This might be one of the lesser-known Russian traditions, but the Bunch soon learned that Russian men would often challenge strangers to an impromptu arm wrestle. It’s never cool to shirk a challenge, especially from a Russian sniper, who Hackel said was “bragging about his military exploits”!
Abner (Wabs) Wyman: “On the record, I would like it to be known that I have never turned down A arm-wrestling match in my entire life. So anybody who wants the diesel including anybody at Newschoolers or anybody reading this or any psycho camo pants wearing, a bald head having ruski I welcome the challenge. Champ wise I think it started on the second or first train where we accepted a challenge from a couple of Ruski squids who happened to be rolling with a (Russian) world-class boxer or fighter or some shit. The man had meat cleaver-sized hands and a posse of gambling, vodka drinking, late-night train car riders with him. Smoked everyone (including the beast) with ease, believe he beat Gustav and Peybs 2 on 1 for the last match. The man was a f*cking certified champ. Walked out of there with a few more Rubels and American Dollars than he walked in with. I didn't realize arm wrestling was the ruskidoodle train thing to do until our second journey ( a 40-hour train ride to Sochi) and it's not even noon yet when a peanut eating peva drinking Russian ex-military sniper starts giving me the international arm-wrestling gesture from across the car. I of course accept the challenge and proceed to give him these good old fashioned USA pipes. Before or after he's telling me how many people he's killed I can't remember. We went 1 for 1 for anybody who's keeping count, then Magnus stepped to Mr Russlan as we came to know him, and smoked him twice. Making him the champ for the rest of the trip, and securing his well-earned and deserved title as the "Rese Leaderer". Cheers to Skiman he's a strong mf I will say. Sadly for Magnus when the last night of the entire Russia trip finally came he was on the losing side of a monster left paw from Alvdalen. Kimbo pulled up and smoked the entire crew champ included. With a pectoral major injury. In about 5 mins. the beast wasn't there but I honestly don't think he even stands a chance. Cheers to the Champ!”
Pär ‘Peyben’ Hägglund: “It seems like it’s in their DNA and it is a fantastic string of DNA if you ask me. I’ve probably never seen Wabs as fired up as he was when 6 pivas deep on an empty stomach on a 48-hour train trying to pump up Krypto to win a match against a professional boxer!”
Nilla: “Skiman brought his Jokkmokkian strengths all the way to the slums of Russia and came out on top.
There was only one tough Russian competitor, The MMA fighter. But ngl there was something fishy going on with that dude. Something to do with a double grip under the table.
Russland didn't kill nobody, but there was a few veeeery close calls. Not naming names but I would say 50 percent of the crew should thank their lucky star to have gotten out of Russia alive.
There were plenty of illegal activities on the train but nobody got kicked out, that's just how it goes in Russia.
Cash bets? Most definitely. F*ckin' degenerate gamblers...
DAVAI DAVAI DAVAI!”
Hackel: “It was crazy, we travelled throughout Russia by train and soon realized that it is a normal thing to be challenged to arm wrestle while sitting in the restaurant cart. At first, I thought it was just a one-time occasion but after the third time, we were challenged I started to realize it was a common thing. The gang arm-wrestled a professional boxer ( He was like 6"8) and a sniper on his way to the western border to rejoin his post at the military. Needless to say, the gang stood no chance against the competition.”
Magnus: “This ex-Russian military challenged us to an arm wrestle. It quickly became a big arm wrestle party. Arm wrestling and drinking beer after 50 hours on the train really gets your adrenaline going. It quickly became pretty crazy in the train cart.”
The producer and the “Megalodon”?
If you wait until the credits roll on ITFMS, you’ll see that Pär ‘Peyben’ Hägglund was busier than most! Credited as a director, writer, producer, director of photography, cinematography, music supervisor and eventually a skier. Peyben had to cart quite a bit of equipment around with him. His enormous/heavy backpack —that weighed around 50kg— was christened; ‘The Megeladon’.
Wabs: “Here's what you need to know about "Peybs and the Megladon". I'll go two parts, we'll start with Peybs and then talk about "the don". I call Peybs a couple of loving names, "The Producer" the "Composition Nazi", " Mr Major" whatever it is, he's passionate about creating the absolute most premium, endorphin-releasing, brain-stimulating, just all around a pleasure on the eyes shots. The thing with these shots is it takes a keen eye and an even keener vision to know when you gotta stop the whole gang, bust out the camera, tripod, mic, direct the homies and roll the tape! That's when you start to notice just exactly megla this don is. Like you've been standing there for 15 mins at the end of the day on the ski home and we're just now screwing the long lens on?? Ok so you've got the glide cam, the long lens, the short lens, the battery fucking holder thing the tripod all this shit and no room for like normal ski gear maybe extra pair of gloves? or some water? food? Normal things you take on a Lil trip. So that's the Don for ya. The most outrageously heavy bag I've ever seen. Quotes include " THE DON'S COMIN OFF" "DON'S GOIN ON" "I'M BUSTIN OUT THE DON" "DUDE THE DON IS SO F*CKING HEAVY" "THE DON'S ON BABY, THE DON'S ON"
Peyben: “It’s an absolutely fantastic combo and if you ask Wabs it’s probably the only thing around worth waiting for.”
Hackel: “Peyben & The Megalodon is a love story for the ages. Quite frankly I should feel bad for Peyben that he has to lug around the Megalodon (His Camera Bag) everywhere but he is so damn stubborn he never complains. So, in the end, makes you feel bad about yourself because you just went for a one-hour ski tour and you are exhausted then you look to your right and there is Peyben with the 70-pound Megalodon who is not even looking phased.”
Magnus: “I didn't hear a single complaint about the megalodon during the whole season.”
Nilla: “Any given day between 50 and 100 kgs. Peyben loves to hate the Megaladon!”
Krypto’s Transfer In Norway
For many, the highlight from the movie has to be Krypto’s transfer from a “sticky rail, above head height” over an “extended human” gap to “crooked 40-50 foot rail”. Hackel says “We got four shots that day. Three were within daylight on the shortest day of the year, then Krypto’s was after dark. The clip is amazing but it's just one of those things that was even gnarlier in person.”
Magnus: "We had been joking about this spot all trip saying that it would be the jib of the year. I never thought we were going to hit it but at the same time, I felt so eager to do so. I really feel like we manifested it. Last day of the trip we pull up to a zone joking about (manifesting) getting 4 shots on 4 different spots with 4 hours of daylight. After the third shots were in the bag me and Krypto started to session the transfer. I quickly realized that doing the transfer was way too technical and the risk was crazy high. Krypto is not normal and keeps skiing. The stars aligned and the Jib of The F*cking year was in the bag. By far the craziest sh*t I have ever seen on a pair of skis."
Hackel: “Krypto is a psycho. We hit a bunch of spots at the Olympic stadium they have in Lillehammer this past year. We were there spot-checking and Magnus as a joke pointed to this transfer and said "Jib of the Year". The gang can be famous for having crazy visions while spot-checking so I chalked it up as one of those. Fast forward 5 days and it was the last day of the trip before going home. We showed up to the stadium and I did the transfer from the top rail through the hole to down rail that was in my real ski. Then Magnus did the wallie backflip and Kim did the flat rail to gap to bleachers. It was the shortest day of the year so it was a miracle that we managed to get those clips all in daylight. There were about 40 minutes left of daylight and I see Krypto standing at the in run for the "Jib of the Year". He starts feeling out the spot. The light goes dark and we set up our lamps. I didn't believe this spot was possible I thought for sure that it was a deathwish and after we were so close to ending an amazing trip that I seriously thought about trying to talk Krypto out of it. Luckily for everyone, I didn't open my mouth and 9 tries after he fully committed Krypto walked away with what is to this day the craziest trick I have ever seen.”
Kim Boberg:“Krypto is a savage. Definitely one of the wildest things I’ve witnessed in person. The downrail itself would be a heater, but to pull up and do the transfer to it is out of this world.
What a guy. What a clip.”
Peyben: JIB OF THE YEAR! Period.
As the world was falling into chaos, because of some global pandemic, The Bunch were settling into life in an old army tent in the Swedish wilderness. What was it like living a tent at the edge of the world?
Peyben: Luxury, straight up. Shit weather but luxurious times!
Just a quick warning, if you spend 2 weeks in a tent with 90% flat light you’re going to go crazy.
Magnus: "10 out of 14 days were complete whiteout. It's insane how few impressions you get when you live in a huge white space with a tent in the middle. Peyben was building igloos for 4 days straight. Wabs was awake for 4 days straight. Hugo left after the first night. On the first night the tent broke at 04.00 am so we have to step outside in the storm and fix it. The following nights I slept with a constant worry as the winds keep getting stronger. There was a "We're going insane" vibe to this experience. It was the most memorable time of last year for all of us and even though the weather was tough we got some of the very key shots for the film."
Nilla: Wabs, most definitely Wabs.
No sh*tty weather, just pure Barren beauty.
YES, YES, YES, YES everybody except Tuvan, that guy got his sh*t together.Credit: Alric Ljunhager