The Arctic Challenge 2014: Redefining Transition Contests With Terje Haakonsen

Legendary transition rider, Terje Haakonsen started the Arctic Challenge in 1999 to introduce a different approach to transition contests. He saw progression at a halt, and decided to start something different in hopes that it would have an effect on the way contests are designed and judged. Fifteen years later, the Arctic Challenge continues to push the evolution of half pipe contests. With a rider-designed halfpipe featuring hips, jibs, wallrides and channel gaps, riders are challenged to do more than execute a pre-determined “golden run”.

The 2014 Arctic Challenge gold medal went to Danny Davis, one of the most outspoken advocates for innovation in snowboard contests. Amidst an ongoing conversation about the stale nature of standardized competition, Davis —like Haakonsen in the ‘90s— waves the flag for a new approach. Instead of counting rotations and flips, The Arctic Challenge is judged by assessing who rode the course with the most skill, amplitude and creativity. Instead of a uniform 22′ halfpipe, the A.C. course is made up of all types of features. Having adverse terrain forces the riders to adapt and approach each hit differently. In the end, whoever can ride it best wins. By riders, for riders; the Arctic Challenge is refreshing to witness in todays scene of homogenized halfpipe events.


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