The Arctic Challenge by Oakley Battles Mother Nature
The largest snow storm in 50 years hit Scandinavia this week and dumped over 2 meters of fresh powder in Oslo; the host city of this years 10 meter quarter pipe (the beast). Not only were we at war with the snow storm, the temperatures were averaging a frigid 20 degrees with a dry bitter wind. All these factors add up to a rock hard quarter pipe and dangerous riding conditions. But the determination of the TAC staff and flexible mindset of the riders helped The 2006 Arctic Challenge by Oakley bring snowboarding to the masses. The event was held in a new location this year called Midtstuen, located next to the famous Holmenkollen ski jump, which was a perfect fit for the event since the winter sport tradition is a way of life in this community.
Day One: March 1st
Due to the massive dump in Oslo the QP wasn’t ready for the world class riders. So Terje Haakonsen, founder and owner of The Arctic Challenge, and Oakley athlete for over 15 years held a meeting and sent the riders on an assault of downtown Oslo. Everyone split up into groups to search out and snowboard all of the fresh powder in town. A photo contest was held in order to capture all of the action. To see images from the photo contest, go to www.tacky.no.
Day Two: March 2nd
We were under the spell of Mother Nature. Even with the falling snow and the strong winds, the conditions couldn’t keep the competitors from riding the 10 meter beast. The riders were getting used to the steep drop and glacial ice transition. With the arctic temperatures the wall of the quarter pipe wouldn’t warm up and give the riders a chance to really push their limits. As qualifiers made its way through the 2nd runs a hard fall by Jody Koenders from Holland cut the session short and sent the riders home to rest up for the finals day.
Day Three: March 3rd
The sun finally came out and it was time for the semi’s and finals. The riders were really dialing in the QP and it was time to throw down. Terje, Travis Rice, Nico Muller, Sammy Luebke, and JJ Thomas were all representing the O with stylish tricks.
But the true masters of transition, Terje Haakonsen and Andy Finch, were riding above all the others. The amplitude was rising and the crowd was filling in. When the semi finals started, the crowd was a mere 100. At the start of the finals 1000 spectators were on hand to cheer their favorite snowboarders to victory. But a new name in snowboarding rose to the occasion. Norwegian Henning Martinson came all the way from the qualifiers to make the super final, and in the end beat all the previous TAC QP winners. His best trick Backside 900, and solid airs crowned him the winner of "The Arctic Challenge by Oakley" quarter pipe.
Oakley’s Director of Europe, Scott Lewis, said this about the event: "The cool, the camaraderie and the spirit of progression at The Arctic Challenge is a buzz to be around. The event reaches people at different levels – physically in the riding, environmentally in the location, and socially in the objective. TAC is a vision, and last weekend laid down that vision perfectly. I hope the riders enjoyed it as much as the fans."
Results: (Oakley Athletes in Red)
Henning Marthinsen – $15,000
Terje Hakonsen – $7,000
Andy Finch – $4,000
Best trick: Henning Marthinsen BS 900 – $3,000
Highest air: Andy Finch 5,7 meter – $3,000