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Holy shit, what a trip. I can’t believe it really happened, and I want to do it all again. Most definitely one of the best weeks of my entire life. Something that’ll remember forever, something that’ll still talk about in 20 years. That good. Let me take you through it.
The last update was from the first few days. We were just shredding around, pushing personal boundaries and having an absolute blast doing it. On Monday Axel (axelwall.tumblr.com) showed up with the train. The riders meeting was at 9 that evening, and after that, the classical midnight skiing was on. That is one of the reasons why Riksgränsen is so fantastic, the light. This time of the year, it doesn’t get dark at all. Some people think it’s annoying, but I love it. It means that they can open the lifts at night, between 10 and 01, and visibility isn’t a huge problem.
After the riders meeting I was a bit nervous. Or well, that’s an understatement. I was nauseously nervous. But by time we got to skiing, I got very pumped up super stoked to get to compete. We checked out the venue one last time, and I was confident about my line.
Come Tuesday, the competition was on. Weather was ok, not super anything. Hiked and inspected the venue in the traditional way, and felt good about my line. I had startnumber 127, so I stayed at the bottom and watched until about nr 85. Hiked up, was a bit less nervous than last year, but still felt pretty bad.
The venue for the first day. My line is the cliffs lookers right.
A few riders before it was my turn, a cloud rolled in on the the start. Not over the start, on the start. Meaning that it was completely white. It made things a bit harder. But I managed to find my line with decent speed, hit the upper cliff like I wanted to, but went a little to small on the lower one. Didn’t think I’d make it through to the finals, so I was a little disappointed.
The start just before it was my turn. Milk.
Later that night, I was in the sauna, debating with myself on wether I’d make it to finals or not, Pontus (pontuzlr.tumblr.com) comes screaming down about finals. He was in 19th after the qualifications, and that is insanely good. I was really stoked for him, and he deserved it. He had been skiing so good this last few days, and this last season to be honest. Then he told I had made it as well. Second to last to make it through, 36th. I didn’t even know what to think. I had finished all of my goals for the trip, I found my line and made it to finals. Insane. Everything from now on would just be a bonus.
The next day arrived, and it was the first day of finals. The face if the day was Insteget, a longer, steeper face, with lots more cliffs. I had no idea what to do. I find a line that feels ok, but the visibility is pretty bad, and since I haven’t skied this face before, I’m not sure about anything. Before the start, I’m about as nervous as I’ve ever been, and literally scared to death. When I go, I don’t see a lot, and I get lost amongst the rocks in the first part of the line. I hit the cliff that I wanted to hit way too small, but finish my run in a stable mannor. The snow was amazing, and I could have gone way bigger, so again, I’m a bit disappointed. And again, Pontus skis incredibly well, even though he gets a bit lost as well.
I end up being 25th after the two days, and Pontus 15th(!). Ok, last run left. The competition works like this; everyone skis the quali-face, the top moves on (this year 37 skiers in men alpine) to two days of finals. Depending on the weather, the finals are 1-3 runs, this year it was two, one each day. All of the runs are counted into the total score, and the skier with biggest score wins, pretty simple.
The face that always is in the finals, no matter if it’s one or three runs, is Branten. It literally means The Steep in Swedish, and is, well, steep. I mean really steep. So steep in fact that the inspection of it is more dangerous than actually skiing it.
On the morning of the finals, the weather was really good. Sunny. I checked out the classical run, Dubbeln, which is a big, steep, double drop. I thought I could make it happen. Hiked up in my big Drop Cliffs Not Bombs-hoodie, because I though it’d be cool to ski a big mountain competition in a hoodie. It was cool, in a double sense. It was cold as hell on the start, because of the wind. Anyway, I wasn’t too nervous before this run, even though it was so steep, big and gnarly it was basically stupid. Skied, found my line perfectly, but hesitated a bit before the big cliffs. It sloughed like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, so when I finally dropped, I couldn’t see the landning. This made everything even gnarlier. But I stomped the first one, and gained a lot of speed for the second one, but somehow I managed to stomp that one as well. Euphoria.
The face from two different perspectives.
That was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but holy fuck it felt good. You forget how fun skiing actually is just before something like that. But afterwards, you feel invincible. Pontus had basically the exact same line picked out, and in my mind he skied better down to the cliffs, but then he caught a rock just before he was to drop, and he fell down the entire thing. He hurt his shoulder a bit, but no other severe injuries. Sending mad vibes to him, he deserved a place in the top 10 in my opinion. Next year.
After the competition, a bunch of us went to go shredding even more, starting with a gap jump over a transport-trail. Scary and fun. After a bit more skiing with some of my best friends, we went down to the hotel and the Après on the balcony in the sun. Everything felt so righteous, so good. That was exactly how life is supposed to feel like. I bought a beer for 55 sek (that’s a lot) because I thought I deserved it. I haven’t had that many beers in my life, but that was the first one where I understood why people like them after skiing and such. Holy shit it was good. But enough about that.
At 7, we gathered for the pricegiving ceremony. The right guy won, and I came in 13th. 13th. What. I still have a hard time understanding that. 13th out of about 115 (I think) of Scandinavias best freeriders. Needless to say, I’m happy about it.
Then there was the banquet and the afterparty, and that was obviously fun as well.
Now I’m back in Umeå, on my balcony in the heat. It’s so warm it’s almost painful for a winter type guy myself. But I need some vitamin D on the rest of my body, not just my lower face, were the goggles don’t cover the skin.
I’ll post a few more pics soon, took about 250.
Some days, everything makes a bit more sense than usual. When the meaning of life isn’t a hard question to answer. When nothing feels impossible, and that the world is yours. These are the days when your choices in life are confirmed. When you wonder why you would ever do something else.
These last two days have been like that. Riding with food friends, pushing boundries, having a blast. It’s the essence of skiing. That means it’s the essence of life, sort of.
Saturday wasn’t perfect weather wise, but still awesome. Yesterday was full on bluebird, so incredibly amazing. Hiked up Nordals twice, and checked out the lines for the competition tomorrow. If the weather co-operates, there will most certainly be crazy things happening on that face.
Today when I woke up, all I could see out of the window was white. Went back to sleep for a bit, and when I got up, it was snowing hard. So no need to stress to go skiing today.
Posted pics yesterday.
Haven’t been in the same place for very long these last few weeks. I like it. Right now I’m on my way to the city of Luleå, and then off to Riksgränsen tomorrow! So excited!
However, I might starve to death before I arrived tonight. Didn’t really have a whole lot to eat this morning, because the fridge was somewhat empty.
I feel like I’m always going somewhere. I haven’t had more than 7 days in the same place since probably February. It’s actually exactly how I want it to be.
Last Thursday afternoon, I drove to Åre. One of the more spontaneous trips I’ve done. It was final that I could actually go the day before, and nothing was planned ahead.
Åre was, in short, a very good time. I’m not actually sure how to explain it all, but it was amazing. Skiing was really fun, and I hung out with a lot of very nice people. I don’t know what it is, but both of the times I’ve been in Åre this season, people have been nicer than in other places. Very tankful for everything.
Normally, I’d just let the pictures speak, but for some reason, I didn’t rally take any.
Tomorrow I’m off again, going home to Tärnaby. Even though the lifts closed almost three weeks ago, the last event of the season will be held this weekend. Tärnaby Spring Break Session. Essentially hanging out in the park and shredding slush. They rebuilt the entire park, and built the biggest jump to ever cast its shadow over my home resort. It’s insane, I’m a bit nervous. And then Trainspotters are playing on Saturday, I’m super excited for that!
Also this blog is now sort of just what I’ve been doing and what I’m doing next. Not very creative. Hopefully I’ll figure out some fun way to fix that.
So I was in Åre for a week. It was, as I like to phrase it, fun times. I took the ski instructor level 1 course. The skiing part of it might not have been very new to me, but the teaching and educational parts were great new knowledge. Can’t wait to do the rest of the levels.
Met a lot of nice people in Åre, and again, had a lot of fun. Skiing and the stuff around it really is the way to live. And a ski instructors degree is a very good way to get a chance to live that life.
Then I was back in Umeå for school. Went to school on Monday and Tuesday, and it was quite weird. I’d sort of forgotten how school works, again.
Then I was off again, home bound. Some work and the freeride competition Ride The Cow awaited. Tried some new skis, the Nordica El Capo, a new addition to the Nordica line up for 13/14. It sort of replaces the Girish. Very good set of sticks, stable like nothing else, but still maneuverable and easy.
The competition was actually sort of canceled due to bad weather and bad snowconditions in the venue. I say sort of, because we did compete after all. On day one, we had a bash in the ski cross course. On day two we had a freeride competition on a “face” inside the system. It’s an unprepared slope, with a little natural halfpipe formation in it. People put their sending it gear on, and the level of skiing was very high. Super fun.
Friend of mine won, and another one (http://pontuzlr.tumblr.com) came in third. Amazing skiing from both of them. As far as my skiing goes, I skied my line wich I was stoked about, but didn’t have enough tricks and/or showed enough “skidglädje” (untranslatable) to make it high in the results. But it was fun.
Then there was the banquet and the after party, and it was, in short, shenanagins. Very fun times.
As usual I have a lot of pics, and as I usual I’ll put them up in a bit.