Caught Up With Mikkel Bang

Norwegian stylist Mikkel Bang has been on the contest-grind since he was just a little kid. But, he's man-size now and just won the US Open slopestyle for the first time. He tore up the course (with homey Jack Mitrani on his tail with the follow cam). And, Mikkel's also filming for the forthcoming TransWorld Snowboarding movie, In Color. Big winter. We hit skatepark the day before the US Open slopestyle and caught up with this kid named Mikkel, who's name rhymes with pickle.

So you finished  high school?

Yeah, this is my first winter that I haven't been in school, so I've had a lot more time to go and ride. Now I'm full time.

What have you been up to all season--you did XGames, European Open ...

European Open was a fun contest--I got second at that one. Then I went to Tahoe to try and film a little, but that didn't work out.

You also went up to Whistler on a filming trip with the TransWorld crew, right?

Yeah, I went up there for two weeks. It was so sick, man. Itr was my first time sledding in the backcountry and it was so crazy.

Who was in your crew?

I was out there with Mark Sollors and Jussi [Oksanen] and Joe Carlino filming.

So before this, you'd never been sledding?

Well, I've sledding in Tahoe on a 450 but then I got up to Whistler--on an 800, it was so fast.

Did you bury the sled a bunch?

Actually, I didn't. I only got stuck once on the first day and it was deep that day. Those guys I was with up there are so good on snowmobiles and the first day I was up there they really taught me a bunch of stuff. I learned a lot from those guys--sidehilling and stuff. Steering the opposite way.

How did you do jumping into powder?

I did okay. I got some shots, but I really, really need some more.

This is a big year--going from school last season to filming a video part and doing a bunch of contests, too.

I kinda like doing some contests, too because it keeps you going--everyone is happy with you.

You mean sponsors.

Yeah, they like it. It's easier to do the other stuff you really wanna do if you are doing some contests, too.

Top of the podium at the US Open 2010. Photo: Hamilton

Top of the podium at the US Open 2010. Photo: Hamilton

Slopestyle contests have really stepped up in progression this season.

It really has, it's crazy. It's funny too, that now everything is accepted. Nobody thinks it's gay anymore if you spin over 1080. That used to be gay before. And now everyone thinks its super-cool: like double-corks and double-rodeos. I think it's cool that it keeps changing.

After getting third at Arctic Challenge you went to Japan. How was that trip?

Yeah, I went with Jack [Mitrani] and Keegan [Valaika]. I got there a day late and I guess on the first day they got some snow, but when I got in, it all turned to slush. So we got skinny-stance. That was the cool thing about the trip, we got into a riding-with-your-friends type of deal instead of a serious shooting thing. We rode skinny stances the whole time.

Skinny stance. You just took it in a couple inches?

All the way in, on EST. It was super funny.

Are you still traveling with your guitar?

I always have my guitar with me--it's so worth it. I've been on the road for so long. If I didn't bring it with me I would be so bummed. It's such a good thing to have with you--if you're bored or homesick. It's like medicine.

So after the US Open, are you back to filming for In Color?

Yeah. I take a week off and then go back to either Whistler or up to Alaska--stoked for that.

Post-shred skate sesh with the tall kid. SMS ramp at Stratton, VT.

Post-shred skate sesh with the tall kid. SMS ramp at Stratton, VT. Photo: Muzzey