Skier Grete Eliassen on Beating the Boys & Inspiring Girls
By Hilary Sheinbaum | June 12, 2015
Freestyle Skier Grete Eliassen and six-time Winter X Games medalist grew up completely confident in her ability to soar and beat out the boys (resulting in a few bruised egos). Thankfully, the six-time Winter X Games medalist met her match. When it comes to acing sports, her hubby holds the title of “partner in crime.”
The Redbull sponsored 27-year old lives in Salt Lake City, continues to ski, teaches skiing clinics and has some film projects in the works. There’s no doubt she’s a role model, finding it imperative to mentor younger female athletes. Eliassen credits her Norwegian upbringing and her country’s coverage of women in sports for inspiring her, noting that the media covers female athletes less in the U.S. Hey America, let’s get on that bandwagon ASAP.
Yahoo Beauty: You grew up in Norway. How is the perception of beauty, female athletes, and role models different than it is in America?
Grete Eliassen: The media does a great job in Norway with showcasing women’s sports. Growing up, there was women’s team handball and skiing. It was always equal on TV. Looking for female athlete role models: there were way more there than in the United States. There are thousands in the United States, but I don’t think the media portrays them that well. That’s where I got the confidence to be a female athlete. I knew it was possible.
How has being an athlete helped you in your life?
I found skiing when I was two years old. My parents put me in ski boots. I don’t even remember learning how to ski. I remember around age 10 that this was something special and something that I loved to do. When I’m skiing, I don’t think about anything else. I’m just in that moment. For my development, it’s helped me stay out of trouble. I always had a ski competition or a trick I wanted to learn. It kept me clear away from parties and shopping at the mall. Now I like doing those things, but when I was younger, it never occurred to me that I was missing out on anything because I was just so excited about skiing.
What makes you feel confident?
I’ve never been afraid to go out there and try something that’s new. For example, I just got into skateboarding. I was never really a skateboarder growing up, but it’s so fun to learn a new trick every time you go out. Trying to step out of your comfort zone makes you a better person.
Before you were married, did you find that guys were intimidated by your athleticism?
For sure. Not intimidated like scared, but it was hard to find someone to date long term because I am better than a lot of guys at certain sports, especially skiing.
Did you ever have an awkward date where you kicked the guy’s butt and he became upset?
I actually went on a date in Utah with a local boy. I wanted to see what this community was all about. The guy took me out to dinner and bowling. I’m pretty sure he took me bowling because he thought he’d be better than me. I’m not that amazing. Once in a while I’ll get lucky and get a couple of strikes. I just beat him like crazy. I think he was really upset. It didn’t work out – the girl can win sometimes!
How about your husband?
We can participate in the same sport, but we don’t have to be competing all the time, and we learn new sports together. For example, rock climbing.
Is your husband involved within the world of sports?
He’s not a professional athlete. He’s an engineer in the renewable energy industry. He wakeboards and snowboards. He’ll play golf with me because I love it. We do the same sports together. It’s like having a partner in crime every day.
Freestyle skier Grete Eliassen. (Photo: Instagram)
What does your off-season training consist of?
I like to think there’s a reason the snow melts. I think that’s a good reason to take a break for a little bit. I try to get outside as much as I can and do things I don’t get to do during the regular season, which is climbing, playing tennis, swimming, water skiing. I don’t really think of it as a workout. I think of them as fun activities to go and do. I usually do 300 variations of different sit-ups every day just to keep it going.
What beauty products are necessary for snow sports?
I wear Beyond Coastal or any sunscreen that has a 35 SPF and above. At nighttime, I moisturize with a heavy moisturizer because during the day, there’s tons of sun, water, snow and wind. That’s really helped my skin stay clear. I wear makeup, but only usually for photoshoots or a night out or special meetings. I try not to wear as much makeup as possible.
Are there any beauty products you avoid?
For any product that I use, I try to make sure there are no parabens, phthalates or sodium benzoate in the products that I use.
Why is it important for you to steer clear of those ingredients?
I had a blood test done and I found out I was using all these products that contain all these bad things for me. They could be cancerous, or are plastic. Phthalates are what contains plastic.
You are on the board the Women’s Sports Foundation. Why is mentorship important?
It’s so important. When I first learned about the Women’s Sports Foundation, it was through a friend. I didn’t really know what it was about. I went to the first event in New York: a ‘women in sports’ dinner. I was blown away. Meeting these women like Billy Jean King, seeing where women’s sports came from, to realizing everything they pushed for – it re-amplifies the fire in my heart to do more. Seeing that younger generation come out and seeing how many opportunities they have – you remember it may not be there forever and you always have to keep up a fight. Giving back is just what I want to do, because I’m so thankful that I had the women before me. I want to be the same for the next generation.