Rarely in life do you run across someone with natural talent and fierce convictions … usually it’s one or the other. I’ve known countless individuals with skills that just waste them. I’ve also known many with heaps of determination, but not even an ounce of ability. Andreas Wiig is an individual with both.I met him by accident-actually, it was right after one. I was standing on a jump in the Mammoth park, when out the corner of my eye I saw a large object heading right in my direction. It was Andreas, and he’d carved a little too hard off his toes while setting up for a backside 720-now he was spinning right toward me …It took me a second or two to realize what had just happened. I looked around and saw my camera and battery pack lying in the snow and some dude laying next to me with a bloody face. My leg hurt like hell and was already swollen-I thought for sure it was broken. Ski patrol came and was gonna sled me out, but I tested my leg and it didn’t buckle under my weight, so I waved them on. The bloody-face guy began to apologize. “Hey, is your name Andreas?” I asked. He told me it was. I said my right-hand man Ian Ruhter already knew about him. We set up a time to meet the next day. Although I was a bit reluctant to film with him at first, Ian coaxed me into it by saying, “If you don’t film this kid, you’re an idiot.” Enough said. But Ian and I had no idea what we’d be exposed to, or that the next day would turn into several days of filming and shooting with Andreas.At first we just shot Andreas in the park. He was throwing down every variation of spins-from 180s to 720s-off the large tabletop. Going switch, spinning frontside or backside, it didn’t matter, he had smooth style and was landing them every try. Sometimes when you film someone, you’re amazed when they make a trick. It was the opposite with Andreas-anytime he fell, I was shocked. A few times Andreas overshot the landings of the jumps and I thought he was done, but the kid must have legs of titanium ’cause he never succumbed to the knee-blowing impact. As the days went on, Ian and I wanted to try to get a few pipe shots. “I’m not very good” was Andreas’ response. So I just took a couple of “mellow” runs through the pipe with him. I guess his standard of “good” is a bit different from the average person’s, ’cause his corked frontside sevens to Haakon nines didn’t look too shabby. If you can’t tell, Andreas is super modest. But after a couple days of Ruht and I talking shiz to him, he loosened up and got ruthless.Any of the local Mammoth kids we talked to tripped out on how motivated Andreas is to snowboard. Whether it’s windy, rainy, snowy, or icy-he’d be in the park, even if he was the only one on the hill. Andreas is from Asker, a small town in Norway close to Oslo. No sponsors paid for him to travel to the States last winter. Instead, he saved up money he had earned working at a day care and cruised over solo-style. He’d flown into Los Angeles and then took a Greyhound to Mammoth. Once Ian and I saw him ride, we were instantly on the phone-trying to find him sponsors. Right before Andreas left to fly home, he threw down a switch backside 720 to a Cab 1080 on a double line. Andreas was stoked to be going home-he missed his lady. He’d planned to take a Greyhound from Mammoth to Reno that left at like three in the morning. I told him he could get a ride with me to South Lake Tahoe, go to the casinos, and then crash out at my house-then he could catch a shuttle bus in the morning. There was one problem, though-Andreas is only nineteen years old and the legal limit is 21 in Nevada. Ruht came up with the solution: “You two both look like honkies-let him use your driver’s license and you can use your passport.”I was skeptical at first (and had the right to be). Within five seconds of trying to get into a club, Andreas got my ID taken away. The place was going off, so I walked him outside to a cab, gave the driver directions to my house, and went back insidee. After a rough night, I took a taxi home around 3:30 a.m. and was surprised that Andreas wasn’t there … not on the living room couch, on the floor-nowhere. I figured the worst: either the cabby couldn’t find the house and Andreas was shivering in the woods, or … Tired, I decided I’d figure things out in the morning. I walked downstairs to my bedroom and turned on my light … what the! Andreas was in my bed sleeping! I stole the comforter, grabbed my alarm clock, and hit the couch upstairs.At 6:00 a.m. my alarm blared, and I walked downstairs to wake Goldilocks so I could drop him off at the shuttle. He asked me why I didn’t sleep in the bed, too. “I ain’t down for that shiz,” I replied. “You Americans are so weird,” he said. “In my country we sleep two people in a bed half as small as this.” Don’t be weirded out by the above story-he’s European. Keep an eye out for this kid, though. No doubt he’ll leave you trippin’, too.
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