The Unrecorded Assault
By Andy Blumberg
“On we sweep with threshing oar/ Our only goal … the western shore.”
-“Immigrant Song,” Led Zeppelin
Like genetic coding for a predetermined destiny, Scandinavians’ proclivity to claim new lands and conquer weaker people is of historic legend. In snowboarding, Terje Haakonsen led forth at the helm of it all. He followed the stars, sailing under the flag of Norway, and landed here in America first, stunning all he encountered. Haakonsen is, quite possibly, a modern-day incarnation of the Norse god Thor, figuratively crushing heads by throwing mighty hammers.
Following in his wake, great metal ships full of Norwegians, Swedes, and Finns have carried on Haakon’s battle charge across the Atlantic. While more civil than their ancestors-now wielding boards ‘stead of heavy axes, and screeching cries for blood replaced by shit-talking whispers in their native tongues-these Scanners are just as lethal as all that came before. Maybe their only weakness and chance at defeat is difficulty landing tricks in powder. Even that, they are overcoming.
Over past seasons, TransWorld SNOWboarding has documented each rise of talent over yond. The first Scanners feature, January 1994, matter-of-factly stated that “The American freestyle scene is being blown away by a quiet yet eager crew of Scandinavian kids.” Discussion focused on Oskar Norberg, Sebu Kuhlberg, Alexsi Vanninen, Daniel Franck, and the spot Riksgransen, Sweden-where Ingemar Backman would later take possession of his rightful spoils with a grand victory on a quarterpipe. All of them went on to capture some sort of attention and/or infamy.
Nearly two years later in November 1995, “The Next Generation” would be published in the magazine. Bjorn Lindgren, Juha Tenkku, Joni Makinen, Ami Voutilainen, Jesse Hyv ri, Miika Enroth, and again, Riksgransen had been exposed. Their fates were mixed-some became heroes, some fell short.
The riders of Scanners III should be known. Their presence has been felt for a great time in the United States. Photos and interviews of the individuals themselves, ahem, individually have appeared in the magazine, proof positive that another Norse threat was and is real. However, as a collective force with skills developed and honed at Talma, Finland; Kongsberg, Sweden; and Voss, Norway, the ongoing phenomenon slipped by us undetected, never being fully photographed and written about early on. Somewhere along the way, maybe under the cover of darkness, they crept up undetected: Jussi Oksanen, Paavo Tikkanen, Wille Yli-Luoma, Joni Malmi, Anne Molin Kongsgaard, and J.P. Solberg. It is by duty that we profile those of the Unrecorded Assault. Like the two waves before them, these snowboarders have trained hard and now rule over much of the scene.