Grete Eliassen is walking around the opulent lobby of the Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton, Colorado. Like her usual jovial self, she’s running from person to person hugging everyone and saying goodbye. Wait. She’s not supposed to be leaving until tomorrow. I have the airport shuttle schedule in my hand and it says so right here. Crap.
The previous evening, Eliassen stood on the podium and collected her first Red Bull Cold Rush crown. The previous season she had been a close second to Suzanne Graham, and after an impressive performance on the first day of this year’s contest from Graham it looked like things might repeat themselves.
But if anyone is a veteran of competition, it’s Eliassen. She dominated the slopestyle portion of the event with two stomped 720s, and easily topped the ladies field on the third day with big lazy 360 off a 20-foot cliff and a technical line through some rocks. Cold Rush is judged by the athletes themselves and Eliassen was rightfully placed in first for the women.
Eliassen is a mover and shaker. When she’s not in school or skiing she’s off to Washington advocating for women’s sports or doing goodwill trips for our troops in Iraq. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to me when she hugs me, flies out the door, and waves her Blackberry at me and mouths “email me the questions.”
Grete, you won Cold Rush this year. Explain how important this win is to you.
This event has been the biggest contest of my career to win. After coming in second last year, I knew I had to get it together for this year. My skiing style is exactly what Cold Rush is trying to bring out. You can tell from my skiing in Say My Name, an all women's ski movie I made last year, why this contest is my favorite (watch the trailer below).
You were at Cold Rush in Retallack last year. How do you think the venue change to Silverton affected the competition? How did it affect you?
The new venue made it an even playing field for all the competitors. The terrain was huge, so it made everyone step up and make history.
Some crazy stuff went down this year at Cold Rush. What stands out in your mind?
Probably that when I came up to the cliff venue on the third day I didn't think anyone was going to hit the big cliffs. Then half the field did, including Jacki [Paaso]. So cool!
You've had a pretty big year: releasing a movie and now this win. What's left to accomplish this season?
I am working on my film segment with Teton Gravity Research. This is my first time working with TGR and it's been awesome so far. All the boys and girls on the crew are so inspiring. It's a lot of fun to work on together and push skiing.
How's the rest of your season look? Any big plans?
I am working with my girls Keri Herman and Meg Olenick on our TV show called www.coldasice.tv in collaboration with GoPro.
What will your summer look like? Do you try to stay on snow, or take some time off?
I'm not even thinking about summer yet. But you can see what I do in the summer at www.greteeliassen.com.
We know you're a big fan of music. What songs/albums do you have on repeat right now?
You can check out my playlist for free on my website. I also present the G MIX CONTEST on my Facebook and Twitter every other week. Follow me, enter, and win big! Well, if you pick a good song…
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