Apr 302011
 

Gretchen Bleiler (born April 10, 1981 in Toledo, Ohio) is an American professional halfpipe snowboarder. She currently resides in Aspen, Colorado and is married to Chris Hotell.

Career

Bleiler aspired to compete in the Winter X Games from a very young age, and found her passion in snowboarding at age 11 (1992).  She has been riding ever since and became professional in 1996.

Among her accomplishments, she jump-started the invert revolution for female riders as the first to land a Crippler 540 in competition, and won more halfpipe competitions in 2003, 2005 and 2006 than any other female snowboarder. In the pre-Olympic season she won four of the five US Olympic halfpipe qualifiers and is also a four-time X Games gold medalist, most recently winning the superpipe at Winter X Games XIV.

In 2003, she was a U.S. snowboard Grand Prix champion, a U.S. Open of snowboarding champion, and a Triple Crown of Snowboarding champion.

She posed for the February 2004 issue of FHM, along with fellow snowboarder Tara Dakides and sportscaster Jamie Little.

Bleiler, who missed qualifying for the 2002 Winter Olympics due to a tiebreaker, won a silver medal in the women’s halfpipe at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Starting in 2007, Bleiler expanded her career into snowboard and outerwear design, through Oakley and K2 Snowboarding, designing her own signature outerwear line for Oakley, and participating in the K2 Alliance, which develops and tests women’s products, as well as working on the graphics for several K2 Boards. In 2008, she helped to create a new all-female invitational superpipe competition at Snowmass called the Snow Angels Invitational.

While competing in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, many considered Bleiler a gold medal favorite. However, she fell on both of her final runs, and took 11th place.

When she is not competing, Bleiler enjoys surfing, mountain biking, interior design and fashion.[9] She is also active in several environmental organizations, including the Aspen Snomass Save Snow campaign, and stopglobalwarming.org.

Career highlights

2010 X Games Superpipe Gold Medalist
2008 Winter Dew Tour Superpipe Champion (Breckenridge, Co)
2008 X Games Halfpipe Gold Medalist
2006 FIS World Cup 1st Place, Saas Fe, Switzerland
2006 Olympic silver medalist
2006 Overall Grand Prix Champion; won four of the five Grand Prix events determining Olympic team
2005 X Games and Gravity Games Gold Medalist
2005 US Open Halfpipe Champion
FIS World Cup 1st Place, Bardonecchia, Italy
Eight straight wins in 2003
2003 X Games Halfpipe Gold Medalist
2003 US Open Champion
Won 2003 Overall Grand Prix Title
One of only four females invited to coveted 2003 Arctic Challenge
2002 and 2003 Vans Triple Crown Overall Title Winner
Won 2003 World SuperPipe Championships
AwardsVoted 2006 Female Snowboarder of the Year at FUEL TV’s inaugural Action Sports Awards
Nominated for 2006 ESPY Award
Won 2004 Colorado Female Athlete of the Year Award
Earned Transworld Snowboarding’s Reader’s Choice Award in 2004
Nominated for 2004 Laureus “Female Action Sports Athlete” Award
Named Snowboarder and Transworld Snowboarding 2003 “Female Rider of the Year”
Nominated for 2009 Teen Choice Awards “Other Action Sports Athlete – Female”
Media exposureBleiler prominently featured in all advertising and promotion for Oakley and K2; she featured in Olympic commercials promoting 2006 NBC’s Olympic Games and had a cameo appearance on NBC’s hit show Las Vegas. She starred in an ESPN commercial promoting 2004 Winter X Games, featured in multiple 24-hour Fitness national print and TV advertisement campaigns.
She profiled in sports and lifestyle publications including ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Golf for Women, People, Men’s Fitness, Jane Magazine, Transworld Snowboarding, Snowboarder, Snowboard, Frequency, Future, The Drift, Salt Magazine, Her Sports, Discovery Girls, Lucky, Shape, Women’s Health, Self and V Magazine.

For more details, visit Gretchen’s page on wikipedia.

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