Aspen Times article mischaracterized superpipe competition |

Aspen Times article mischaracterized superpipe competition

Dear Editor:

In response to the article written by Jon Maletz on the front page of The Aspen Times on Sunday, Jan. 30:

“ASPEN – In a Winter X women’s snowboard SuperPipe women dominated by low scores and impressive falls – including three from a hometown hero and four-time gold medalist – Kelly Clark helped the sport reach new heights.”

Excuse me, what? Kelly Clark, the hometown hero, helped the sport reach new heights by falling three times with low scores and impressive falls?

Kidding aside, I wanted to address this article because it was written for the front page by a journalist who had a clear lack of knowledge about snowboarding but more importantly didn’t care to do the research. As a professional snowboarder, I want Aspen to know what that night was really all about.

The front-page headline read “Clark rules women’s snowboard superpipe” yet the front-page photo was of me after a fall in the flat bottom of the halfpipe instead of Kelly’s impressive and historic 1080. I felt that decision really took away from Kelly’s success and was a missed opportunity to highlight women’s snowboarding. Which is my overall frustration with this article. In what should have been an amazing report on Kelly Clark’s success, Mr. Maletz chose to focus on how I didn’t land a run that night. I know I am the hometown girl, but this overall tone really put down women’s snowboarding and failed to highlight on the successes of the evening.

I dedicated this season to improving my snowboarding and sometimes progression falls short of gold medals. That night, I put together a frontside 900 into a backside 900, something that was not mentioned in the article (Mr. Maletz, only in skiing can you do a right side 900). Back-to-back 900’s was something no other woman in the event was attempting and a combination only Elena Hight has ever landed in competition. There is no doubt that I was hugely disappointed not to land my run, but I didn’t feel defeated because I was proud of what I accomplished. Had the journalist taken the time to talk with my friends and family in the “corral” he would have discovered that they were congratulating me, not “consoling” me.

Mr. Maletz said that I couldn’t be reached for comment; below is the quote I gave him that night.

“My goal this season was to progress my riding, and I’m really happy that I landed back to back 900s. I obviously was looking for a different outcome but I’m happy with how I rode and am psyched for Kelly.”

Aspen, I want you to know that I’m proud of how I rode at X Games. I would have loved to have won back-to-back golds this year but because of the new level that I was trying to reach, I fell short. Aspen, thank you, as always, for your love and support.

P.S. I miss you, Nate Peterson

Gretchen Bleiler


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