When we headed on a short detour to the Nine Queens girls ski contest in Serfaus last week (nope, we won’t tell you what we did there – you’ll have to be patient until the next winter issue comes out!), we caught up with freeski legend and trail blazer for many females out there, Norway’s one and only Grete Eliassen
Interview by Anna Langer
Hey Grete, we’re at the Nine Queens contest in Serfaus right now, but you came straight from the World Championships in Norway, right?
Yes, I just came here from Oslo were I made 3rd place, which is quite exhilarating! And of course it’s also fun to do that well. It was a very interesting course though, the first day we got there it was very big – even for the guys. I was on top of one of the jumps with some of the male riders and they were like: “Can you make our jumps like the girls’ please?” So it really was way too big. But we went to talk to the organisers and they changed it for us, so that was really nice.
You want us here – you have to make it safe for us!
It’s really cool that you can actually have a course changed!
The reason we were able to change it was because all of the girls came together, saying: “You want us here, but you have to make it safe for us, too!” So it was very good of us to come together and make that decision as a group, as opposed to some girls saying no and some saying yes to the jumps. We had to work together.
At the Nine Queens on the other hand, you have a whole week to ride together before the actual contest, which is quite unique.
I don’t really think of Nine Queens as a contest to be honest, it’s more like a jam where everyone gets together and has a session on the jump for a couple of days. It’s pretty cool and unique too because it’s just us girls, so it definitely has a special feeling to it.
It’s also great to see how the filmers and photographers really work together with the girls!
Yeah, that’s true. Sometimes a photographer has an image in mind but they have to communicate to the athlete what they want. It’s not like they just stand in a corner and the athlete goes – you have to have some sort of communication together to make some great images.
Sometimes a photographer has an image in mind but they have to communicate to the athlete what they want
This is probably more the “girls way” to go too, guys seem to be more motivated by competition it sometimes feels?
Yeah, I think so too, we like to be more creative. Working with a photographer and having something in mind that you wanna do can be really motivating as well. Instead of just throwing the best trick, maybe you want to get that best image of something. I think we’re definitely more creative in that way.
You even made your own movie a couple of years ago!
Yes, I was able to do my own film Say My Name which was awesome, my sponsors Red Bull, Oakley, Marker and Völkl all helped make it happen which was amazing, especially when I was able to show it to the younger girls who always wanted to see a women’s ski movie.
Was it the first female ski movie?
It was probably the first ever with big mountain and park combined. There have been female movies in the past but never bringing those two together.
It seems like a lot more girls have started making their own videos and movies now, do you see that too?
There’s definitely been a lot more going on the last two years, Jen Hudack is making her own webisode series and a couple of other girls too, it’s really cool! And that’s also why I did it, I just wanted to show that we can do it and spark it to everybody.
I just wanna have fun and stay safe out there. And maybe a little sunset shot but mainly I want people to see that I’m having fun and they can have fun too.
So you enjoyed the filming part of the week a lot too?
Oh, for sure! I have my GoPro on my helmet and I’m ready to go! That’s the best thing for me – you don’t have to use a production company, you can do it all yourself and then you just throw it on youtube… But I don’t have anything crazy planned, I just wanna have fun and stay safe out there. And maybe a little sunset shot but mainly I want people to see that I’m having fun and they can have fun too.
Anything else you’d like to get off your chest?
Keep on watching us, it’s gonna be awesome! We’re going to be in the Olympics 2014 so keep watching women’s skiing! I’m planning on going there myself, I’m an ‘Olympic hopeful’ is what they say I think. It will be exciting because for the first time women skiing is going to be on a platform where it’s equal, even at the X Games we never get equal time on TV and live coverage, but at the Olympics it’s going to be the same which is really cool. So it’s fun to be a part of that!