There are somethings in life that are destined for each other – chocolate and peanut butter, motorcycles and black leather, Hall and Oates – and especially extreme sports and rad music. Thus began our journey to the inaugural World Snowboarding Championships in Oslo, Norway. With Andrew W.K. appointed as official Rock ‘n’ Roll Ambassador to the cause and the promise of some epic gigs at a pop-up version of our fave NYC venue Santos Party House, my fellow music journos and I bundled up and boarded a flight to the land of Vikings and all things Metal. Yup – kicking it with world class athletes with sun and snow (and bruises) during the daylight hours, and a crash course in hardcore (more bruises) at night. What transpired was so awesome it’s still kind of hard to wrap my head around – and hard to believe we have to wait 4 years until the next one!
Let’s try and break it down:
A) The fact that there aren’t any contemporary world class snowboarding competitions is a clear indicator that the sport still, after all these years, has maintained outsider status. How can something so legit still be seen as so rebellious? I mean even ice dancing has world championships. If anything was made apparent from the trip, snowboarding’s red headed step child reputation will never be shaken, and these riders are fine with that.
B) Planning for the WSC started all the way back in 2007. The cool thing about the Tryvann Vinterpark is that it’s within the Oslo city limits, and the goal was for everybody to benefit from the brand spankin’ new facilities. Where else can you take public transport from downtown of a major metropolitan city straight up a mountain? That also means there was a ton of red tape to get through too. So basically TTR bent over backwards for half a decade pulling the event off, and us scruffy American journos showed up in time for a champagne toast with the mayor and a private concert in the epic Oslo City Hall (where they hold the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony). WIN.
Here is our chat with Henning Andersen. By day he’s the CEO of the WSC that always makes time to ride. By night he’s a killer bassist and founding member of the WSC Band.
B) Rather than spend countless hours with legal teams licensing the soundtrack for the event, why not recruit a friend (in this case Mr. Party Hard Andrew WK himself, on the even of his I Get Wet 10th Anniversary tour), form a supergroup, and compose your own damn themesong? How punk rock is that? I KNOW. So Andrew WK and the WSC Band – featuring members of Gluecifer, Team Me, Dunderbeist, and the event’s own CEO Henning Andersen – came up with not one but two themesongs: “My Time” and “Go Go Go Go.”
Check out Andrew W.K. & the WSC Band play “Go Go Go Go” LIVE at Santos Party House (Vulkan) in Oslo.
C) The WSC put their Rock ‘n’ Roll Ambassador to work and had Andrew open a guerilla version of his world renowned venue Santos Party House in the city, and each night was packed with once in a lifetime gigs. A reconfigured Turbonegro made their long waited return, and Dropkick Murphys put off returning home in order to play. Perhaps my favorite? A riptastic set by Kvelertak, which literally translates as “choke hold” in English. I don’t care if you’re not a metal fan. Any band that is self described as “Brutally catchy punkrock/metal with a taste of groovy darkness!” is for the masses.
This is Cherie Lily. Not only is she the most FABULOUS trainer of all time, she also has perhaps the greatest origin story (we’re talking HUMBLE) beginnings to her career as a competitive snowboarder. AMAZING.
D) At the end of it all, it really does make sense that this extreme event was born, bred and fed in Norway. The people are as warm and outgoing as the weather is effing cold. Every where you turn you’re met with ancient traditions (castle ruins, the Viking Ship complex) coupled with progressive arts and culture – I’m counting down the days until the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art museum opens. I mean, the city’s most luxurious hotel is being constructed next door to that place, and someone told me it’s where they used to hang convicts in ancient times. BAD. ASS.
So with that in mind I would like to thank with unmost reverence the city of Oslo and the WSC. Counting down the days til I go back, and I really hope it’s before 2016. Learn all about visiting Norway here. Much love to The Syndicate gentlemen for orchestrating our trip (and putting up with our shenanigans).