[Terje on his way to winning the Masters division of last year's Riks Banked Slalom. Photo: Sami Tuoriniemi]
May 11-14 2017 will once more see an army of riders make the pilgrimage to the snowboarding Mecca of Riksgränsen, Sweden, to reclaim the carve at the infamous Riks Banked Slalom... If you're wanting to wrap up the winter in style at one of snowboarding's most unique, iconic resorts, then book your spot. You won't regret it.
The RBS is now in its fifth year, and has gone from a small gathering of 30 snowboarders to last year’s edition where there were way over 200 eager shredders frothing to pit their edge skills against the serpentine berms weaving down the Snobben off-piste area, just off the resort’s top lift.
There's a beautiful simplicity to a contest with no jumps, no spins, no rails... just a you, your board and your ability to carve and keep the speed through a course with 22 banked curves. And it's also something that anyone with a modicum of snowboarding ability – from kids to super pros – can get involved with together. It's reasons like this that are behind the resurgence of banked slaloms in recent years, and the edition in Riks was not only one of the first to get back on the bandwagon, it's also fortunate to call home a place that's steeped in snowboarding history and, with near 24h light and set in a stark, Arctic landscape, unlike most other places you can snowboard in.
[Above: There are legends everywhere you look at the Riks Banked Slalom. Here's Ingemar Backman blurring through last year's course. Photo: Thomas Copsey]
"Our ambition with the Riksgränsen Banked Slalom is to celebrate and enjoy snowboarding in it’s purest form," say the event organisers. "Even though everyone competes against each other the scream’s of stoke and warm smiles fill the air around the competition." And from visiting last year we can only confirm this – fuelling the froth is what this event is all about, bringing generations together in a melting pot for snowboarders from Scandinavia and beyond. In addition to the competition there will be a retrospective photo exhibition about Riksgränsen and it’s snowboarding history.
If you have a spare few days in your calendar and are looking for a late-season shred like no other, hit up www.riksbankedslalom.com for more deets.
Partners for 2017: Adidas Snowboarding, Sweet Protection, Inlandet.se, Hotel Riksgränsen, RISK Kids
Oh, in case you're wondering why Riks is so rad, let some of snowboarding's great and good explain...