Vännäs is a small village located 30 km west of Umeå in the northern parts of Sweden. Here you can find the second Swedish snowboard academy that raised riders like Hans Åhlund and Nicky Wieveg. You can also find a small hill consisting of two short lifts and two slopes. Despite the size of this resort, Vännäs has held many contests and sessions during the years. It's also been one of the few resorts in northern Europe to host a top quality half pipe.
Me, Jonas Hagström and photographer Daniel Blom went to check it out some time ago. Shaper Anders Gothnell had invited us to a season ending session and we gladly accepted. We were promised a pipe, corner and a gap kicker. As we arrived late afternoon the kicker session was already on. Photographers Peter Lundström and Anders Neuman were busy while riders like Jonas Gustavsson, Stefan Karlsson and Martin Sandberg were shredding. The kicker looked beautiful! After trying the speed me and Jonas went for it and even though there was a pretty huge gap it didn't feel scary at all. The kicker was a masterpiece, both to ride but also aesthetically. Gotte had shaped a quarter on both sides in the gap- both the landing and the take off part. We rode for a couple of hours and when the sun was gone we just wanted to keep on shredding. We figured however that we better save some muscle power for the corner session the following day.
Since the hill is so small we had to be towed in for the corner, even though it was located in the end of the slope. Gotte had shaped it perfectly and we hit it for a couple of hours. Former Swedish pipe champion Markus Jonsson was kind to tow us in on the school sled.
In the evening we went back to hit the kicker again. Gotte had put some extra pop into in to ensure the photos came out as sick as possible. The kicker was so good that we just couldn't stop shredding it. When Blom had his shots, me and Jonas probably hit it 15 more times. At the end of the session we got in the car and drove the 5 hours back to Östersund happily knowing that we surely killed the spot.
It's funny how different the quality of parks can be. I've visited so many parks in my career and so many times I've been disappointed. Gigantic ski resort claiming to have sick parks and when you show up it's crap. Then you have small resorts like Vännäs and Kläppen with parks that are just amazing. Åre was probably the sickest park in Sweden, next to Kläppen, last year but it wasn't thanks to its size or its famous brand. It was thanks to Anders Gothnell. A resort don't need a lot of money or hype to build a good park, nor need they build a huge and expensive park. They just need someone like Gotte who loves what he's doing and does it damn well! As Åre sucked this year, Vännäs was the shit thanks to Gotte. And I say thanks for letting me shred one of the best kickers in Scandinavia ever!
Music Tip: In Flames - Colony (the album by Swedish In Flames that made me love death metal)