BOULDER — Champion snowboarder and Aspen native Gretchen Bleiler told students at CU Monday that she has been “chasing snow” for a decade and that the chase is getting more difficult every year.
“I’m definitely not a scientist. I’m not an expert on climate change. But being a professional snowboarder, I’ve been chasing snow year-round for the last ten years and because of that I’ve been able to see the effects of climate change firsthand,” said Bleiler, who was a guest of the CU Environmental Center.
Bleiler said climate change presents a serious threat to the future of snowboarding and to the fragile ecosystem of the Rocky Mountains. She talked about what students can do in their own lives as consumers to prevent climate change, encouraging them to “demand eco-friendly products.” Bleiler gave away products to the audience from her own sustainable clothing line.
The Environmental Center’s Scot Woolley said he approached Bleiler to speak at the university to capitalize on the passion that snowboarding elicits in students.
“We really wanted to bring climate change home to the students and show that it’s already affecting them in their homes and the things that they love. Snow is an issue that engages students on climate change here in Colorado,” said Woolley. “So getting a professional snowboarder, and especially a Colorado local and someone as popular and well known as Gretchen Bleiler is really powerful.”
While many students at the event actively participated in the environmental message, sharing tips on living a more eco-friendly lifestyle and offering their perspectives on climate change, other students simply came to see the world famous snowboarder and Maxim magazine model in person.
“You want to know why global warming is happening?” said one member of the audience to Bleiler. “It’s because you’re so hot!”