Boardercross Interview: Tor Bruserud from Norway
What were the best and worst boardercross events of 1998/99?
The worst were probably the U.S. Open. When we got there there was no course to train on–they made it the day before. When we saw the half-finished course we told them to put more jumps in. They put in a big roller in the middle of a flat speed section, making us jump far on to the flat. They had a good starting gate though.
What makes a good boardercross racer?
One who is able to take flat landings. A good freerider who knows how to carve or a racer who knows how to jump can usually become good BX riders. But you also need to be aggressive.
Is boardercross all luck?
No, it’s the same people in most of the finals (top six). But to go all the way to the top you need a little bit of luck.
Why do you think boardercross has become popular?
Because it’s snowboarding at it’s best–no judging, just be fast and ride the jumps and banks. And for non-snowboarders it’s easy to understand.
What is the difference between boardercross and the other
forms of snowboard competition?
It’s more action-packed. No waiting for judges or to see how the others are doing. When you cross the finish line you, and everybody else knows where you stand.
Who do you consider the most up-and-coming boardercross
riders, men and women?
Borre Bie-Larsen, my neighbor. He’s young in BX, needs only a little more experience, and I think he’ll get enough this year. A man for the future.
How do you train for racing boardercross?
Skateboarding, freeriding, having fun. This year we will try to make a course on a glacier in Norway before the season to ride. Riding in a course is a lot of fun, and it does not feel like “training for BX racing”–it feels more like freeriding with your friends.
Give some tips on riding the following: berms/banks, jumps,
Just stay centered over your board at all times and don’t lean back on the kickers. Stay loose and let your feet do the work.
What equipment do you race on and why? Describe boards and boots.
I use a pretty long and stiff freeride board, 165 cm. Regular
freestyle bindings don’t give me enough support, so I’m trying out the clicker system for next year. Hardboots are dangerous for yourself and others on big kickers (unless you are Bonacina).
When did you first compete in boardercross?
I did a race or two in Norway many years ago, but I would not call it BX. My first international BX race was Laax, Switzerland in '96. Haakonsen, Palmer, Hetzel, Freinademetz–everyone was there, and I was stoked to make 9th in timetrials. Then in my first heat I took the lead, but someone took me out in the first turn and there was no losers round. Bummer.
Should boardercross be in the Olympics?
It’s perfect for the Olympics, and if I were one of the organizers I would certainly put it in there. But BX will grow to be huge anyway because it’s made for TV.
What kind of protection do you wear?
Helmet and back protector–everybody should. Helmet is mandatory, and the back protector has saved me a couple of times.
Who will win the tour (Swatch and ISF) in 1999/00?
Hopefully myself, but there are at least five or six guys who are capable of winning it. I’m talking about the ISF tour, because I don’t know if the Swatch tour is on this year. The Swatch tour is a private sponsor tour with unclear rules, so for me it has no value anyway.
What risks are involved in boardercross and how do you deal with them?
The biggest risk is that some of the other guys will lose control and crash into you, so I try to stay in front of them.
If you could share one piecce of advice with an amateur
racer, what would it be?
Know your limits, and push them, don’t ignore them.
What injuries have you suffered while racing boardercross?
Just some undefined chest pain after the 97/98 finals, but it’s getting
What is the main thing that people don't understand about
The rush you get in the starting gate, even if the course is mellow.
What makes a good boardercross course?
Big jumps without flat landings, good banks for carrying speed, rollers where you can double and pass–and for crying out loud: Don’t put the Wu-Tang kickers in the fastest section!
What is the difference between riders who win and the ones who don't, what are the winners doing differently?
They are in there to win, not just to survive. Some people seem to be happy just to make it down in 3rd or 4th place. To win you need to ride on the edge and a little over and get away with it.
How much can you earn in a year by racing?
Actually, it’s starting to be pretty lucrative.