I’ve had the pleasure of riding, traveling, and hanging out with Bjorn and Erik over the past few years. We’ve dealt with some crazy and funny shit along the way, and in this last year I’ve seen them handle every situation imaginable. It may not sound tough, but when your job is to travel the world, ride, shoot photos, drink beer, and chase chicks, it’s easy to get sidetracked. Though both have been tested with sponsor issues, contest issues, Olympic issues, and girl issues, they’ve risen to the occasion and made the right decision in every situation.
I first met Bjorn and Erik in Laguna Beach, California. They’d both just made the jump from Hot to Airwalk, they’d just watched Subjekt: Haakonsen, and they were stoked for the upcoming season-stoked to ride. Even though Bjorn had destroyed his upper arm in Europe, the injury didn’t seem to phase him. His doctor said the outlook was good, and man, was he right. At first, Bjorn came across as brash, cocky, and even hungry for the spotlight. He wanted success and he wanted it immediately. His younger brother Erik, on the other hand, was mellow and quiet. His desire to succeed was like Bjorn’s, but he would go about pursuing it his own way. Both brothers are so similar, yet so different-but I knew then that they’d each do well.
Not much has changed since, save a sponsor or two. Bjorn is a superstar now-on the Forum Dream Team and in virtually every video and magazine there is. The kid can do it all. Not only is he one of the sickest kicker kids out there, he’s a charging freerider, a fearsome handrailer, and a ripping competitor. Think about this: last year he missed making the U.S. Olympic team by one person. He doesn’t even have a halfpipe at his home mountain! Meanwhile Erik, a.k.a. “The Mule,” is pushing his all-around abilities and (like his brother) refuses to limit himself to one-dimensional snowboarding. From kickers to powder or pipe, Erik is already better than Bjorn was at his age.
What a scary thought. Keep progressing, boys.
“Raised together in the woods of Big Lake, Minnesota, their childhood delighted in the wonders of boyhood: daydreaming, treehouse building, fishing, catching frogs, participating in smalltown T-ball, and cross-country running in high school. Always pushing one another, making the next bike trick that much more thrilling, practicing skateboarding like it was a full-time job, ski jumping together on their 30-foot vertical hill (off of one of their ‘best’ jump designs) … all this led them together-three brothers-to do more, to push harder, to focus farther, to reach for their dreams each day.”-Ginnymarie Leines