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Terje Haakonsen Speaks to Hump Day

Where in the world is Terje? Probably somewhere like this…

Every once in great moon a true natural arises from the smoldering pile of ash which we were all plucked from. Every sport has its own pile which is filled with talent but a true natural comes out every so often. Not only is a true natural way better at every aspect of the trade then everybody else, but at the same time their moral standard within the sport is also higher. Terje decided not to take part in the first Olympics, which he was the odds on favorite to win. Instead he passed up on the gold medal, money and fame that would have come with winning this prestigious event. Why, you ask? He did not agree with the governing body, who was sanctioning the event. “We are snowboarders who should have a snowboarding governing body not a ski one,” he told me. He is not into snowboarding for the money. Not saying he didn’t get his share but he was in it for the love and the positive growth of the sport. This is my interview with Terje Haakonsen.

Russell: What’s been going on with you?

Terje: In the snowboard world, just working on freeride boards and got the Family tree quiver coming out. Not competing in freestyle contests anymore, which gives me more time to freeride or film for Burton or other projects. Football, Skate, surf, yoga and playing with my kids is really what I do. Yoga just keeps me straight so I can keep living my active lifestyle.

I know you have never done what you didn’t want. No more evident then the first Olympics.

Terje: We had a huge impact shaping the sport then somebody came in for just commercial interests. FIS did some really shady stuff to snowboarding. Growing up in Norway, traditional sports like Nordic Skiing and Alpine are huge and it was tough for action sports to get the same respect with the older generation; even though those sports are copying action sport events and style even more. For example they are adding music in the events and trying to create a younger atmosphere. But how cool can you make ski jumping?

Or maybe he’s snowboarding in NYC. Photo: Zimmerman

Have you ever done ski jumping?

Terje: Yeah, I did it I for a couple years for fun. Great feeling, but not that spectacular. The same over and over. I read about this ski jumper who was saying that he doesn’t like ski jumping he would rather just ski fly but because of the FIS. “The bitter old men run everything and there is only four ski flying events per year. Ski flying is like ski jumping but they go like 600 ft instead of 200ft. When I go to a contest I’m not there to get second so I think it is very serious.” It amazes me that so many people are sheep, they just follow whatever. The worst is they know what’s right and still just follow. Where’s the pride!!!!

Comes down to the skis . They look like snowboards.

Terje: Yeah they are kinda more rollerbladers. If you are talking about freestyle skiers, how the fuck do they call it jibbing??? Did you know that they call freestyle skiing jibbing in Europe? I don’t care what they do or dress like but don’t claim anything. You know if you can’t skate or snowboard then at least you can have fun rollerblading!!!!!

WOW HAAKON! With Craig being gone I feel you are the new father figure at Burton. How is it being in that position?

Terje: We all looked up to Craig, but I feel that everybody evolves in their own way. I remember he was only 25 when he stopped contest riding and just went backcountry, retired from the groomers. I learned more from Craig then anybody. On and off the hill. Whenever any of us had a question we would ask Craig. You know we all just miss him. I don’t think anybody will ever fill his shoes.

You can usually find him here. Legendary Banked Slalom. Photo: Zimmerman

I agree absolutely. Personally as far I have seen you are the best full mountain snowboarder . Everybody these days talks about Shaun White… Shaun is a great contest rider but as far as full big mountain rider what do you think?

Terje: Well right now as far as I’m concerned Travis Rice Is the best snowboarder in the world but people don’t know because main stream media is focused on the big contests and only relates to the results of them. Another thing about snowboard contests is there are too many organizations and too many contests. It’s actually more of a mess than boxing. The losers are the progression of the sport and the top riders. They have too many contests and don’t know which ones to enter. I think it is real tough for these contest riders. They do too many contests and get hurt because it is just too hard hard on the body. If they don’t take care of themselves they will have a short career. A lot of riders are super young and are taking direction from the wrong people. Ultimately if the riders don’t take control over their own sport It is going to keep getting pushed in the wrong direction. They will have short careers. You know its been a long time since there’s been an ad with “World Slopestyle Champion” or “World Halfpipe Champion.” It’s all because there are too many different organizations. To sum it up I believe there should be one snowboarder-run governing body with huge purses like every other major sport besides boxing.

What’s up with The Arctic Challenge? Do you spend much time in Norway?

Terje: I got kids in school there so I spend most of my time there. We started it with a big pipe and a quarter, then just tried to keep it fun. A lot people just look at snowboarding like a trampoline and just don’t have the soul. I think snowboarding was and is lifestyle, but it is a bit different now. In the 90’s we had pipe rats like Jimi Scott who only went up the hill as far as the top of the pipe.  Now people have managers and agents, coaches, trampolines and energy drinks directing them what to to do. We didn’t have that.

So you have kids now, how is it?

Terje: Well, they give you all the pleasure that kids can give you but it makes you come home. No more one way tickets, but I like it! I have a friend’s older brother who just bought a cabin at the mountain, but he has no kids. What is he gonna do just go up there and be by himself!?

You never have changed any sponsors, huh?

Terje: I have had great sponsors. They pretty much gave me freedom to do what I want

Do you ever see Ingmar?

Terje: Yeah sometimes he comes to the Arctic challenge. He’s a poker player doing real well. I see a few 90’s snowboarders. Guch still is doing it, he’s a full mountain goat. So how was Hood?

It was good. Same stuff different ballerinas!

Terje: Was there anybody snow skating? There is a hill in Oslo. When I go with the kids I snowskate. It really makes the small hills super fun again! Little things become super technical. I mean when I see pro snowboarder building jumps up to rails I think, man that reminds me of rollerblading. The reason I say that is because I have seen people ollie to rails on snowskates and also do fifteen foot kickflips. Since lift tickets are so expensive you can just grab your snowskate and go cruise in the neighborhood if it’s snowing.

One-footer in Mammoth. Photo: Posthole Productions

Wow you’re making me kinda wanna give it a try. So you gonna make it to Hood?

Terje: Noooo. I just got back from Mammoth. I think it’s the best summer resort in the world. I’m pretty much just going to play football, garden, skate and surf !

Well Haakon, as always man, it was a pleasure and I hope to shred with soon bud!

Terje: Same to you Saiborg. I hope we can do some Christ airs in the future!

Kids, trust this man. Photo: Zimmerman

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Comments (33)

  1. I wanna see soco try and make another coment….

     
  2. I liked how he just came out and said Travis Rice is the best rider in the world right now without mentioning Shaun White. Not enough credit’s given to overall skill though it looks like that’s changing.

     
  3. These 4 sentences right here sum up what snowboarding is and always will be!

    I learned more from Craig then anybody. On and off the hill. Whenever any of us had a question we would ask Craig. You know we all just miss him. I don’t think anybody will ever fill his shoes.

    As mentioned by mark in #32 reply, Travis Rice being the best rider, again I could not agree more. He Rides everything as did Craig, as does Terje.

    Great article and to Terje my utmost respect goes out to you and your family..keep up what you are doing for the sport.

     

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