Ticket To Ride
Willy Wonka And The Wicked Factory
When The Arctic Challenge first started in ’99, it was ultra-exclusive—Terje Haakonsen or Daniel Franck handpicked every competitor. It continued that way until this last year, when organizers decided to try a new format, the Ticket To Ride. The idea behind TTR is simple: win any of eight chosen contests and get a free ride to The Arctic Challenge. Of course, the big boys still chose a couple shreds of their own—the wildcards, making for an event so stuffed with talent it was gushing out the sides.
One of the cool parts about this format is that a handful of the chosen events were “open,” meaning anyone could enter. So theoretically, John Doe could pay his entry fee, win the contest, and have the snowboarding version of Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket.
From early September ’til mid March hundreds of heads battled, hoping to make it—only a handful pulled it off …
The Arctic Challenge
Terje Haakonsen has done a lot to change the face of snowboarding. In the early 90s when most of the field was pushing up three-foot airs in the pipe, “The Terj” let loose ten- and twelve-footers. When the snowboard community scrambled for an Olympic seat, he let loose a gigantic middle finger, letting everyone know there’d be no Haakon at Nagano. So it wasn’t much of a shock that one of the first truly rider-run contests would be his brainchild.
In 1999, with the help of fellow Norwegian Daniel Franck, Mr. Haakonsen created “The Arctic Challenge” in hopes of making an event that would be both participant-friendly and push the progression of the sport. It was a success—over the last four years TAC has become a premier snowboard event, bringing us such memorable moments as Heikki Sorsa’s 28-foot backside air, and (twelve-year-old) Luke Mitrani’s nineteen-footer, just to name a few.
The following pages contain images from the 2003 event, held in Tyrsil, Norway. Check it out—people got gnarly.
Contest Time Line
September 7—13, 2002
The Vodaphone World Championships
Cardrona, New Zealand
TTR: Elijah Teter
December 12—15, 2002
Nokia Air And Style
TTR: David Benedek
December 13—14, 2002
Nissan X-Trial Jam
TTR: Heikki Sorsa, Rio Tahara
December 29, 2002—January 1, 2003
O’Neill SB Jam
TTR: Andy Finch
January 18—25, 2003
Burton European Open
TTR: Jussi Oksanen, Vinzens Lüps
February 5—9, 2003
TTR: Marius Otterstad
March 6—9, 2003
Vans Triple Crown
TTR: Tuomo Ojala, Tommy Czeschin
March 10—16, 2003
Philips U.S. Open
TTR: Shaun White, Nate Sheehan, Ross Powers, Kuzahiro Kokubo