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.

Arctic Challenge

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

Seefeld, Austria

TTR: David Benedek

December 13—14, 2002

Nissan X-Trial Jam

Tokyo, Japan

TTR: Heikki Sorsa, Rio Tahara

December 29, 2002—January 1, 2003

O’Neill SB Jam

Davos, Switzerland

TTR: Andy Finch

January 18—25, 2003

Burton European Open

Livingo, Italy

TTR: Jussi Oksanen, Vinzens Lüps

February 5—9, 2003

Nescafé Championships

Leysin, Switzerland

TTR: Marius Otterstad

March 6—9, 2003

Vans Triple Crown

Bear Mountain

TTR: Tuomo Ojala, Tommy Czeschin

March 10—16, 2003

Philips U.S. Open

Stratton, Vermont

TTR: Shaun White, Nate Sheehan, Ross Powers, Kuzahiro Kokubo

Female Riders

Hannah Teter

Doriane Vidal

Gretchen Bleiler

Kjersti Buaas

Wildcards

Xaver Hoffman

Quentin Robbins

Ingemar Backman

Matheiu Crepel

Nicolas Müller

Travis Rice

Gian Simmen

Markku Koski

Danny Kass

Halvor Lunn

Shaun White