The roots of street riding run deep in Scandinavia, and some of the all-time sickest riders call this part of the world their home. It’s considerably flatter, colder, and snowier than most of Europe, so stepping out onto the snowy streets has become a more convenient way of snowboarding and, thus, part of the Scandinavians’ snowboarding identity. However, Scandi’s are a humble kind, and taking up the space they deserve doesn’t always come naturally.
After a couple of years of hiatus in the Scandinavia Street Snowboarding event scene, Scandinavian Street riders Ylfa Rúnarsdóttir (Iceland) and Maria Thomsen (Denmark) thought it was time to kick things off again by introducing SNUS (Scandinavian Nations Urban Snowboarding) a snowboard event to help elevate Scandinavian riders.
Motivated by the urge to create something that wasn’t there when they started riding, both Ylfa and Maria felt that they had to leave their home countries to pursue a career in street snowboarding to find the hype and recognition they were looking for.
“For me, snowboarding started with riding behind my house, hitting little stairs and stuff. In Iceland, we didn’t have any snow parks, or if there was one at the hill, it was built by the people riding there.” With the lack of snowboarding possibilities in Iceland, Ylfa jumped over the pond to follow her Icelandic idols, Halldor and Eiki Helgasson, to Sweden.
Maria took an even bigger leap and moved to Canada to pursue her dream, “In Denmark, we don’t have any mountains or snowdomes, so I discovered snowboarding on a trip to Canada when I was 19. My friends there opened my eyes to street riding, and I loved the creativity and reward for the hard work that goes into it. Since I started snowboarding in Canada and made it my home, I wasn't close to the Scandinavian snowboarding community. With this event, I would like to be more involved with the Scandinavian community and get back to my roots.”
By introducing SNUS, Ylfa and Maria hope to draw people’s attention towards Scandinavian Street riders and help create the same hype around it in Scandinavia as in North America. “The US get more recognition and support, so it’s easier to get overseen in Scandinavia. We want to shine a light on the sick riders here, show them that people care and build a stronger community, which is one of the reasons I fell in love with snowboarding. I think it is a key element in our culture. The better the community is, and the more supported you feel, the more people will be attracted to join and more likely to keep doing it,” Maria explains.
The aim is to encourage and inspire people to take on street riding and increase the number of street riding events in Scandinavia and Europe, which would help create a more extensive community around it. “Street riders are usually separated in the groups they film in (unlike the contest scene that usually travels to the same events to compete), so having events that bring in street snowboarders together is a great way to celebrate and build connections between them,” Maria explains.
“For people in the Scandinavian countries, street snowboarding is the most accessible. It doesn't need to be scary or gnarly,” Ylfa says and continues to explain how she hopes this event would bring together the younger generation of street riders and help them find new friends to go out and film and have fun with.
We want to shine a light on the sick riders here, show them that people care and build a stronger community, which is one of the reasons I fell in love with snowboarding. I think it is a key element in our culture.
The two-day event takes place in Stockholm, Hammarbybacken, December 8-9, and kicks off Friday afternoon at 4 PM with the Open Call, where the public is invited to ride the course. The male and female winners of the Open Rail Jam will then continue to the Invited Riders SNUS Rail Jam on Saturday. To further help shine a light on Scandinavian talent, the SNUS Award (the best Scandinavian snowboard edit dropped this pre-season) will also be announced later that day at the Burton Stockholm Flagship Store. The Friday night shenanigans continue with an afterparty at the Mexican restaurant, La Olita, from 11 PM until late.
Saturday gets going with the Royalty Rail Jam: a bunch of old-school Scandi riders jamming and riding together, giving everyone a chance to chat with their childhood idols. This is followed by the invited riders SNUS Rail Jam, and will, quoting Ylfa, “probably be fucking crazy because we’ve got amazing riders coming out.” – and with over 40 confirmed male and female Scandi riders (Fridge, Henna Ikola, Nils Arvidsson, Hundi, Len Roald Jorgensen, Roope Rautiainen, Karoliina Rehnberg and many more), there’s no doubt about it.
Scandinavian Nations Urban Snowboarding
Putting together an event is hard work, and it’s kept the ladies busy for the best part of the pre-season. However, the help they’ve gotten from their sponsors (Burton, Analog, Method Mag, Scandinavian Shapers, Skistar) has made it all run a bit smoother.
“It’s hard when you’re used to being a rider, and then you have to think about the logistics and stuff like that,” Maria explains. “But it’s been fun too, especially to see how excited everyone is. I think that’s the best part of it, to see how stoked everyone is,” she adds with a smile.
“I think we can see what we wish was there when we came up. We can see what could have helped us on our way, and hopefully, this can be that to someone else, like someone who is coming up and filming sick shit but feels like nobody gives a shit.” Ylfa explains and continues to add, “Hopefully, they know that at least we give a shit; I give many shits about the Scandinavian scene.”
“We’re all gathering to celebrate snowboarding. We don’t want this to be a contest because we don’t think snowboarding needs more contests; we need to bring back the community vibe and have fun.” Ylfa explains.
Maybe, snowboarding needs to take a step back to go forward again…