Utah last Spring. “I still have the photo in my house of my first Spread Eagle jump. You start on the small the jumps and work your way up,” she explains humbly.
Skiing has been incorporated into Grete’s life from a young age, and has given her the opportunity to travel across continents. The Winter X Games medalist grew up in both Norway and the United States, “The skiing culture is great in Norway, everyone skis,” she says. “Being able to travel through skiing since I was 15 on the Norwegian Ski Team and now on my own has given me experiences I cannot even begin to explain. I have skied on almost every continent and met the most amazing people.”
This year she took bronze in the SlopeStyle event at the Winter X Games, pulling a corked 7, a 360 nose grab, and a 900 on the final jump of her second run earning her a 93.00. Only .66 points separated first from third place.
Progression doesn’t come without consequence, as fellow skier Lindsay Vonn has attested in recent headlines. Vonn suffered from several concussions but after passing tests performed by physicians of the league she continued competing. Grete does her best to avoid major injuries, and insists on a helmet, mouth guard, and a spinal protector when she goes big.
As accomplished as Grete is in the world of skiing, she keeps her mind open to the bigger picture. “I want to help women’s sports after my career the best I can,” she says, “and in order to do that I need to be educated in different areas than just skiing.” That’s why off the slopes you can find Grete studying for a bachelor of science in marketing, now who said you have to be defined by sports or smarts?
What was it like filming with an all- women cast for “Say My Name?”
It was awesome; it has been a dream of mine for a long time to make an all-women ski project. It’s just fun skiing with the girls and pushing the sport together, our way. You can watch the movie at http://www.saymynameski.com
Freeskiing, filming, contests, college… How do you manage to pull off so many projects simultaneously?
A lot of practice! I have been competing in skiing since I was 10 years old and juggling school at the same time. It was just natural for me to start going to the University of Utah after high school and continue to ski. I go to the David Eccles School of Business in my down months, May-December then just ski during the winter. There is some overlap, but it is worth it to me. David Eccles School of Business has always been very accommodating with me getting my degree and being a professional skier at the same time.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or experienced while traveling?
Well, just last week I saw a man standing in front of a Hard Rock Cafe with his pants down to his knees, dancing. That was pretty funny.
Do you listen to music while you’re on the slopes?
I listen to music everyday of my life. I love skiing with music, because a lot of the time I go skiing and I need that extra push, music does that for me. I listen to a lot of Hip-Hop anything that gets me dancing or smiling because of some obscene lyrics, that is funny to me. “Down On Me” by Jeremiah & 50 cent is a good one, “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” by Mike Posner, “Wanna Party” by Yelawolf & Guccimane, “Any Girl” by Lloyd Banks are some of my favorites right now.
What do you enjoy about being part of the Red Bull crew?
Red Bull is awesome because they support you as an athlete and a person. They look at your dreams and help make them a reality, like my World Record Hip Jump last year of 31 Feet at Canyons in Utah last year. Without Red Bull and Canyons I would never of been able to do it.
Snowboarders are stoked on their comfy boots when they see a skier heel- toeing it through the lodge or out to the parking lot. Have you mastered ‘walking cool’ in your ski boots?
Oh yeah, I think I mastered walking cool at age 5, LOL. The only spot you need to look cool anyways is when you are skiing/riding down the mountain. So I would not stress too much about the lodge stuff.
Many athletes compete in their sport so long as they can and only once their career comes to an end do they seek other options. What motivated you to pursue college while your skiing career is skyrocketing?
I have always been interested in learning more, so starting at the University of Utah was a natural progression for me. I want to keep skiing when I get older so it is important I prepare myself for life after my ski career. I am so blessed for all the great things I have been given through skiing. I want to help women’s sports after my career the best I can and in order to do that I need to be educated in different areas than just skiing.
What are some of your essential items you carry when you travel?
Tooth Brush, Passport, Computer, Holga Camera, GoPro Camera and my Women’s Sports Foundation U-Pillow.
Your career keeps you in the snow, but do you ever get to enjoy a warmer climate?
I believe there is a reason the snow melts in the summer. So, I take full advantage of the summer months. I love to water-ski, wake-board, golf and play tennis.
What is the roughest part of being a professional skier that is often behind the scenes?
How heavy the ski bags are we have to carry on our trips. My strength work-out during the season is just carrying my bags through the airport and the hotel.
Watch the all- women cast ski film Say My Name:
Keep up with Grete’s adventures:
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