Torgeir Bergrem is one hell of a snowboarder, not only is he able to ride all types of terrains; including slopestyle, powder and icy big airs, he constantly puts style above all else, earning him respect from his fellow pros, media and mainstream snowboarders alike and many of his videos end up going viral on the gram. This humble and easy going Norwegian is a genuinely nice guy and his laid back and approachable persona has made him one of the most popular riders on tour. We wanted to find out how much planning goes into those tricks, how he recovers from injuries, his plans for the distant future and much more, so read on for Torgeir Bergrem’s Real Talk Interview.
You are currently out filming with Ståle and Gimbal God. What project are you filming for?
Ståle and Spenny are still on the Real Snow grind, but we have been talking about trying to put something together for a while now. We don’t know what’s going to come of it yet, but I can say that we are off to a good start.
There’s a pretty big contest going down at the moment which you are missing for filming, are you quitting competing to film more?
There is a Big Air comp in Austria right now, but I decided to go to Switzerland to shoot instead. I’m still going to Laax for the Open, but I felt like that Big Air didn’t really need me to be in it.
We like watching you snowboard a lot and that Sw back 5 to method went viral. How much preparation goes into a trick like that? Were you thinking about it for a long time before or do you just go out and try that on the spur of the moment?
Thank you! It really depends on the trick. Sometimes it’s a spur of the moment thing and sometimes it takes a bit more time, but that switch back five method came from me losing control on a switch backside five and accidentally sort of did it. Ståle said I should try it with a proper method, and that’s how it came about.
It seems that tricks like that are often overlooked in contests, is that frustrating as a rider and would you like to see less spins and more creative tricks in contests?
That’s a question I have asked myself 1000 times and it’s so hard to answer. From my perspective it would be sick if there was a category of competing which put more of an emphasis on style, but at the same time you don’t want to stop natural progression. I like the way some events make courses that forces people to adapt to the terrain and switch up their riding a little. It gets old watching the same long down rails and three jumps in a row.
Do you think contests in general would be more popular if riders were doing tricks like that?
I couldn’t really say yes or no, but for me it’s more fun to watch the girls ride Big Air these days than the boys, mainly because there is more variety in their trick selection. It would be fun to do a contest where the old Style and Tech categories were your two scoring runs again.
Are airbags something you use to learn tricks, or do you go old school and huck on the mountain?
When I grew up, we would either build pow jumps or try tricks in the park. That way the progression of tricks took way longer because it was impossible to try something new without the possibility of hurting yourself. The airbag takes away that element and allows young riders to learn tricks I would look at as impossible when I was on the same level. I have tried an airbag and it’s insanely fun to try weird stuff that I would never think to try in the park, but I don’t see it as the way to take my snowboarding to the next level.
And what about helmets, is a helmet something you wear outside of a contest or do you prefer to wear a beanie? I’ve heard a few people that pros that don’t wear a helmet are a bad influence on younger and impressionable riders, what are your thoughts about that?
Helmets are good for you and there is no good argument to defend not wearing one. So, me riding without a helmet a lot of the time is stupid. I’m trying to get used to wearing helmets more often, and if you´re a young up and coming rider I would suggest that you always wear one.
You and your buddies are all some of the best riders in the world, Norway doesn’t have the same kind of mountains like France, Austria or Switzerland but produces so many talented riders, why do you think Norway has produced so many incredible snowboarders?
I think the community of snowboarding in Norway has helped in a big way. I have always had people to look up to and lots of friends who also wanted to go snowboarding every day and progress by having fun together. Another thing is that the bad conditions gave us a good foundation to be able to adapt to terrain in a good way. The first time I rode a perfectly built park jump I felt like I could do anything.
With that many good riders around, who did you admire the most when you were growing up?
JP Solberg and Torstein were my big idols growing up and I still look up to Torstein in a big way. These days there are so many riders I love to watch, but Alek and Arthur Longo stand out.
This may be a topic rarely touched, but we know that you are one of the strongest and most fit competitive snowboarders out there. How much of this is simply a gift and what part of it is strict training regimen?
I have been injured quite a bit and coming back from injury requires a lot of physical training. Over the years I have realised that staying fit will allow me to snowboard at a high level for a longer period of time, so it’s kind of a no brainer. Whatever can keep me riding longer I will do whether it is physical training or Eating healthy, sleeping enough and not drinking any alcohol goes a long way.
Snowboarding is a big deal in Norway, are you famous on a mainstream level over there?
Not at all, Cross Country skiing is the shit in Norway.
You have been on Nitro forever, I’ve always heard the rumour that Nitro riders don’t get paid and do it for the love of the company- it sounds like bullshit to me, can you tell us if this rumour is true or not?
Nitro has been super supportive of my snowboarding and it seems like all of my teammates have the same impression of the brand. Knut and Andi are always positive whenever I come at them with an idea, so I don´t think that rumour is true at all.
What is your goal for the next 5 years within snowboarding?
Try to be creative and improve my snowboarding and get to film more of it with my friends.
Some pro riders when they quit professional snowboarding never go riding again it seems that you have a genuine love for snowboarding, and it isn’t just a day job. Will you ride for fun forever?
I am going to snowboard until my legs can’t carry me anymore. Snowboarding has been my life for the last 15 years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon
If you could live any other place than Oslo, or Norway, where would you chose?
Off the top of my head Innsbruck or Southern California. Innsbruck is so close to everywhere in the alps, but to be able to surf whenever I go home would also be pretty sweet.
You have seen a lot of changes in snowboarding in your time, what is the best thing that has changed and the worst?
That’s a tough question. Big corporations seeing the commercial value of snowboarding might have been the best and the worst thing that’s changed since I started because it might take the joy out of it for a lot of the young people trying to make it especially in the contest scene, but it has also allowed a lot more people to learn just how much joy a snowboard can provide.