What happened with the 2001 Olympics?
I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics, I just missed going at the very last Grand Prix in Breckenridge. I was tied with Tricia Byrnes for the last slot. We had a three round elimination and she ended up going. If I was going to lose to anyone I’m glad it was Tricia. The week of the Olympics, I went to the Vans Triple Crown. I walked into the Aspen Airport just as the women’s pipe was being televised so I watched it there by myself in the airport. I went later that week to watch Chris Klug race and just see what it’s all about.
A lot of time has passed since Salt Lake. The next winter Gretchen placed first in eight consecutive contests including the US Open and the X-Games and ended the season with the overall title for both the Grand Prix and Vans Triple Crown, the next season she blew her knee. This season Gretchen has come back full speed.
After this successful contest winter, do you feel more confident going intonext years Olympic qualifiers?
Starting the year off I needed some confidence, so I took some time off before the X-Games. With the contest results and my way of riding, I’mdefinitely moving into next year with confidence and a good feeling about everything.
What are you doing this summer to prepare for another season ofcompetition?
I’m going to Mammoth this spring, then Mt. Hood for maybe a week or two, and then definitely New Zealand with The Collection. We’ll be there for a month at Snowpark learning tricks–not snowboarding the whole time, though.
When did you add a 900 to your bag of tricks?
I was working on it before the X-Games and I got it my third try. I tried it my last run at X-Games and fell. The first time I landed it in competition was at the Gravity Games. I was stoked I moved it up to my first trick in the pipe at the US Open. My next step is to grab it all the way around.
How’d you go about learning it?
Ricky Bauer, The Collection Coach helped me. The whole time I knew I could do it so I wasn’t afraid. The first time I almost landed it, I just washed out. It was just a confidence thing for me. The hardest thing for me is that the last rotation is blind. Grabbing it all the way around is getting to be a mental thing to me, It doesn’t feel as natural.
Why a 9?
Judges love 9′s. I think it’s great for women to have that trick. I always did my crippler as my first trick. They scored my 900 at the Open so much higher so I know that’s what I have to do. It was the natural next step.
Are you working on any other tricks that you want to talk about?
I’m working on getting another trick on my backside wall. Now I just have my backside 540. With another backside wall trick, I could do a full run of tricks where I wouldn’t even have to do a straight air. But really, with the Olympicsyou have to do at least one straight air, so …
Cool, have a good run and good luck at the Arctic Challenge.
Gretchen’s 2005 Halfpipe Results
1st, Burton U.S. Open
2nd, Park City World Championships
1st, Gravity Games, Copper Mountain
1st and 2nd, Bardonecchia World Cup
1st, Aspen X-Games
4th, Mt. Bachelor Grand Prix
4th, Breckenridge Grand Prix