Gold medal freestyle skier Eileen Gu returns to Aspen for the X Games

The Winter X Games are back in town, as is Olympic and X Games gold medalist Eileen Gu, who spent some time with young local athletes on Monday.

The teen freestyle skier was quite a proud coach after working with young shredders at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.

In a Monday afternoon interview at The Little Nell, she boasted that every girl landed their 360 during the session sponsored by watch brand IWC Schaffhausen – and everyone was having fun, too.

“Being around kids when they’re 11 and 12 and seeing how passionate they are and how excited they are is really uplifting in so many ways and really inspires me to be so grateful for what what I have and what I have to do every day,” Gu said.

Gu’s daily routine of sky-high spins and flips might seem impossible, but it’s part of what she loves about action sports, she said.

“It’s literally the physical manifestation of doing the impossible, and I can do the impossible every day,” Gu said. “And that does so much for my self-esteem, for my sense of resilience, for my sense of self and identity, and I carry that into every aspect of my life, and it’s revolutionized the way I view challengers and the way I do see myself.”

However, Gu said you don’t have to be a professional skier to appreciate the values ​​of action sports. She may be nervous about a double cork 1620, but overcoming the fear of a smaller accomplishment like a 360 can also help build that sense of resilience.

A self-confessed “big nerd” and freshman at Stanford University, Gu wants to teach young athletes the importance of balancing academics and athletics.

“It opens up your worldview so much and gives you a great perspective, especially on the academic side of things,” Gu said. “I think going to school shaped the way I ski so much, especially the way I compete. I don’t think I would be where I was, where I am, if I didn’t go to school.”

She also wants to be a role model for girls with big ambitions in the ski world.

“I think it’s super important for young girls to start skiing, to feel like there’s a place for them in the industry, that we feel welcome and we want them there and that they have the ability to do great things.” Said Gu.

Gu is both a professional athlete and a model, with ambassador roles tied to companies like watch brand IWC, which supported her work with AVSC earlier this week. She said in the interview that her roles in both sports and fashion have helped her to recognize her own abilities, “not just what you see, but the underlying and underpinning abilities.”

“My body is my job, and the really cool thing about it is that I’ve learned a lot about the beauty of my body and what it can do, not just what it looks like,” Gu said. “But when I see myself in the mirror and look at my legs, my legs have carried me hundreds of kilometers running. My legs allowed me to take off and do double corrotations and land safely on the other side. How incredible is that? How cool and how strong and how powerful is that?”


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