With the addition of free skiing events to the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, we’ve been following some of our favorite athletes as they gear up for their Olympic debut! Grete Eliassen grew up in Minnesota and Norway racing down the slopes but since her debut in free skiing, she has won the US Open four times and taken home two gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the Winter X Games. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, Grete is the only skiier to have medaled in both halfpipe and slopestyle at the FIS World Championships.
We got a chance to speak with Grete about how she does the kind thing for her body as she readies herself for the upcoming Olympic competitions. Read on to learn more about her athletic role models, training and why she brings her yoga mat on the road!
How do you Do the KIND Thing for your body while you’re traveling or training? Share your ideas with us via Twitter or Instagram with the #kindawesome hashtag!
KIND: When did you start skiing and how did you decide you wanted to ski professionally?
Grete Eliassen: My parents taught me to ski when I was two years old at Highland Hills, Minnesota. When I was 10, I decided I loved the sport of skiing more than any other sport and decided I wanted to become a professional. However, skiing as a profession didn’t really exist during that time so my goals were to be in commercials and ski movies.
Who have been some of your biggest athletic role models?
Every female athlete has influenced me in some way. Of course all the action-sport athletes are my favorite because we all went against the grain and just stuck with what we love. Sarah Burke, Ingrid Backstrom, Wendy Fisher, Amber Wing, Hana Beaman, Marie-France Roy, etc.
How are you training for the upcoming Olympics? How is Olympic training different from your normal training regimen?
This year is a little different from other years in my career. In the past I would be at school until Christmas and then I would start filming for a ski-movie—which would take up most of my season—and compete in a few select contests throughout the year. However, this year I have already had 38 days away from home, competed in three Olympic qualifier events and only skied one day of powder. Therefore, the biggest difference between this year and other years is I get to freeski less. But I love skiing in the park (slopestyle) because it’s another way I like to express myself on skis. I love being known as an all-around skier.
What are you most looking forward to experiencing at the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games?
Everything! But I am super excited to be a part of my favorite women’s sport show in the world. The Olympics is the only time you can really find women’s sports on the TV.
How do you stay healthy while you’re on the road traveling to competitions?
Staying healthy and eating well is the hardest part of being on the road all the time. I travel with a lot of snacks and stop and buy a lot of snacks too. My biggest secret is that I try to make being away feel like home. Whether that means bringing my yoga mat with me, my soaps, down comforter or unpacking my luggage. It’s the little things that keep you sane and healthy while on the road.
You have donated a significant amount of prize winnings to charity. What are some of your favorite charity organizations and why is it important to support these programs?
My number one charity of choice is the Women’s Sports Foundation because I have been given so much through skiing and I want to make sure every girl has an equal opportunity to play sports too. I also like the High Fives Foundation which is dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes that have suffered life-altering injury while pursuing their dreams in winter sports. Injuries in my sport are far too common, so I want to do everything I can to give back to my community.
And here’s a couple of quickfire questions for you…
Favorite Mountain? Brighton Resort
Album you listen to on the slopes? I don’t listen to music when I am skiing. But I listen to a lot of hip/hop and r&b on the road.
Favorite sport or activity outside of skiing? There are so many: golf, tennis, water-skiiing, wake-boarding, snowmobiling, sailing, wind-sailing and of course my second favorite sport, hockey.