Hyped! - Exploring Norway

12 Photos1 Video

Photos by Daniel Blom check out his work here http://www.danielblom.com/
Text by Austin Smith and Knut Eliassen. Check out the full story in Snowboarder Magazine
“I never thought I would be doing this as a pro snowboarder.   When I dreamt about being a pro snowboarding in all of its glory at a young age.  It included some unimaginable amazing events but camping via boat throughout the article circle in Norway while summiting peaks under the never setting sun with 5 of my best friends never crossed my mind.
This trip had been in the works for years; ever since I met Curtis and heard about his epic tales of traveling the world via sailboat I knew I wanted to do a snowboard trip on a boat.  However a sailboat did not work its way into equation. Instead Knut`s dad had a fishing boat that we could borrow and we wouldn’t be caught up creek with no wind.  We got the boat, we have Knut as our trusty captain Curtis as the first mate, Bryan and Daniel as trustworthy seamen and Per and myself to round out this once in a lifetime man cruise.  We were ready to spend 10 days filming in Norway for our upcoming team video Hyped! But then Superpark happened just days before the trip was planned. 
Superpark is the last hooray of the season.  For us non-contest guys it is the only time of the year when we are all together.  There is a huge private park, good weather and summer around the corner.  You figure you made it this far throughout the season without getting hurt so might as well really let it unwind at Superpark and go for broke.  But I knew I was still going to Norway directly afterwards and didn’t want to jeopardies those plans by becoming a statistic of Superpark.  We were keeping it pretty mellow until Bryan woke up one morning with a stick up his ass.  For the first run of the day we found ourselves at the top of a colossal kicker.  We watched someone drop in, hit it and nearly escape death.  That was enough for me to make the judgment to keep cruising elsewhere.  Then Bryan drops in, in full tuck formation and sends it over and past the knuckle, to the depths of the bottom of the landing.  Unfortunately for Curtis and I, he was okay. Which meant we had to back him up! The jump was not your standard jump by any means. Once you take of the lip, you fly over a 30ft. deep gap, then you fly over a quarter pipe with a huge rail on top, then you hopefully have enough speed to clear the 30ft. deep gap and 30ft. deck behind the quarter pipe to make it to the landing. All in all you have to clear at least 100ft. of distance. I came about 4 feet short of the landing, meaning I went 96 feet to a flat salted deck.
As I bounced off the knuckle and flew through the air, my first thought was NOOOOOOOrway.  Curtis carried me down to the truck and I went straight to the hospital for x-rays. I was gripped; in a wheelchair and couldn’t put any pressure on my ankle.  Luckily I wheeled out of there with a bruised heel and that sure as hell was not stopping me from going on this “tripcation”.  I hopped on one foot through the airports and we all met up in Trondheim Norway 5 days after Superpark. 
When Curtis got off the plane he wanted a bite of culture so he hit 7-11 for a meal.  He got a hot dog and Coke which ran him 20 bucks.  Norway is not cheep; luckily we were sleeping on a boat, fishing for our food and drinking water.  Knut picked us up shortly after in a small European Fiat and we continued our journey 7 hours north to his Dads house in Hemnesberget.
The following morning we stocked up on supplies and with snowboards strapped to the railings of the boat we were off.  Curtis, Bryan and Myself found comfort on the bow of the boat laid out in our -20 degree Poler sleeping bags as we smashed through the chop taking in the fjords glorious countryside.   Mostly green fields and mountains of stone, rarely we would pass a cabin or two and we would have to search out villages to refuel the boat.  These would consist of a handful of houses, a harbor, and a grocery store.  Norway is about the same size as California but it has a 12% of the people.  It is pretty refreshing, people live a simplified lifestyle, have farms and fish in the fjords but maybe that is due to necessity since everything is so damn expensive.  Either way it is awesome.
However this is where my story ends and Knut’s begins.  I still could not walk at this point and we were pulling up to the shore of a snow covered mountainous island, Tomma.  I rowed each of them to shore in the dingy waved goodbye and went back to the boat to give fishing a go. “
We started hiking up, through tight trees, tall grass and we had to make two stone bridges across fairly large rivers before we actually made it to the snow line. Finally we were able to put your split board or Mountain Approach skies on after carrying them on our back for hours. No one really likes carrying extra gear, so you know it felt good to put the skis on. But, the hike was not over yet; we had more than half way to go. The only line to the top was on the shady side of Tomma, so the feeling of reaching the summit and feeling the warmth of the Midnight sun on your face was a god sent. The view was also not half bad. We were literally on top of the world, looking out over hundreds of small islands and the flat North Sea. It felt like we were in a different world, a world of innocence and beauty!
It was 11 pm when we reached the summit. So we had very little time to get some shots. I did my go to trick "Handplant the top of a Mountain" trick.  We snowboarded around the top of Tomma for a while then decided to go down a shoot that had never been ridden before. Bryan, Curtis and Myself played Rock-Paper-Scissors for who would get the first descent and name the shoot. I was so stoked to have won the battle, but also scared.  I had never done a first decent before. “Was the whole shoot going to slide? Was it just going to be an ice face? Would I fall right when I dropped into the steep windlip? What would Travis do?... All these thoughts were going through my head. But than I remembered I had the honor to name the shoot and that calmed me down. I decided in the heat of the moment, while I was standing on top of the wind lip to call it "Chick Filet". I thought it was cool at the time, but now looking back I completely regret it. Classic! The shoot ended up being one of my favorite runs of the trip, just an amazing 1.5 min run with big open turns. Thanks for a great night Tomma! We ended up getting back to the boat around 1-2am, only to see Austin Smith still waiting for us to help him take the fish he caught 3 hours earlier off the fishing hook.
“The dudes took off their wet boots and I cooked dinner.  By the time we motored into the harbor it was 3am, no one around and the water was perfect glass with the sun shimmering off it.  That night Curtis Bryan and Myself got even closer than normal in a twin bed together. 
In the morning they were back at it, walking down the dock with snowboards strapped to their back.  I spent the day on the boat watching through the binoculars as they sessioned a hip a couple miles away.  Once again they didn’t get back until midnight.  They were beat and with poor weather forecasted for the future days we decided to head home. 
The next day it happened to be the Norwegian National day, which is comparable to Christmas, Hanukah, Easter and the 4th of July combined into one.  People go all out, the streets are packed.  Everyone is dressed to the nines, huge parades including all of the graduating seniors whom at this time are having there own celebration called “Russ” and it is a month long party of total debauchery.  The following day we went spelunking in caves that were used by the Norwegians as a safe house during WWII while the Germans cruised through town. 
After a few days of rain we were starting to get a bit antsy to get back on the boat. Only problem was, it would not start.  Knut spent the day troubleshooting but could not come up with anything and it was the weekend so he could not call anyone for help.  We turned our back on the boat and loaded up the cars.  Continuing our journey north driving up into the artic circle.  As you would expect there was no shortage of snow or mountains.
We spent that night camped along a river, unsuccessfully fishing for our dinner and waiting for the sun to go down.  Regretfully we surrendered around 3 am and headed in for our tents.  The next couple days they spent sliding up and down the mountain searching for more first descents and playful ridges.  But as weather took another turn for the worse we retreated back home once again to plan out our last days in Norway.
We all knew this was going to be the last trip of the season so we wanted to end it well.  We all changed our flights to fly out of Oslo and packed up the car and began the 14-hour drive south.  We drove until 4 am and then decided we would be better off sleeping on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere than in a park in downtown Oslo.  Bryan pulled out his sleeping pad and threw it on the concrete, Curtis and myself opted for softer ground in the ditch and Knut found comfort in the car.
It wasn’t long until we were up and in the car finishing off the drive, and by 3 pm we were at our destination.  Oslo, Norway, Valle Hovin stadium for a Metallica show.  Norway is notorious for die-hard black metal and heavy metal fans.  Curtis had already seen Metallica a few years prior but for the rest of us this was something to check off the bucket list, Bryan was freaking the fuck out.  It didn’t hurt that a friend of mine happens to do wardrobe for the band and got us working passes with all the perks of meet and greets, backstage, on stage, but most importantly into the “snake pit” which is front row for all the Metallica “lifers”.  I didn’t feel out of place that I have no tattoos, but that I didn’t have a Metallica tattoo across my back like everyone surrounding us made me feel like a pussy.  The show went off, these dudes might be old but they still have 50,000 fans going ape shit at any given show. 
After the show we were back at the VIP room thanking Sara for the tickets and in disbelief that this was her day-to-day life.  Robert Trajillo came in and asked us if we were the snowboarders, we said ya keeping our wits about us.  He went on to tell us about when he played for Sabbath he would always go to Park City to go snowboarding but now he is a bit hesitant to break a wrist or anything like that so he sticks to surfing.  On his way out he turned and asked “Hey is that Johan guy still snowboarding?” we laughed at disbelief that Johan would have the bassist of Metallic, Robert Trajillo asking about him.  What a legend!
We slept in the airport that night and the next few days consisted of delayed flights, cancelled flights, lost luggage, a serious hang over but non of it mattered. I was still smiling from boating through the fjords of Norway, the greatest sunsets I have ever seen despite the fact that the sun never sets, camping in the Artic Circle, on stage with Metallica in front of 50,000 of Norway’s finest metal heads.  All to share with 5 of my closets friends.  I have hit my head a few times from snowboarding resulting in a terrible memory, worse than my parents, worse than my grandparents.  But, none of us will let this trip slip out of the memory bank.  “
Sometimes snowboard trips are not very productive. When I say productive I am referring to the idea of going out everyday and getting 2-5 shots for the video. In our Norway trip we definitely were not productive. I am pretty sure we came away with ZERO actual good quality snowboarding shots. But if you are referring to life shots we were the most productive people on the planet, sleeping on a boat in the artic circle, climbing islands no one has climbed, sleeping on the side of the road, drinking, fishing and eating fish on the boat you live on, seeing Metallica, meeting Metallica and the list goes on… Sometimes snowboard trips are not about going out and stacking Snowboard clips – they are about everything that snowboarding brings you and that is what we experienced on our Hyped! trip to Norway. We all had one of the best trips we had and will ever be on. YOLO!