Recently, we had a chance to catch up with Gretchen Bleiler to get the scoop on her season and to hear about the all gigs she’s got going on.
Bleiler is known as one of the fiercest female halfpipe competitors and has won four X Games gold medals, and a silver medal from the 2006 Tornio Olympics. While she’s a heavy force in the halfpipe scene, she’s also a guru in burgeoning green movement and is using her influence to support these causes.
We got the low down on all of this and more during the X Games in her hometown of Aspen, CO.
This year was Bleiler’s tenth year to compete and she let us in on her goals for the event.
Always my goals for Winter X are to enjoy this experience because there is nothing quite like the energy of the X Games. There really isn’t any event that can emulate what goes on here, but just living it, enjoying it, appreciating it, and having a lot of fun during it. I always try to focus on the things I can control, which is just doing the best I can.
Recently, Gretchen started blogging for espnW , a “destination for women who are passionate sport fans and athletes.” She’s using the site as a creative outlet and as a platform to share her thoughts and plans with other girls. She’s excited about the experience and said,
So far I’ve been blogging once a month for espnW. I think it’s just a really great opportunity that espnW is providing. It’s a new place where women can go to hear real life stories about athletes and women in general.Its a pretty large audience, so for me it’s been fun because I actually have to sit down every month and think about something impactful that I want to write about.
The first one that I wrote actually had quite an impact, I wrote about how I wanted to take a different approach to this season, not competing as much, and right away calls were flooding in, and people were texting and emailing me, asking if I was retiring. It was kind of funny, because I wrote that was I taking a little time off competitions in order to ride and learn more, and to push myself more than I ever have in my life. Someone didn’t quite read the blog, and wrote another blog and then there was all this commotion and it just goes to show what an impact espnW has already.
The first blog that Gretchen wrote did cause quite a stir, but thankfully Gretchen is no where near retiring and has plans to continue progressing women’s snowboarding. This season she’s looking to get out there, shred and experience different elements within the sport.
The focus this year is more riding. More backcountry riding, park, jumps, and maybe going to Mammoth to hit the air bag to learn new tricks.
When she’s not slaying the pipe or perfecting pow turns, Gretchen spends time working on her growing Oakley line. She’s had a line with the global company for three years and every season the line grows with great stylish and technologically advanced pieces.
I have three outerwear jackets, one pant and bunch of lifestyle stuff, eyewear, and accessories. It’s amazing! I enjoy it so much. It’s definitely a full time job, but I love it. I get to work with the designers on everything from the colors, to the fit, the trims, to the different silhouettes, and I just love it. I’m so lucky to work with these designers because they are all so talented and every year it’s bigger and great. Now three of the seasons lines are out there and when I’m traveling around its awesome seeing girls to women wearing it and liking it as much as I do. It’s just so fun to see.
Her collection is an eclectic mix of art-forward pieces that are functional and fashionable. There’s something for everyone in the line and Gretchen had this to say about her favorite items:
The Eco Jacket is my favorite mainly because it’s made from 100 percent recycled items and can be recycled which is big thing for the environment. It takes less energy to produce, giving off less carbon emissions into our atmosphere, making it a lower impact jacket.
Everyone should be conscientious of and supporting these things, because climate change is a really big deal, and we all should be aware of that.
Not only is it good for the environment, but its also very stylish. It has a bunch of buttons running down the front of it and it has a very tailored look.
It comes in a bunch of really great colors and the inside has an amazingly vibrant pattern of morpho butterflies. This amazing butterfly is found in Central America and it’s all about their wings.
They actually aren’t a single color, but have iridescence, which creates the colors. It’s a beauty within concept, so you get all of these awesome combos with the jacket and not only is it for the environmentalist, but for the fashon forward girl as well.
Gretchen has been pioneering the green movement within the snowboard community, and is looking to extend this influence into the mainstream. We talked about her new company, their products, and the plans for the future.
The parent company is called Nice Reusables, and the first product we launched was the Alex Bottle which stands for Always Live Extraordinarily. Alex is a stainless steel reusable water bottle that we created because we found that there’s a problem with current reusable bottles.
They all have small little mouths that you can’t get in and its almost impossible to actually get in there and clean properly.
My husband came up with the idea for the Alex Bottle and it unscrews in the middle, so it’s a reusable bottle that can be easily cleaned. It’s great for travel because it’s really easy to pack and comes in three sizes which can all fit within each other.
The whole idea with Nice Reusables is to make sustainability simple. We found a problem in the market and Alex is our solution. We are a start up company and are still looking for investor money and are excited to launch other products.
Speaking of products, Gretchen and Holga Sports recently unveiled the The Gretchen Bleiler Limited Edition Holga Camera. She has partnered with the camera company and has released two different models.
Both of the cameras produce unique images that are funky and fun. On the bottom of each camera scrawled in Gretchen’s handwriting is this meaningful quote “Every single one of us has the unique opportunity to create awareness and influence change.”
Gretchen is really excited about this partnership and noted that a portion of all proceeds from the The Gretchen Bleiler Holga 120 will be donated to Protect our Winters. This is a non-profit organization “dedicated to reversing the global warming crisis by uniting the winter sports community and fighting against climate change.”
Gretchen is a busy gal and a great role model whose paving the way for girl shreds across the world. She’ll be competing in the upcoming Grand Prix, the Burton US Open, and Euro X Games. Look for her to be doing what she does best, following her dreams, slaying the pipe and boosting the green revolution.