[Markus Kleveland on the way to his most recent Big Air win in Monchengladbach. Photo: Oliver Krauss]
More-than-deservedly bagging the top spot in the Rookie category of our European Rider of the Year Awards is this ridiculously talented Norwegian kid who can seemingly bend the Laws of Physics to his will...
“He constantly strives to reinterpret snowboarding on a performance- and - even more so - a creative level"
- Elias Elhardt
Think back to when you were thirteen - voice just about breaking, pubes sprouting… You were hardly on the bleeding edge of anything, were you? Whilst the rest of us were transitioning from skis to snowboards, Marcus Kleveland was stamping his name in the history books landing one of the first ever triple corks, aged just thirteen. Three years later he was even closer to the forefront, becoming just the second rider to stomp a backside quad 1800.
But to just paint Kleveland with that kind of brush is to do him a disservice. Away from the “add another 180, add another cork" game he blows minds over Instagram on what feels like a weekly basis. He’s spun back 10s off of bumps, done more butter and hand drag combos over knuckles than you’ve had hot meals and put down double 720s and triple 1080s, stuff we thought we’d never see. Oh yeah, he’s still only eighteen. Just these last few months he’s wowed the snowboard world with that back-720-which-actually-was-a-540 and this inverted backside 180. At least, that’s what we think it is, because right now his riding is way out in front of even the words we have to describe it.
"But to just paint Kleveland with that kind of brush is to do him a disservice. Away from the “add another 180, add another cork" game he blows minds over Instagram on what feels like a weekly basis."
We initially hesitated to classify him as a rookie seeing as he’s been present for so long, but we set the bar at 20-and-under, plus in truth it’s only recently that he’s brought his game to the main stage at contests. You could argue that 2017 was the year that he brought his big game, landing the first ever quad in contest and taking home a fair chunk of bling: gold at X-Games Slopestyle and silver in the Big Air, then again at the Innsbruck Air+Style and bronze in LA. This season’s only just got going and he’s already won the first event - gold at the NZ Winter Games, and another Big Air in Monchengladbach.
“Because he is supposed to be in the rookie category, but rides better than everyone in the male category as well!"
- Fridtjof Tischendorf
In fact, Kleveland seems to be maturing at a rate that sets him up perfectly for the upcoming five-ringed circus, and he’s made no bones about gunning for golds in both Slope and Big Air. However, what really sets him apart from the other contenders is that he is clearly more to snowboarding than the next contest result - he’s competing on another level for snowboarding itself. There will be more quads, maybe even quids, but riders like Marcus will be few and far between.
Ladies and gentlemen, your European Rookie Of The Year 2017: Marcus Kleveland.