Growing up in Montana, Erika Vikander has always been a product of the outdoors. She learned to ski at a very young age, and quickly became eager to jump into a snowboard after seeing her older brother make the transition. Erika wanted to follow in his footsteps, and was determined to keep up with him and his guy friends. She quickly learned that on the mountain it was either keep up, or get left behind. It turns out she was up for the challenge.
Erika is now a professional snowboarder and has been competing for ten years. In 2013, despite breaking her tailbone a week prior, Snowboarder Magazine featured her in a double page spread from her successful run at Ms. Superpark. As a thrill-seeking skier myself, I asked Erika about her most adrenaline filled adventures on a mountain.
Heli Boarding in Alaska
My most recent adrenaline filled moment has to be Heli boarding in Alaska. It is such an unforgiving environment, and one mistake can end your life. It was the most amazing feeling flying around the vast openness of the mountains in a tiny Helicopter, being set down on top of knife-edge ridge lines and having the total freedom to paint a picture the way you choose to down a mountain.
Subaru Freeride Series at Snowbird, Utah
The Big Mountain contest series are very interesting and something that I was completely new to. You are unable to "ride" the course before you actually compete on it, that being said, the contest venues are not for the faint of heart. In particular, the main event qualifiers for the Snowbird, UT stop were especially scary this year, as I wasn't confident about my line choice and we were battling hurricane force winds of 80+ miles an hour with gusts around 120 miles an hour. Standing atop an icy ridge line, getting blown so hard by the wind, every once in a while you had to just hit the ground in order to not get blown off the mountain. This type of wind definitely diverts your attention from concentrating on nailing your line for the competition.
We finally got a small window of 60 mile an hour winds so they sent us on our runs down the mountain. With the lack of visibility, wind, ice, and exposed rock everywhere, the tension was high and I was happy that myself and my other competitors made it to the bottom alive and unharmed. Snowboarding like that is not always easy, but we chose a winter sport, and that is part of the bargain sometimes.
Erika's Best Items
Niche Minx Snowboard |"The Minx which is my park snowboard, is my all time favorite. It is super fun and playful, and the company itself is run by extremely environmentally conscience people who do all they can to promote snowboarding in a non-wasteful/sustainable way."
Aura Nimbus Goggles | "The Nimbus goggle has not yet let me down, and I have put it through a lot. From riding park, to big mountain contests, to fighting the wind from the blades on the helicopter, they have stayed form fitting, fog free, and looking sharp. I love how easy the lenses are to change. It makes life a lot easier to adjust to, especially when you are not in an ideal environment to be messing with changing lenses from other goggle companies."
For all of Erika's adventures visit her blog, or see her in action on Dooers for more gear advice.
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