Terje Haakonsen and Daniel Franck invite 20 of the best riders on the planet for a different kind of get together above the arctic circle. The location is called Lofoten, Norway. It’s a historical Viking fishing town.
The riders stay in fisherman cabins that have been used for many centurys.
The first challenge was getting here. Many people traveled 30 hours and took 8 planes. On arrival we were brought to dinner at a reconstruction of the largest known house of a Viking chief. Everyone dressed in gray robes and one guy with an axe was yelling at us to drink vine and eat food. Beautiful untouched blonde girls with blue eyes served us food and drinks. Most people were so jet lagged that the scene seemed surreal. The fire was burning in the middle of the room, songs of lore telling of viking adventure and history were being sung. People danced around the fire and hummed songs.
The event was explained as a loosely structured and absolutely unpolitical contest. The riders had the ability to decide when and what they ride. Daniel Franck welcomed everyone and made sure all knew that this get together was for fun. Added to the mix was a skateboard ramp, surfing in Penguin suits, and fishing trips. Pretty much the dream week for any snowboarder.
The pipe was the biggest ever. The quarterpipe was even bigger! The view of snowcovered peaks rising out of the ocean was incredible. The first day of riding was an adjustment for everyone because of the size of the pipe.
The next morning was another perfectly clear cold bluebird day. A few riders jumped in a car and drove half an hour to a surf spot including Reto, Terje, Gus Buckner, EK ¿ and Shaun White’s dad. Our guide Thomas is a local surfer and enthusiastically encourages surfing above the arctic circle. The waves were head high and no one froze. Whithin two hours everyone was back riding the pipe.
A jam format decided the 6 riders that will compete in the final the next day. The riders became more comfortable with the pipe and pushed each other to new levels. Marius Sommer was ripping at his best and qualified top 3 but broke his collarbone.
Next day two more riders were added to the final. Picked out of another jam session. Ingemar Backmann and Espen Arvesen were added to the original 6 Terje, Gian Simmen , Michi Albin, Iker Fernandez, Markus Johnson, Bjorn Leines.
Terje took on all challengers in his ring. Huge backside and tucknee airs off the hip that rolled into big frontside airs and old school stales on hit two. Super stalled McTwists on hit three convinced all on hand that he is still at the top of his game. Everyone riding continued to progress and push each other to that elusive next level. Iker pushed hard, as did Albin. Gian Simmen did lots to gain some new well-deserved respect. Bjorn struggled, but put some impressive runs together after the contest was over.
The final list went like this :
2. Gian Simmen
3. Ingemar Backman
The “contest” was more of an attempt to get an international group of progressive riders together to push snowboarding and a new way of competing that’s run by the athletes. Terje and Daniel continue to lead the sport in new directions. Tomorrow the week closes with the quarterpipe competition or, we may all just go fishing.
Jay Twitty , Jon Foster, Reto Lamm