Words & photos by Kyle Meyr
much beats the feeling you get walking through the summer heat with your skis
slung over your shoulder. Turned heads and cocked brows fuel the excitement as
you drag your poles in smug anticipation towards the greatest week of your
life. You’re going to the glacier.
Micky slays the jump line with a cork 720 tail grab.
skiing marks the pinnacle of progression in our sport. Soft landings, perfect
parks, and warm vibes beckon for that extra 180 or a tweak of a grab. It’s an
experience those who’ve lived it would do anything to live again and those who
haven’t drool over, but a rare one for us outside of the
Americas. When newschoolers across the pond are slaying slush and sun, we’re
stuck with our eyes glued to our computers waiting for the newest edits and
articles from the camps. “A camper corks a 540 at Momentum”… “Line Traveling
Circus rocks Windells”… It’s about time Europe was put on the map! That’s where
What! Summer Camp comes into play.
Victoria held it down for the women; always the first one up and the last one riding for both sessions.
The Folgefonna glacier is a Mecca
for skiers throughout Europe. Sculpted every year by renowned shaper Emil
Fossheim and the Mushroom Crew, Folgefonna is the epitome of perfection for any
skier trapped at home by the summer months. The glacier is complemented by the
most beautiful scenery one could ask for only found in the depths of the most alluring
corner of the Earth. It’s heaven on Earth and it beckons to be ravished by us
Campers eye up a diving board over the fjord.
Co-Founders David Kantermo and Henrik Windstedt personally tend to the welfare of the park.
2008 Freeride World Champion
Henrik Windstedt and Norwegian Freestyle Team Head Coach David Kantermo sought
to make the experience more accessible by creating What! Summer Camp. “We wanted to make it as free as possible,” said
David Kantermo. “You can do the freeride thing the whole week or you can grab a
coach when you want.” “It’s a place where you can eat tons of sugar and go
bananas,” continued Henrik Windstedt. Henrik went on to describe how much he
always enjoys coming to the Folgefonna glacier himself and how he wanted to
share that experience.
The football tournament gave campers and counselors a chance to enjoy time off the snow.
However, with glacial weather
habits in mind, Henrik and David decided it was important to make the camp just
as fun on days where skiing wasn’t an option. On the one day of the week that this
was the case, they more than proved their point. With multiple trampolines, two
xbox areas, a miniramp, and a summer setup to drool over, the campers were
occupied the entire day with smiles from ear to ear. As if that wasn’t enough,
within walking distance are the most righteous amenities one could ever dream
of. A beach volley ball court with a view worthy of a postcard, a football
field home to one of the most intense competitions of the week and water ramps
that saw more doubles than a nearsighted drunk.
Kalle shreds his way to victory during the summer set-up competition.
David helps a camper perfect his backflips on the waterramps.
Atte tricks on the gymnastics trampoline with campers looking on from the airbag.
Sig tries in vain to backflip a snow racer off the water ramp.
Niklas serves up a storm at the volley ball tournament.
But it was when the weather
decided to cooperate that the camp really shined. Breakfast at 08.00 and up on
the glacier by 10.00, the campers got their money’s worth and more with obscene
amounts of shred. Emil Fossheim had the park shaped better than Latin ass and
the sun guided the clouds astray by the mornings’ end to reveal paradise.
The three-hit line at the bottom of the glacier is a great place to show off.
A camper grabs tail on the final jump on the glacier.
Fueled by perfection and copious
amounts of Red Bull, the campers lapped the park until closing time every day
only taking breaks for lunch and to share stories or exercise bragging rights from
landing new tricks. The week saw a blizzard of excitement harnessed by the
councilors and released by the campers in a frenzy of slides, flips and spins.
It was all out war as campers of all levels where putting new tricks to their
feet. From grabs to corks, rails to doubles, the world-class coaches Sig Tveit,
Niklas Eriksson and Klaus Finne were joined on slope by David and Henrik
themselves to help the campers step their game up.
Sig Tveit 270's onto the first rail of the rail line.
A camper shreds the rail line at the top of the glacier.
Backflips were in full effect on the progression kicker built exclusively for the campers.
Atte flatspins the progression kicker.
The campers even got a chance to
ride with the guys from Field Productions as they made an appearance on the
glacier to warm up for a shoot. Watching the likes of Kim Boberg, Aleksander
Aurdal, Anders Backe and the “Pretzel Man” himself, Tom Wallisch, lap the park
amongst them stoked the riders beyond belief to push themselves beyond their
The week was capped off with the
“Harbor Huckfest”, a collection of the camp’s most daring riders being winched
into a jump that goes straight off the pier in the town of Jondal. The riders
were towed into the jump at the mercy of Henrik himself to throw flips, spins
and dives to their heart’s content as the locals and the rest of the campers
cheered. It was a wildly imaginative end to a week no one will forget.
Henrik cranks up the winch as a camper heads straight for the fjord.
A camper lies tired and inspired after a long day on the glacier.
Thanks to Henrik and Tove for making the camp possible.
After just two years of
existence, What! Summer Camp is
finally putting Norwegian summer skiing on the map. It’s a step towards
eliminating the exclusivity of summer skiing and an invitation for anyone
looking to slide some soft snow to escape the dry summer months on the
Folgefonna glacier. It’s the opportunity Europe has been dreaming of;
unhindered, unseasonal progression in the sport we love.
For more information on What! Summer Camp, check out http://www.whatcamps.com.