By Sam Pelletier
Grete Eliassen is one of the most versatile women in skiing. She's also one of the busiest, juggling a full competition schedule while filming her own movie, Say My Name. Luckily, The 23 year old Salt Lake local took a break from snowmobiling the Wasatch backcountry to talk to POWDER about signing with Marker-Volkl, her 2010 season, and her upcoming film release.
Powder: First of all, congratulations on your new ski sponsor. What prompted the switch?
Grete: The switch was mainly because Volkl is just a better fit for me. The rocker and all the technology that comes out of the company is amazing, and that's the direction I want my skiing to go. I want to keep changing it up and continue to get better and better. Also, Volkl's women's team is so amazing. It's humbling to be part of such a great team of women all together. It's official now—Volkl has the best women's team in the world.
Powder: Some companies seem to be downsizing their teams, how is Volkl's able to grow?
Grete: Well, I think it's because they stay true to the market. They make the skis that the skiers want, which is important.
Powder: So, are rocker and alternative sidecuts new for you?
Grete: I had dabbled with skis like that throughout the years, and I felt like I was just so old school for the longest time. I couldn't keep up with other people because my skis were holding me back. I'm going to Retallack on Tuesday. The last time I was there it was kind of a struggle, but now I'm so excited. I've got the new Chopsticks and I'm ready to go. I'm going up there for the Red Bull Cold Rush, from the 23rd to the 28th. Retallack is one of my favorite places to ski. I was there in the beginning of January and I'm super excited to go back.
Powder: This is the first year for girls competing at Red Bull Cold Rush. Who else is going to be there?
Grete: Yeah, it's the first time ever. Lindsey Dyer, Sarah Burke, Claudia Bouvier, and myself are all going to be there. It's going to be really fun. This is the type of contest I've been trying to be a part of my entire life. I'm super excited.
Powder: Does switching companies mid-season change your plans for the rest of the winter?
Grete: Well, right now I'm working on my movie, an all girls ski film about my life and shredding every day and the people that come and join me doing it. It was a super easy switch. It was the easiest switch ever.
Powder: How's the movie coming along?
Grete: Great. We've filmed a lot this year, and we've got a lot from last year. Of course, everywhere is kind of lacking snow but we've been doing the best we can. The best snow was at Retallack. When there's no snow in Utah, that's the spot to go. Retallack is… I can't even explain it. They just have everything. They have open stuff and then they have these tree runs where you just find a line and go for it. You're bouncing off pillows and you just smile every run.
The movie is coming out fall of 2010. It's called Say My Name and it's myself, Sarah Burke, Lindsey Dyer, Keri Herman, and Suz Graham. It's been a two-year shoot and we're almost done.
Powder: It's been a tough snow year here in Utah, how have you dealt with that?
Grete: We've been trying to stay home as much as possible, but I've been traveling a lot doing freeride contests and X Games and most recently European X Games. We've tried to stay home though and be nice to the state in hopes that the weather would be nice in return. It's been a short winter, but there are plenty of things you can do.
Powder: How was the first European X Games?
Grete: It was seriously so much fun. It was amazing. I grew up in Norway, so when I would go to the X Games I'd always fly over here to Aspen to compete. You can totally see the difference in the crowd. In Aspen, myself and the other Europeans would never get cheered on unless we knew someone in the crowd. But in Europe they go crazy for the Europeans and nobody cheers for the Americans. It's pretty funny. But, it was the biggest hit over there. There are definitely some things to figure out— like problems with the courses, but otherwise France handled it so amazingly. The crowds came out to watch because it's a skiing community. They loved it. All the athletes loved it too.
Powder: What's the rest of your season look like?
Grete: Tomorrow I go to New York City for the grand opening of the Red Bull Arena. All the athletes are going out to celebrate, and then I go straight to Cold Rush in Retallack. After that, Sarah Burke, Keri Herman, and I are coming back to Utah to do a park shoot for two weeks. Then I'm going to Aspen, then to the Orage Masters in Whistler with team Volkl, and then the season is over. There might be a Norway trip squeezed in at the end of April too.