This was not your average brush with greatness.
A black bear trying to cross Arlberg Avenue in Girdwood scampered into the woods after getting hit by a truck Saturday, a scene that unfolded in front of several gawkers along the side of the road watching the bear and her three cubs.
Driving the truck was Peter Grunwaldt of Anchorage. In the passenger's seat was Rosey Fletcher, a three-time Olympic snowboarder who won a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
"It was a freak show," Fletcher said Sunday. "The police and an ambulance show up, everybody's running around with bear spray, all these ladies are on cell phones screaming, 'There's three cubs in the tree!'
"Then one of them goes, 'Wait! You're that snowboarder, that Olympic medalist! You're the one who ran over the bear?' "
Sgt. Bryan Barlow of the Alaska State Troopers said Grunwaldt didn't have a chance to stop or swerve.
"It was just an incident where he was driving down the road, and the bear darted out of the woods," Barlow said. "It's heavily wooded right up to the side of the road there, and they weren't able to avoid colliding with it."
Fletcher and Grunwaldt were on their way back to Anchorage after attending the Blueberry Festival at Alyeska Resort. Arlberg Avenue winds through the woods and leads to the resort's hotel.
"There was a Winnebago going the other direction to the hotel, and to the right some cars were pulled off to the side," Fletcher said. "Once the Winnebago went by, we saw the bear. We were going about 15, 20 mph, and the bear hit the fender before Peter even got on the brakes."
The bear, whose three cubs were in a tree, was crossing the street behind the Winnebago, Fletcher said. The people pulled over to the side of the road and were watching.
Girdwood's had more black bear activity than usual this summer, Barlow said.
"We've had a lot of calls this year relating to black bears getting into people's trash," he said. "Most people at this point are securing their trash, but the bears are ripping doors off sheds and eating 40-pound bags of dog food in a sitting.
"One shimmied up a tree and jumped onto a second-floor deck to get to a bag of trash. They're pretty innovated."
And now, one of them has had an encounter with a celebrity.
Fletcher retired from competitive snowboarding after winning her medal in Italy, but she remains highly visible and can be seen and heard on various commercials. She works for the city, and part of her job is to promote Anchorage's "Big Wild Life" campaign.
Lucky for her, it looks like the bear will survive to remain a part of that big wild life. The bear made contact with the front left side of the truck but didn't appear injured.
"The bear ran off into the woods, and the guy had a little dimple in his bumper," Barlow said.
There was no blood on the truck, Fletcher said. Only hair and bear scat.
"We scared the poop out of him," she said.
Find Beth Bragg online at adn.com/contact/bbragg or call 257-4309.