By Henrik RostrÅp
What do you think would happen if a snowboard pro, an ex-motocross racer, and a female musician got together and decided to put on a weekend of boardercross, motocross, concerts, and parties way up in Stryn, Norway? Total chaos? Well, actually it was the Nitro 2000 Crossover Competition.
Pro rider Marius Sommer, who was ranked eighth for the ’98/99 ISF halfpipe season, is currently the president of the Professional Snowboarders Association (PSA), and a heck of a nice guy, came up with the original idea. His good friend and ex-motocross racer Kjell Ammundsen and Marius’ girlfriend Lisa Miskovsky helped bring together the other elements to make it all happen.They invited the best snowboarders and motocross riders from Scandinavia to battle each other in their respective fields-some of the snowboarders had never ridden a motocross bike before and vice versa.
The competition ran over a two-day period in two separate locations: the first day on the glacier at Stryn, Summerski Resort for the boardercross; and the second at a new, specifically made motocross track at Folven Camping/Stryn Mountain Tourist Center.
The weather didn’t want to cooperate, changing from fog to rain and back again with some occasional sunny seconds. But no one really seemed to care-the snow held together, and the motocross track was good and muddy.
Day one of the event was a thrill to watch as the motocross riders were charging unknown territory on the boardercross track. Some of them were out of control, landing upside down on their heads every second jump-but what could you expect from guys whose only snowboarding experience was a three-hour session prior to the competition? The motocrossers charged it with a lot of guts and determination.
It was never really a question of who would win the boardercross competition, a motocrosser or a snowboarder, but rather which snowboarder would take the top spot. Norwegian Arild Brun Kjeldaas smoked the rest of the field for top honors. His fellow Norwegians demonstrated their skills as well. Roger Hjelmstadstuen didn’t place high up on the final rankings, but earned huge respect for his clean frontside 900 liens at the finish-line jump, and Lars Ole Granhaug impressed everyone with frontflips that he landed, literally, on the finish line.
Day two started with the riders ready to rumble on the motocross track. Rumbler number one turned out to be the former World Championship motocross rider Espen Blikstad, who won the finals and was crowned “King of Cross 2000.” But results aside, the snowboarders had a rippin’ time on the bikes. They did have to roll over some of the bigger jumps, which was a bit of a setback for most of them, with the Norwegians-Roger Hjelmstadstuen, Christian Thoresen, and Arild Brun Kjeldaas-riding like the pros they all are.
The semifinal battle that included Christian Thoresen and Petter Levin (the Norwegian halfpipe team manager), was one of the most memorable of the event. They were fighting hard, slipping and sliding on the rainy track, eyeballs out into every corner, trying to get the edge across the finish line. Petter took the checkered flag after a long-fought battle. Roger Hjelmstadstuen led the snow shredders with an excellent ninth-place finish.
The show ended with a big-jump session by the six top motorcross riders who launched themselves over an eighteen-foot gap, and then everyone adjourned to a performance by Snail, the all-girl Swedish band fronted by Lisa.
This was the second-annual Nitro Crossover Competition. For more information and photos, go to www.crossoverevents.com.