Gretchen Bleiler biography
Born in Toledo, Ohio, on April 10, 1981, snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler spent the bulk of her formative years living in Colorado. She turned pro in 1996 and by the early 2000s was one of the top female snowboarders in the world. A three-time Winter X Games champion, Bleiler captured the silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Gretchen Bleiler was born on April 10, 1981, in Toledo, Ohio. Following the divorce of her parents when she was 10, she moved with her mother to Aspen, Colorado.
Bleiler says the move out West changed her life. Namely, it immersed her in a winter sports culture that hadn't existed for her in Ohio. She started snowboarding at the age of 11, taking it on after her three older brothers introduced it to her.
"I always looked up to them," she has said. "That's the reason I started snowboarding. I wanted to be like them."
Still, it was impossible to deny that Bleiler was a natural on the slopes. In 1996, just five years after taking up snowboarding, she turned pro. A year after graduating from Aspen High School, she joined U.S. Snowboarding in 2000.
In an age when sports like snowboarding were coming into vogue, Bleiler made an impact. By the early 2000s, she was one of the top female riders in the world. In 2003, she won the World SuperPipe Championship, captured gold in the halfpipe at the Winter X Games, and took home the US Open title.
The ensuing years only brought more success and more titles. The most significant of those came at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, where Bleiler won the silver medal, finishing second behind friend and fellow American Hannah Teter.
Overall, Bleiler is a veteran of 11 Winter X Games and is a three-time X Games champion. In 2008, she won the ESPY for Women's Action Sports Athlete of the Year.
In recent years, Bleiler has expanded her interests beyond the slopes and into fashion. She posed for the cover of a 2004 issue of FHM and helped design a series of sunglasses for Oakley.
In 2009, Bleiler married fellow snowboarder Chris Hotell. They split their time between California and Colorado.