The AT50: Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler (#9)
Tomas Zuccareno/ESPN Images
Sport: Halfpipe Snowboarding
Highlights: Four Winter X Games Superpipe gold medals; one Winter X Games Superpipe silver medal; one Olympic halfpipe silver medal (2006); first female to land a Crippler 540º—an inverted aerial move with one-and-a-half rotations and a backflip
Quote: "You can only spin so far and do so many combos. The girls haven’t gotten to that plateau yet, so it’s explosive, everyone’s doing something different. It’s really exciting to watch the women’s events right now."
Fact: When Bleiler used to visit Aspen as a child, she would get altitude sickness.
AT50 Point Total: 46.5
To look at her now, twisting and flipping in the air high above the halfpipe, you'd never guess that Gretchen Bleiler was born in the swampy flats of Toledo, Ohio. She moved to Aspen, Colorado at the age of 10, where she discovered snowboarding, and only five years later she went pro. Since then, she's made a name for herself in halfpipe competition, becoming the first female to land a cripple 540—an inverted aerial move with one-and-a-half rotations and a backflip. She is tied with Kelly Clark for most female Winter X Superpipe gold medals, with four total. Bleiler is also an active spokesperson for climate change, has created the first all-girls halfpipe competition, and designed a signature apparel line with Oakley. In 2008, she received the ESPY Women’s Action Sports Athlete of the Year award, as well as National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Spirit Award. When she’s not crushing on the slopes, Bleiler likes to mountain bike, read, practice yoga and surf in warm places.