The Arctically Challenged 10th Anniversary

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10 years. 10 meters. 10 inches of new snow… it was a big year for the Oakley Arctic Challenge, celebratory in its scope and shredding wizardry, but not without challenges incurred by inclement blizzardry. You can call in the world’s best riders, but you can’t call on or off the worlds best, or in this case, worst, snow. It wasn’t even known if the finals would play out on Saturday, or if they would have to wait for the snow to clear on Sunday. Clocks were ticking, and checking accounts were being weighed. After the semi finals it was decided to move forward through the snow, and chuck chuck chuck away.

To say that the weather put a damper on things is to tread lightly, but to say that the riders rode amazingly well for the conditions is another understatement. And to say that the lovely earthlings of Oslo Norway made a good standing is another. People from all walks of earth, unearthed themselves-some donned in troll garb from the underlings-to behold what one of their countrymen has been working on for the last decade. They cheered and frolicked in the snow while Terje and company gave ’er good. No no no. Gave ’er great. Through the whiteout, the riders pointed it straight from the top and gave the crowd what they wanted to see.

The snow picked off some heavy hitters early on, including highest air winner Shayne “The Poss” Pospisil, Kevin Pearce and Mads Jonsson’s arm, so there was a wild card element to the finals that few were expecting. Terje wowed the crowd with his signature trend-setting mctwist japans, and monstrous method to indy double grabs. Oslo’s other proud son Henning Marthinsen McTwist 900’d to a grand ovation. The brothers from another Finnish mother, Risto Mattila and Antti Autti switched up their tricks every hit, from Mctwists, to methods, to inverted frontside 7s and beyond. They scored big for that diversity. Everyone’s favorite masochist, Daniel Josefson who continued to ride after smashing his face to smithereens, was finally brought out when the quarterpipe knocked him flat. Yasauyuki Momose from Japan damn near flew all the way home on one of his hits when he took a whoopty whirly to the pads. Just prior to that he slaughtered a 6.5 meter backside rodeo nose grab. Needless to say, he was a crowd favorite. Two years ago there was a little rugrat who made an appearance named Matt Ladley. This kid was chucking pretty solidly, but nobody, NOBODY could have predicted what kind of consistently impressive riding he would be doing this year. All week, he was getting more comfortable, and slaying it harder and harder each hit. In the end, the duel was between Frenchman Arthur Longo, and that whippersnapper Ladley who was a walking Pineapple Express quotation. Ladley didn’t even have a damn jacket. He was riding in some grimy run for the border drug rug thing. It was awesome. Arthur Longo had the height few could match all week. His tricks were different each time as well. While Ladley’s runs were smoother, and included greater difficulty each hit, it was Arthur’s diversity that won over the judge’s hearts.

Little McLadley, and Le Arthur going toe to toe until the last four points. It was a close battle, with Antti Autti’s ever-impressive and consistent riding rounding off the podium. The only loser today was the quarterpipe, it got the living crap beat out of it time and time again. We can only hope that it returns next year, to have a similar group of guys pillage and pound it into submission from 10 meters or so above the ground. Until then, these guys are going to be hard pressed to find a finer quarterpipe to molest.