I talked with my family and I talked with my dad, because he was alive at that time, and he said, “It’s important that you do the stuff that you do for yourself, because that’s what you always have done. And if I were you, I would just see how it feels in a couple of months. Give it some time.”
So I just let the thought go. And I went back to skiing and then the next season the Olympics happened. But after the Olympics I wanted a break from skiing and did some snowboarding for a couple weeks between the last World Cups.
Then at the beginning of this season I did a lot of snowboarding in Australia in August and September, preseason. But after that I just got so motivated for skiing and so stoked that I put the snowboard away and I had the best season of my life and I really enjoyed it.
I’ve won a lot of competitions and to get a better season than I’ve had this year…yes, it’s possible. But let’s say last season was 80% perfect, to get to 100%…I’ll never get 100%. Maybe I could make it to 90%, but there’s not going to be that big of a difference.
With snowboarding I’m at maybe 10%, and there is just so much to learn and so much that I don’t know. That journey is just looking so exciting. To learn like that, there’s so much fun in it. That’s what I just want to try to do, just explore. try to get at 80% in snowboarding too.
I love what you’re talking about, being on the edge of really, really discovering something that you know is there and really being able to figure out what’s possible for yourself. I think that’s so sick and so much fun.
At least I want to try. You know, I really want to try, and I’m not scared to. Sometimes I have a day where it’s like ‘Birk. What are you doing?’ But if I don’t try, I’m not gonna succeed with it. And I can’t live with that ‘Maybe.’ I’ve gotta try.
How’s your rail game? How different is it on the rails?
It’s a pretty big difference. And to be honest, the only thing I’ve been working on is the rails lately.
You’re a bit more limited because your legs are stuck together, so some variations are a lot harder. But I’m so happy that I have the skiing background because there are so many tricks that I think would be cool on a snowboard that are kind of skier tricks, although I know that maybe snowboarders are not necessarily too big fans of. I think it will be fun to just try to bring some different tricks that are not too common to the table.
I’m sure I can make it to the World Cup circuit. But as you know with me, you know I’m not necessarily satisfied with just being on the World Cup. I also want to have a good chance at taking podiums there. But it’s a two-year project, so next season I would have to at least be riding in World Cups by the end of the season.
Yeah I mean, if you can make this happen it’s going to be one of the biggest stories in snow sports next winter. Can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Last question – tell me about being part of such an incredible season for the entire Norwegian Freeski team, where you saw so much success for everyone on the team. And with Christian Nummedal retiring you’re going to be the veteran on the team now moving forward, at just 23 years old.
It’s been crazy and the team spirit has been really good, probably the best that it’s ever been.
It’s been so inspiring to talk with Nummis about his retirement, and his honesty on it. He’s been really open that it’s a tough choice – he’s not really sure how long he can continue to do the sport, but also knowing that he don’t really have a clear idea on what he wants to do after the skiing career.
But to follow him and see how he’s been dealing with it, after managing to deliver an amazing silver at the World Championships to end his career…it’s been a really strong finish for him. He’s been figuring stuff out, and I’m excited to see what he does as a good friend and to follow him on his new journey.