Q&A with Gretchen Bleiler

The pro snowboarder on her ultimate vacation, personal mantra and off-season workout.

Gretchen Bleiler's Olympic and X Games snowboarding medals and commitment to environmental causes make her a role model for women everywhere. But as the jaw-dropping cover girl for ESPN's most recent body issue — where she posed almost completely nude — she gave even Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated swimsuit models something to aspire to. We caught up with the pro athlete just before competition season, and we'll be watching her every move in the Winter X Games on January 26.

Typical workout:
When it’s not contest season, I’ll do an hour of full-body strengthening exercises with my trainer and then an hour of cardio (running, road biking, surfing, hot yoga). Then I make sure I get in a good stretch and foam roll. I do this awesome yoga routine from Surf Into Yoga that hits all the right spots and is only 15-20 minutes, so you can always fit it in.

Biggest vice:
Chocolate chip cookies are maybe my favorite thing ever! I was just recently training in Wanaka, New Zealand, and there is a cool locally owned movie theatre there called Paradiso that serves the most amazing freshly baked chocolate chip, double chocolate chip and white chocolate ginger cookies. My friend and I started going every day just for the cookies.

What we’d be surprised to find in her fridge:
I always have a bottle of champagne in the fridge — always prepared for a celebration.

Her favorite room in her house:
Our bedroom. We have a cool Environment king-sized platform bed that's earthy and cozy with a Tempur-Pedic mattress. But overall the room is just very simple and peaceful.  

Her all-time favorite place to snowboard:
Aspen/Snowmass. I'm definitely biased because I grew up here, but there's a reason I still live here. The place is gorgeous, and there are four mountains that are all totally unique so on any given day you can get whatever you're looking for. 

Three things still on her bucket list:

Go to an ashram and meditate for a month, live in Costa Rica and build wells and give clean water access to those in need through our company ALEX.

Her style icon:
I'm not really a style icon kind of girl, but I do always love the way Sienna Miller looks.
Her "healthy living" heroes:
Growing up in Aspen, I was exposed to so many, from Neil Beidleman and Chris Klug to Chris Davenport and the Marolt's. Even in school, a huge emphasis was placed on the outdoors and learning how to live and play in it. Aspen and its amazing community of innovators really helped shape who I am.  

Best insider tip:
Breaking your day up into four quadrants of work, play, me and others is the key to balance, success and happiness in life. The idea is that work and others (catching up with friends and family) takes energy but play (exercise, yoga, snowboarding) and me (meditation, a bath, massage) give you energy. If your day is balanced between all four, you'll feel great and have perfect energy. 

Her favorite healthy meal:
I absolutely love the Naked Café in Carlsbad, CA (where I live part time). Their pesto scramble is one of my staples.

Her ultimate decadent meal:
Another fave spot in Carlsbad is sushi restaurant Nozomi. It has the most delicious and melt-in-your-mouth fish.

Her latest obsession:
My HOLGA camera. Being able to capture cool, artsy photos wherever I go around the world is so fun.

Best vacation ever:
My husband and I go to Costa Rica time and time again (we even got married there) for great waves, great food and just an all-around meaningful way of life. 

Her first big splurge:
A Balenciaga handbag

Best gift she’s ever received:
Our sweet dog Kota, who we rescued from a shelter north of LA

What she'd do if she weren't a pro athlete:
My family and I started our own sustainable living company to create easier solutions for everyone. The first product we've launched is a stainless steel water bottle that you can open in the middle for easy cleaning. It's called ALEX, which stands for Always Live Extraordinarily. Anyone want to invest?!  

The last thing she recommended to a friend:
Dan Millman's Way of the Peaceful Warrior. 

Message she’d send to the world with one request. (Only catch: It has to be 140 characters or less.):
"Do or do not, there is no try."