Wha-bamm. That's how Gretchen Bleiler describes her body slamming the halfpipe floor during the mid-December Olympic trials at Breckenridge, Colo.
She under-rotated a 900 and dropped about 15 feet to the icy pipe floor. Bleiler, whose fine features and quick smile are easy on a camera lens, is one of the world's elite halfpipe riders. With the fall on her final run, she finished second to Hannah Teter. But this is the first of five Olympic qualifying Grand Prix events, and the 24-year-old Bleiler is pleased. Standing at the base of the pipe, she laughs as she smacks the back of one hand against the palm of the other to create the proper sound effect.