Thursday, April 18, 2024

Hump Day With Erika Vikander

Originally posted April 2018
By Mike Estes
As I begin to write about Erika Vikander the words ‘Girl Next Door’ type keep popping in my head. I took notice to her snowboarding through the social media account @mthoodmeadowsparks on Instagram. She clearly isn’t afraid of rails and jumps. After watching her podium both events at ReVegetate I knew she is a talent to be noticed. So pour yourself a cup of joe, sit back, and meet the ‘Viking’ snowboarder.

ME: Can you tell us how you discovered snowboarding? 

EV: I grew up skiing in Montana, my cool cousin came to town one time and showed me the joys of snowboarding, and then when my older brother switched to snowboarding, I had to follow suit and boot haha

Erika at the Big Wave Challenge. Photo by Richard Hallman

Do you own a denim onesie? 

I do not. But i’m seriously considering getting one after watching my friend Rachel crush all of the after parties on the Freeride World Tour circuit this year.

How many gallons of coffee do you consume weekly? 
Oh my god. We shouldn’t even go there haha. Lets just say a lot more than your average person…. still looking for that coffee sponsor 😉

Your approach to challenging events is impressive. Do you have any pre-event anxiety? 
Thanks! I usually just zone out and listen to music. I visualize a lot and remind myself that I am here to have FUN. Thats what snowboarding is about and you can’t take it too seriously, even when you are doing gnarly stuff. But I am human and definitely want to pass out and throw up before dropping into most of the venues on tour lol
When you won “Rookie of the Year” on the Freeride tour, where you expecting that? 
I was definitely not expecting that at all. Honesty, I wasn’t really that impressed with my riding this season. I was definitely being very conservative during my FWT runs and I know I can do a lot more. However there is a very different risk when it comes to these contests with only visual inspection (meaning you never ride it before your actual run, so you have to be 100 percent confident you know where you are, which is much easier said than done.) Not to mention if you take a wrong turn on many of these venues you are in serious life threatening danger. So with that in mind I felt I was riding at about 80% so I’m super stoked to not only have won Rookie of the Year but also re-qualify for the tour next season.

You stood on a lot of podiums this year, which one will be the most remembered? 

Thats such a tough one, I did a lot of awesome events this year, but I think the most prestigious one had to be the Japan stop of the Freeride World Tour where I took 2nd place after tomahawking down the whole mountain the day before, and of course being Rookie of the Year at the Verbier Xtreme finals. To be standing at the bottom of the “Bec de Rosses” amongst some true legends of the sport and having a huge crowd cheering was pretty amazing.
On a more fun note I always love events like the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge, the Layback Weekend, and ReVegetate which are style contests hosted by some of my snowboarding idols so its amazing to stand on top of those podiums amongst my peers and in so many different categories of events.
Tell us about your travels to Japan this year, did you trip out seeing “beer vending” machines every where? 
Trip out? No. But I definitely made it a point to get a beer every time I saw one.. I mean when in Japan right? Japan is one of those mythic places, it rivals Alaska in my opinion, especially the Hakuba area. I seriously love going there, the mayor of the city is always so welcoming and happy to have us there, the people are wonderful and the snow is some stuff straight out of your dreams. I could be totally happy if I just “missed” my flight home and had to stay there forever… 😉

How many times have you been a bridesmaid? 

I have been a bridesmaid twice.
Resorts are gearing down for the season and closing the lifts at 4 p.m. with plenty of snow left- what do you do to feed that riding urge? 
Thats why I live in Oregon. While everyone else is winding down, the glacier is still ripping! I’ll be shredding well into August and by that time i’ll be ready to head down to South America for a little pre-season pow training. So i’m doing the whole endless winter thing, but you’ll still catch me on a beach somewhere during that time… probably doing yoga with a beer in hand hahaDo you work for any of the Mt Hood Summer Camps? If offered a coaching job- would you take it? 

I used to coach at Windells when that was still a snowboard camp. I also work with this little ripper girl from Canada who travels down to spend a week with me at Timberline, its super fun to coach people that really want to learn. Makes life so much more fun and easy for everyone. I wouldn’t take a full time coaching job right now because I am a very busy girl, but I’m also open to some sessions with kids (or adults) who really want to learn!

What if a snowboard company approached you and said “we wanna give you a pro model” is that something you hope to achieve in your career? 
I definitely do, I hope to get to that point with Niche Snowboards who has been taking care of me for the last few years. I love their approach to the industry and am proud to be riding for a company as conscious as they are. But I also think that pro-models are kind of a dying thing, and companies don’t seem to be gravitating towards them as much as they did in the 90s or early 00s, especially not for women.

You are a self appointed ‘Mermaid’ and obviously care for the quality of water. Do you consider yourself an environmental advocate? 
I most definitely do. Thats why I partner with brands like Niche and Hydroflask. We can all make a difference if we spread knowledge and make reusable and eco-sustainable products known and accessible to the general consumer. Its crazy to think how wasteful the snowboarding industry is, even though we are all so in touch with nature, we are destroying it at the same time. With that in mind I try to leave as tiny of a footprint as I can everywhere I go, and spread the word to everyone I meet in a non-douchey way haha

Jibbing at Shredows. Photo: Mike Estes

You just won this last weekends ReVegetate Rail Jam, an event that was relaunched to raise awareness for the huge Eagle Creek Fire. Should events have a “bigger cause” or do you think it gets lost in translation? 

Why not have a bigger cause? I always feel good when I do a contest and the entry fee is being donated to a good cause like the Gerry Lopez Big Wave raising money for a friend, or ReVegetate with their goal to raise awareness for the Eagle Creek fire which directly impacted my life and many others in the area. I think if the industry is smart we need to catch on to the way that people, and big out of industry sponsors would hop on board to help support a cause that they can get behind and bring to a broader audience which equals better events and more money coming into the snowboarding industry.

Which event this season was the funniest? Which one stressed you out the most? 

I think the Revegetate Rail jam was the funniest. I remember thinking to myself WTF are you doing up here, you haven’t hit a rail in like 4 months and have not even thought about sliding on metal all season because I was so hyper focused on the big mountain events. Needless to say i’m stoked that riding rails is like riding a bike… kinda.
The first stop of the FWT at Kicking Horse Canada definitely was the most stressful. Being a rookie and this being the first event, I had a lot of pressure riding on my debut event, and then my binding broke right before I dropped in. So I had a helicopter hovering above me blowing all my stuff around, an entire event waiting for me to get my shit together, and I tried to fix the strap while standing on top of a mountain, but the toe strap just ripped out again, so I dropped in without a toe strap on my back foot. Anyways that event didn’t go so well, and ended up with me tomahawking SUPER hard down half the venue. Luckily I was ok, and then took 2nd the next day at the Japan restage event thank god.

Verbier victory. Photo by Richard Hallman

Are you a morning person or a night owl? 
Both! I will outlast most on the party scene but then still probably be the first person up ready to rally in the early morning.

Do you miss riding Breckenridge? 
I do, but its not what my focus is anymore. I miss shredding park laps with the homies and not having to drive to a mountain because I lived right on there at peak 8, I could literally walk out my door to the ski slope. But I do NOT miss the scene that goes along with resorts like Breck. Its nice being in Oregon with a bunch of hard core shredders that could not care less what season your outerwear is from, or who has the newest stuff. All they care about here is Goretex which is a pretty crucial element to survival in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s never sunny in Oregon. Photo by Richard Hallman