German what? Braten who? Don’t worry about it, unless you’re announcing a contest this winter you won’t need to say his name out loud, but you should at least know it. This Norwegian newcomer is coming in hot on the contest scene—he’s a Helmsedal local, he calls Torstein a friend, he’s currently in first place on the TTR World Tour, and he has plans to film with Standard this winter. We caught up with him at the Beijing Air & Style.
Hometown: Torpo, Norway
Home Mountain: Hemsedal
Sponsors: Nike 6.0, Nitro, Monster, Oakley, Swag, Hoppipolla
So, how did you become the TTR World Tour leader?
I ended up fourth in the overall ranking last year. I had a good starting score, then I did the Ante Up in Whistler and got 4th, and the New Zealand Open this past summer where I got second in slopestyle. I also did a lot of small contests this fall that added up.
Was your goal going into the winter to get a high TTR ranking?
It wasn’t a goal, but it’s just a thing that comes with doing good in contests. I don’t care too much about it, but my sponsors do …
You were putting down some solid double corks in practice, when did you learn them?
Last year in New Zealand, I was riding a lot with Torstein and one day we went out and just learned them. I learned them backside 10, and Torstein did his first double backflip. Our double cork history started there at Cardrona. We were just stoked on trying it and went out and did it—like today’s the day.
Which variations do you have?
Backside double cork 10 and 12. I tried some switch backside double corks yesterday, too, that was the first time I ever tried it-that was fun. I didn’t stick it all the way, I’ll wait to claim it until it’s perfect [laughs].
Gjermund isn’t just a contest rider, you might remember him from They Came From… by Factor Films—the “teenagers section.” Here’s a little nugget to get you reacquainted:
What are your plans for this winter?
I’m going to film with Standard and I’m going to do the Air & Style contests and A lot of the TTR contests. I’d love to do X Games … I’d love to get an invite. That’s my dream when I started snowboarding to enter X Games and to film with Standard.
How are your snowmobiling skills?
I’m pretty bad with motorsports, when I was in Bali this summer I crashed a few times on this moto thing, I learn fast though.
Have you done much powder riding?
Not much, well my home mountain is ten minutes away and all you can do there is ride when there’s a lot of snow, so I guess I grew up riding with big mountain skiers and stuff and I always had to follow them around.
Who do you ride with?
Stale [Sandbech], Torstein, Andreas, and Gulli from Norway. They are the guys I ride with the most.
I hear you’re an accomplished dancer. Tell me about this Halling dans.
It’s a folk dance only for men in Norway—a traditional thing. The place I come from is super traditional and I grew up dancing and traveling around and people hire me to do performances and stuff. I used that money to travel to snowboard. It really helped me out and it’s good training, too.
Have you ridden in the U.S. much?
I always go to Breckenridge and Keystone every year. I also went to Vermont for the U.S. Open. I spent some time in California this fall—in the springtime I was at Superpark. When I rode for DC two years ago I went to the Mountain Lab and Park City with Biittner. That was pretty huge, pretty cool.
You can follow along to see if Gjermund can hold on to his top spot on the TTR world Tour. The next big TTR event isn’t until next year, the 6 Star O’Neill Evolution in Davos, Switzerland. We’re predicting it’s his at least through the new year. Gjermund’s also got a blog: http://gjermundbraaten.wordpress.com/