All Photos: Daniel Tengs
As the number of rotations and flips in competition riding reached an all-time high this season the place of style and creativity in contests has become a hot-button topic. In pipe especially, which has seen little change in the setup since the advent of 22-foot Superpipe walls, things are beginning to feel stale. With slopestyle at least the course usually changes from event to event and there seems to be plenty of space to evolve by adding different combinations of rails, hips, quarterpipes and jumps. But pipe, well it's pretty much just two walls and a 17- to 18-degree pitch wherever you go.
Two years ago Danny Davis put together the Peace Pipe, with an assortment of rails, boxes, and gaps, which was a start at breaking the mold. Continuing with this outside-of-the-walls thinking, Terje Haaksonsen wanted to do something different with this year's Arctic Challenge in Oslo, Norway as he feels the standardization of pipes and competition formats has weakened interest in halfpipe riding. In order to help bring creativity back into pipe riding he convened 12 riders including Iouri Podladtchikov, Markus Keller, Arthur Longo, Danny Davis, Jack Mitrani, Benji Farrow, Scotty Lago, Scott Blum, Marius Otterstad, Fredrik Austbo, and Gabe and Ben Ferguson who will work with pipe shapers to find new layouts.
The above photos are of the practice day as riders get warmed-up. Finals go down March 15. Stayed tuned to see what Terje, the riders, and shapers come up with. The Arctic Challenge is followed by the Red Bull Double Pipe in Aspen, Colorado March 22–23, another attempt at injecting new life into pipe riding.