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Arctic Challenge 2000
Terje Haakonsen

Arctic Challenge 2000
Bjorn Leines
Arctic Challenge 2000
Lofoten, Norway
10-16 APR 2000

It's not too often that I get to write about some of my experiences travelling and snowboarding, and this experience is well worthy. You are about to get a glimpse into the lives of the elite snowboard community that was invited to Norway for the Arctic Challenge 2000. An experience that was full of sick riding, great people, blue skies, fishing, surfing, skating and relaxation. Basically, any snowboarder's dream.

At this year's U.S. Open I was fortunate enough to ride with Terje. We both snaked runs through the pipe in between jam sessions to add to the power that was surrounding the best pipe that has ever been built. On one of our lift rides up he told me about his and Daniel Franck's plan to have an event in Norway. I had heard about it the year before and had wanted to go so bad. I vibed Terje a huge energy ball, he felt my enthusiasm and said, "I think I got some spots open." The next day I found out I was going...YEE- HA!

The week before I left I met the girl of my dreams, so we met up in Oslo after crossing 11 time zones, and from there we caught two more flights and finally ended up in the a tiny airport in Lofoten. It's an ancient Viking fishing island 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle off the coast of Norway. From there we joined forces with a bunch of others and hit the road by van to an undisclosed location. At this point most of us had been travelling from various places on the planet for 20 hours or more and were suffering from delirium and hunger. A half-hour later, at midnight, the last 10 of us ended up at an ancient Viking chef's house, which is now a museum. I'm assuming the rest of the travelers were feeling the overtired psychedelic effects I was, which helped intensify the opening ceremony. I walked through the huge wood and cast iron doors into a smoke-filled room with photographers and riders dressed in gray robes sitting at tables facing an open fire. As I peered further I could see Terje and Daniel sitting at the helm. I sat amongst the other Vikings and joined in the festivities that ensued. The food, wine, singing, and dancing were almost too much. Late that night our arrival at a set of small red cabins in Stamsond was marked.

The next morning I realized the beauty of our surroundings. Our cabins, set on stilts above the ever-changing tides of the Arctic ocean, were surrounded by a fresh dose of Mother Earth's power. The rumors that I had heard of a fishy stench were more than accurate. Thousands of drying fish made it easy to see how the local people survived. Past the industry of buildings and boats one could peer across the sea to gaze upon the mass power that constantly shifting tectonic plates will create; thousands of vertical feet of solid rock jet straight out of the ocean to display the most spectacular view I've ever seen.

The event was held at a tiny resort set alongside the ocean with a T-bar to access the top. I just about lost my shit when I saw what we were offered to ride — a monster 17-foot halfpipe with a hip leading into it and a quarter pipe that nobody had ever seen the likes of. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon so everyone sessioned the pipe. The right wall was super icy so I spent most of my time playing on the hip which was in the sun. When working a jump with a pipe wall as the landing transition, there is no room for error. Roman De Marchi did a few backside fives and almost completely missed the pipe tranny. Going eight feet off the top of the hip and falling another 15 feet to the flat bottom is no small feat to walk away from.

Marius Sommer, Iker Fernandez, Marco Coski, Bjorn Leines, Ann Molin Kongsgaard, and Terje were some the few who rode the pipe with skill and power. The two that really stood above the rest were Terje and Marius Sommer. Unfortunately, Marius was injured on the qualifying day. I heard he stomped a super smooth backside seven and rode across the flat bottom with a bit of momentum trying to revert him. SLAM! He went down hard; it was serious and surgery was needed. I found myself getting kind of bummed that I wasn't riding as well as I knew I could and started to lose my focus. Luckily I caught myself and absorbed into the tremendous beauty of the area. The whole scene changed and I felt as if I was on another planet. Just goes to show that no matter where you are, sometimes you've got to stop and take a look around to find a piece of mind.

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