Style, aggression and control
Lofoten Freeride is all about descending a mountainside as fluidly as possible.com petitors are judged for their aggression, choice of line, and control. There are different classes for alpine skiing, Telemark skiing and snowboarding. In all around 150 competitors from five countries compete. There is also a separate class for women’s alpine.
To ensure that all competitors start on an equal footing, no-one knows which mountain they will be skiing or boarding down until the evening prior to the competition, when it is posted on Lofoten Freeride’s website. The chosen mountain is maximum one hour from Svolvær, and competitors and spectators are all bussed to the site.
Mountains made for freeriding
The mountains of the Lofoten Islands are dramatically steep, and provide just the right sort of challenge that the world’s elite freeriders are seeking. They are also easily accessible, with the E10 highway running close by some of the most vertiginous slopes and faces. The views eastwards towards the glittering mountain peaks on the mainland, and westwards over the open sea, are an extra bonus.
Only the best
Lofoten Freeride is the only event in Northern Norway that forms part of the Norway Freeride Cup competition, a series of freeride contests taking place in winter sports locations in Norway. Freeriders who made the podium in Lofoten Freeride in previous years have taken a step up to the Freeride World Championships, and have done extremely well. This shows that the Lofoten Freeride event is helping to nurture new talent in this rapidly growing sport.
A huge draw
Will spectators come to an arena that was only announced the night before? You bet – the cars are parked for kilometres along the roadside, and packed coaches drive to the competition site. There’s a DJ at the slope, and the atmosphere is electric. Freeriding is highly watchable, and full of action and excitement for the spectators.
The event attracts a great deal of interest locally. The Lofoten Islands have a great environment for challenging and extreme sports, including mountaineering, peak tours and ice climbing, so there are plenty of local people who get involved. This includes volunteers, some of whom are studying sports and outdoor pursuits at Lofoten Folk High School.
Freeriding and the Lofoten Islands
Tough, challenging and with fantastic views – yes – but the Lofoten archipelago offers mountains to suit all levels of skill. In December and January the days are short, so skiing is only over short distances. From February to May, the islands are bathed in light, there is usually snow, and daytime temperatures are pleasant. At the very end of the season, you can even freeride in the light of the Midnight Sun.
Get all the details and see exciting pictures on Lofoten Freeride’s (www.lofotenfreeride.no ) and Destination Lofoten’s website (www.lofoten.info) , the place to find out everything else you need to know about the Lofoten Islands.