Freestyle skier Grete Eliassen is in the Rockies in British Columbia, Canada, for Red Bull Cold Rush, a five-day freeskiing competition to find the world’s best all-rounder.
Joining her in the mountains of Retallack, site of the 1864 Kootenay gold rush, is a galaxy of stars, including Benedikt Mayr, TJ Schiller, Richard Permin and Sean Pettit. Grete explains all:
So what is Red Bull Cold Rush all about?
Cold Rush is an exciting new contest in skiing. This will the first year they have a women’s division as well. It’s all about finding the best all-around skier. There will be three main parts: #1 Pillow Fight, #2 Big Mountains Lines, and #3 Slopestyle Backcountry jump. Skiing has changed a lot over the years and this is a contest that perfectly portrays where skiing is right now.
What are the conditions like at Retallack?
Retallack is amazing, I went there in the beginning of January and I am determined to go back every year now. Steep trees, open-face mountains and tons of pillow and bumps down the mountain. It’s an absolute Mecca for a skier.
Which part of Red Bull Cold Rush are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to it all, but mainly I am hoping the snow conditions are really good. Because if the snow is good, you just point your skis downhill and make your way down the mountain any way you see fit.
How easy is it to compare skiers from different disciplines?
It’s not something you notice right away. But you can definitely tell when you pull a park skier that has never skied outside of the park - you can tell what kind of skier they are. I like to do it all. I think it’s important as a skier to be good at all the elements of skiing. And it’s more fun to try different things.
In your opinion, who do you think is the best all-round skier on RBCR or elsewhere?
I really look up to Sage Cattebriga-Alosa, Sean Pettit, (Red Bull Linecatcher winner) Candide Thovex, Pep Fujas, all those guys just blow my mind on what they can do in the mountains.
"I think it’s important as a skier to be good at all the elements of skiing."
It’s the first time women have been invited (Grete is joined by Claudia Bouvier and Suz Graham). Are the guys in for a surprise?
I think we are in for the greatest time of our lives!
What’s the spirit like in the lodges?
The spirit is really good in the lodges. Usually you just hang out with everyone, eat meals together, talk about the epic day you just had. It really is a unique experience to go to a ski lodge for a week. It’s kind of like summer camp.
How do you unwind off the slopes?
I like to listen to music, do a lot of stretching and core. Just relax basically. Joke around with friends and laugh.
You were at a Knicks game and a soccer match last weekend. Which is better, soccer or basketball?
I love going to basketball games. But the New York Red Bulls soccer game was super fun to watch, too. Probably the best soccer game I have watched. And watching it from a suite was not bad either!
What was it like meeting so many other Red Bull athletes?
It was truly an amazing experience. Being one of the three women athletes there, we did a lot of male bonding. But it was fun. I like hanging out with the guys, and meeting such incredible athletes from different sports was really cool. I usually just get to hang out with winter sport athletes, but meeting the FMX guys, skaters, surfers, and all the other guys was really fun. We all just have big passions in life.
Have you ever been star struck?
Oh yeah, I get star struck all the time. It gets kind of embarrassing, but I can’t help it. I love realizing that usually the athlete or icon is just as normal as everyone else.
What’s been the high spot of your season?
Medalling in X Games again this year was a treat and finishing up my movie Say My Name.
If you weren’t a skier, what would you be doing?
I would be a summer athlete!