As the X Games has grown and matured, so have its athletes, and many of this week's big names are seizing the opportunity to utilize their star power and the X Games stage to do something bigger than themselves and their sport.
Gretchen Bleiler, the face of Winter X with four X Games gold medals, is an active environmentalist who taking her cause to a new level this week. Leading up to and during Winter X 15, Gretchen has challenged all of her fellow athletes to take her 21 Day Reusable Challenge. So for 21 days, the likes of Ellery Hollingsworth, Sammy Carlson, Grete Elliason, Jack Mitrani and slew of others have pledged to stop using plastic water bottles, plastic grocery bags and Styrofoam containers in an attempt to kick the plastic habit and raise awareness of how much disposable plastic we unconsciously toss into landfills every day. Sounds easy, right?
Tuesday in the athlete tent, Gretchen and X Games skier Grete Elliason were discussing the ups and downs of what seems to be a fairly simple challenge for the eco savvy, but Grete admitted that since the 11th of January, she's had to restart the challenge nearly every day because of one plastic snafu or another. Yesterday, Gretchen reached out to high school students to talk about the environment and to enroll more eco warriors in her reusable challenge. If you're interested in participating, check out the site or follow Gretchen on Twitter @gretchenbleiler.
Here are some of the other charitable endeavors your favorite X athletes are involved in:
• Protect Our Winters is big mountain rider Jeremy Jones' brain child. POW's goal: Get the winter sports community to raise awareness and take action to protect our winters. This week at X, Olympic and X Games medalist Seth Wescott, Nate Holland and Bleiler are heading into local schools to teach kids about the climate change and what they can do to make a difference.
• The Kelly Clark Foundation: Olympic and X Games gold medalist Kelly Clark runs a scholarship fund, which helps up and coming athletes pursue excellence in athletics and academics.
• Hannah's Gold: Maple syrup-loving Vermont native and Olympic and X Games Gold medalist Hannah Teter raises money from the sale of Hannah's Gold Maple Syrup to fund water and sanitation projects dig wells for villages in Kenya.
• Sweet Cheeks Panties: Hannah Teter continues her charitable efforts with Sweet Cheeks Panties. The proceeds from these bootilicous boy shorts help Doctors Without Borders supply care and comfort to nations around the globe.
• The Jimmy V Foundation: Longtime partner of the X Games, The Jimmy V Foundation raises money for cancer research by enlisting a slew of X athletes and ambassadors for this worthy cause. On Wednesday, the Jimmy V Foundation kicked off X's official party scene with a silent auction and opportunity to mingle with X Games athletes like Elliason, Clark and Kjersti Buaas.
• Boarding For Breast Cancer: This organization has been around since the beginning of Winter X, raising awareness of a disease that affects one in four women. Nearly every athlete at Winter X will be donning B4BC stickers and selling painted breast molds to support the worthy cause.