Colorado Girl: In Aspen with IWC Ambassador & Olympic Gold Medalist Eileen Gu

The Olympic freestyle skiing champ and brand ambassador hopes to provide a Rocky Mountain High for the next generation of action sports athletes.

By Rhonda Riche

Freestyle skier Eileen Gu may only be 19 years old, but it’s already her ambition to inspire the next generation of action sports athletes.

Gu has been a brand ambassador for IWC Schaffhausen starting in 2021, and ever since, she has been using her platform to reach out to up-and-coming athletes. In fact, last month, before the Winter X Games, Gu hit the slopes with young skiers from the local Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club and IWC local partner Meridian Jewelers.

Not just an Olympian, Gu is also a model and a freshman at Stanford. And like IWC, she has a lot of range, which she demonstrated visually by wearing many different timepieces during the event in Aspen.

Golden Gu

Born and raised in San Francisco, Gu learned to ski on the slopes around Lake Tahoe, where her mother was a part-time ski instructor. An all-American girl, Gu competed for China – her mother’s native country – at the Beijing Olympics in 2022.

Only 18 at the time, while in Beijing, she became the youngest Olympic champion in freestyle skiing after winning gold medals in the big air and halfpipe events and a silver medal in slopestyle. She is also the first U.S. citizen with Chinese ancestry to win a gold medal in any Winter Olympic event. In fact, TIME Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world under the “Pioneers” category in 2022.

Interestingly, in a 2019 post on Instagram, Gu revealed that rather than seeing herself as American or Chinese, she hopes that, through skiing, she can “help inspire millions of young people” in China by uniting “people, promoting common understanding, creating communication, and forging friendships between nations.”

Representation Matters

In Aspen, Gu took on the role of an advocate for improving representation and inclusion in her sport with gusto.

“I was so excited to spend the day in the mountains with this group of incredible skiers,” Gu said in a press release about the recent Aspen event. “So much about skiing comes down to confidence. It’s a super personal and expressive sport, so the more time you devote, the more it pays off in your ability.”

Personal style is another way Gu expresses herself. In May 2022, she made her runway modeling debut at Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2023 collection show. She has appeared on the covers of Vogue Hong Kong and Singapore’s edition of Harper’s Bazaar.

While she was at the 2023 X Games in Aspen demonstrating tricks and sharing tips on the slopes, Gu chose to wear the 44.5mm IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN in Jet Black (Ref. IW389101), which comes encased in black with a black dial, black hands, and black textile strap.

How does watchmaking overlap with sport and fashion? These three endeavors are rooted in creativity. Pulling off a double cork or an ultra-precise chronograph calibre requires confidence as well as being able to perform under pressure.

Nerves of Steel

In addition to her freestyle and modeling careers, Gu is also invested in her studies at Stanford. Freestyle and fashion bring her great joy, but education has helped her to recognize what she can do.

She is also a student of performance, innovation, and technical excellence at IWC’s legendary Pilot’s Watches, as was made clear when at some point during the day in Aspen, she switched timepieces to a Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 (Ref. IW388102). And like the sport of Freestyle, this Pilot’s Watch presents a more modern take on the classic design. Plus, this watch’s more compact 41mm stainless-steel case size and blue dial is an elegant expression of sport chic.

As for technical marks, this reference runs on the automatic IWC 69385 Calibre movement with 46 hours of power reserve. Moreover, this model comes equipped with IWC’s EasX-CHANGE system, which allows the wearer to quickly and easily swap bracelets and straps to adapt to their surroundings.

With such a contemporary and versatile design, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 (or any IWC equipped with the EasX-CHANGE system) is the right choice for adventurers, athletes, and fashionistas alike.

And while the kids that joined Gu and IWC at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club may not win gold medals at the 2023 Winter X Games, she hopes the experience will help them build a love for the sport and unlock their potential in every arena of their lives.

For more information about IWC watches and EasX-CHANGE system, please visit the brand’s website.

(Images © IWC)

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