XX Factor Grete Eliassen

Skier Grete Eliassen is making her name on the slopes.

Skier Grete Eliassen     Photo: (c)Ari Michelson/Red Bull Photofiles

Skier Grete Eliassen

Skier Grete Eliassen

View a gallery of Grete Eliassen.

When Grete Eliassen was 11 years old, she'd run into her 12-year old brother's room to count his skiing trophies, then run back to her room to ensure she had more. When she was 13, her parents moved the family to Norway from Minnesota to give Grete and Knut some worldly perspective. When she was 18, she designed women's skis for Armada with shirtless male models as the graphic, because flowers were overdone.

Now 23, the all-mountain ski goddess has won X Games gold in the SuperPipe—twice, experienced her first car crash during the prelims of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, and appeared in a dozen ski films. Over the last two years, Eliassen has been working towards a bachelor's degree in Business Management at the University of Utah, in between filming her new movie, Say My Name.

Say My Name?
My name has always been so hard for announcers or media or anyone to pronounce. So finally, I said: This is Grete. Here it is. This is who I am. Kind of like Beyoncé—a little ego in there.

Why a ladies' ski film?
My entire life, I'd never really seen a women's ski movie—there'd never been a real action-packed women's ski film. So I talked to a filmmaker and a photographer I'd been working with and said, "Let's just do this. Let's make it happen. Let's keep pushing the sport of skiing on the female side."

Where did you film?
Mainly in the backcountry in Utah. It was really about pushing my skiing in a different direction. I'd done a lot of park and pipe in the past, and I really wanted to change it up—keep it fresh—because if you do something too long, it gets repetitive and boring. So I started doing snowmobile trips a couple of years ago in Utah. I found all of these new places and realized I could just snowmobile to the top of a line in Utah and film it. We also did stuff at Cold Rush, in Canada and in Aspen.

Stuff like a world-record 31-foot ski jump?
The jump was awesome. It was a collaboration between Red Bull and The Canyons in Utah. I had always dreamt about going really, really big on a hip and flying forever and we made it happen. I wanted a couple of friends to come, but no one really wanted to do it with me. Usually I'm competing with someone else and if they go bigger, I want to go bigger, but this was a goal I had for myself: to go big.

What's your goal for the movie?
I want this to push off more women's skiing in the media. I want women to go to a ski premiere and be excited because they can see female skiers. I've always wanted that female presence, and I'm hoping it will inspire girls to ski and buy snowmobiles and hike around—to go explore. Even if something hasn't been done before, that doesn't mean it can't be done.

Say My Name is available on iTunes.

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