Fredrik Sarvell Interview

Fredrik Sarvell

Intro By René Hansen

Interview By Johan von Walter

A Little Story From The Early Days By Dad

Fredrik never had a “home mountain.” He started out on the slopes of a nearby hill, but when it became too much work to w.html alk all the way to the hill, he and his friends began looking into our own garden. They soon found out it was possible to build a jump behind our house. Since it didn’t snow much in our town, they had to collect snow from all over the neighborhood. The neighbors still talk about the happy days when they didn’t have to shovel snow–Fredrik and his friends took care of it. The landing was flat so they took an old mattress from the house and covered it with snow. They got a neighbor to put up some light and started jumping until late in the evenings. I remember the strange sight of the boys flying past the window of our dining room. When they lost control they would sometimes fly into an apple tree, breaking the branches off. One window frame still bears the marks of one guy who almost flew down into the basement.–Lars-Erik Sarvel

? ? ? 

Fredrik is very different from everyone else I’ve met–different in a very nice and caring way. He’s probably taught me more about myself than anyone out there, making sure I’m aware of my negative side in a way so that I have to learn to deal with it. He has that effect on all people, probably because he’s so honest about everything around him–it makes him hard to stomach sometimes. He never means to be evil; he just speaks without thinking anyone might be offended by his honesty.

I first met Fredrik at the Åre superpipe event when Terje got first, Daniel second, and Roger Hjelmstadstuen third. It didn’t go well for Fredrik, but there was no doubt the kid had a lot of talent. Pipe events don’t fit Fredrik’s personality and riding style. He hates to put complete runs together because he has way too much energy to hold back enough to do so. Big airs, freeriding, and quarterpipes are more to his liking–he can express himself better doing whatever he feels like at that moment.

Fredrik’s style is a lot different than any other snowboarder out there; he loves tight pants, T-shirts, and sweaters. When Airwalk and Volcom sent him gear for the first time, he sent it all back.

Once we were skating in Marseilles, France. Fredrik, who always wears tight pants like the dudes in 80s rock bands, ended up splitting his crotch out, and he only commented that he now understood why his friends skate in baggy clothes.

When you meet Fredrik the last thing you’d think is that he’s a sick golf player. Fredrik has a seven handicap in Sweden, which means he plays scratch in the U.S. Airwalk is planning a signature Fredrik Sarvel golf shoe that golf stores are ordering like mad. It’s a golf shoe that looks like a skate shoe and is actually comfortable.–René Hansen

How would you describe yourself to someone you’ve never met?

Sober or drunk?

You choose. Choose drunk, man.

All right, I’m pretty crazy and probably a little exaggerated for most people when I’m drunk. I shout and I’m a pain in the ass. Or, maybe not. Most people probably think I’m a pretty decent guy.

What about when you’re sober? Describe yourself with five words.

I’m kind of laid back.

Laid back? Ha, ha. Right.

What do you mean?

Come on, I’ve known you for a while. Laid back is probably one of the last phrases I’d use for you. Try again, that was a big lie.

Pleasant, impulsive, funny, and I have a lot of sweat under my arms.

How long have you been snowboarding?

For about ten years.

Where did you start riding?

Åre, it’s in the middle of Sweden, with two friends named Diddi and Mange. Maybe with my brother Henke, too, but I think he started a year later. He was riding hardboots. He and Damian Sanders–those donkeys.

Were you a sick snowboarder right from the beginning?

I picked it up quickly. I was good.

What about the others?

Diddi was really good. He was just as good, until a couple of years ago. Then he quit riding and became a computer nerd. Henke was a stubborn donkey. If he wanted to learn a trick, he didn’t leave the slope until he stomped it. Now he’s a computer nerd as well.

Was snowboarding more fun back then?

It was fun in a totally different way. It was all new and cool. But it’s still just as fun. I still learn a lot, and go bigger and bigger every year. That’s what’s fun now–to go big.

Do you think snowboarding has changed a lot in the last five years?

Oh, yes. It has changed incredibly. The standard has really increased.

So, do you think the best riders now are better than Terje was five years ago?

No.

How can you say that it has changed so much then?

So many more riders are good. For me it has changed a whole lot. Now I have snowboarding as a job. I need to get better all the time. There are constantly young and hungry upcoming riders who want to kill me and take my place.

Do you still like it and are you enjoying your life?

Of course. Six-billion people live on Mother Earth. How many do you think can live as I do? Approximately 0.0001 percent. But we’ll see how cool I am in 30 years–I don’t even want to think about that.

You won’t be able to walk when you’re 50. Your knees and back already pop and stuff.

We’ll see. Nobody knows yet. So far no one has been riding for more than twenty years. But you’re right; it affects your body.

You’re great at quarterpipes and ride them a lot. Is it because they are your favorite, or is it because only Europeans know how to build and ride a good quarterpipe?

Darn myth! Americans are just as good at building transitions. The quarters I’ve been doing well in I built myself and therefore fit me perfectly. But hey, thanks for the compliment. That’s cool if you like my riding, but there are a lot of other dudes who can ride quarterpipes just as well. Look at Ingemar, Trevor Andrew, or Terje.

What’s the best thing about Scandinavia?

The chicks and their style. There’s no other place in the world that has hot chicks like Stockholm, and I live there.

I’ve noticed you’ve been picking up some chicks lately. That must be what happens when you change from a damn Beauty And The Beast haircut–and I mean the Beast–to something else. Thank god you cut your hair! What were you thinking?

I wanted to cover my face with my long hair when I said something stupid, so people wouldn’t see I was turning red.

That’s a good reason to look like a f–king idiot. What’re your future plans, man?

None.

What do you mean none?

Well, tomorrow I’m going to your summer cabin to swim and play some golf. Right after that we’re going to Hültsfred, the music festival, because we want to listen to good music and drink beer. You, Freddy Skyback, and me. That’s gonna be Rock ‘N’ Roll Ayatolla. After that I don’t really know. Hell, it’s summer.

What are your goals in snowboarding?

Make millions and have a lot of fun until my body says stop. And I want to help my companies develop as good equipment as possible.

Who are you riding for, and why would they want to sponsor you?

Airwalk, Arnette, and Volcom–I guess they think I can give something back.

What are your goals outside snowboarding?

To be happy until I die.

Say something that makes more sense.

I can’t come up with anything that makes more sense. Maybe I’ll be a golf pro after snowboarding is over for me. Play the Senior PGA tour and make illiona
milliona.

Is golf your biggest hobby?

Yes, golf is my biggest hobby. Golf and hanging out at bars with my friends.

I guess that’s what inspires you.

Definitely, precisely, absolutely, exactly, right.

Well, which riders inspire your riding?

The guys I spend the most time on the slopes with: Roger Hjelmstadstuen, Tero Ainonen, and Romain De Marchi. I find it difficult to get inspiration out of magazines and movies these days. Back in the day movies like Critical Conditions, Roadkill, and Riders On The Storm inspired me.

Who were your snowboard idols when you were a kid?

Damian Sanders because of his hardcore tweaks with hardboots. And Terje, of course–he’s outstanding.

Can you recommend any good spots that aren’t to be missed, riding-wise and people-wise?

Lech, Austria, riding-wise because of the cool formation of the mountain and the snow conditions. Saas Fee and Hintertux in the beginning of the season because everyone is there and hanging out with the Norwegians. I like Rune Lundsor–he’s Norwegian. Rune, you f–king donkey! The U.S. is cool as well. Often people build big kickers and stuff, and they always welcome foreigners with open arms. I like Todd Franzen and his homies in Breckenridge.

What do you prefer: contest, a photo shoot, filming for a video, or a day with no eyes on you?

That’s very easy to answer–a day with no eyes on me. I can do what I want and don’t have to think about what a photographer wants. I don’t have to do backside sevens, fakie nines, or whatever I don’t feel like doing. I can do six-foot frontside 180s on small bumps and have just as much fun. They don’t qualify for mags or movies anymore. It’s a shame.

I know, frontside 180 fishtails are the shit. Finally, Fredde, who do you want to thank?

I want to thank you, Johan the donkey; René and my team–especially Romain, Tero, and Roger. Thank you, dudes!

Pull Quotes:

I’m pretty crazy and probably a little exaggerated for most people–I shout and I’m a pain in the ass.

I have a lot of sweat under my arms.

There are constantly young and hungry upcoming riders who want to kill me and take my place.

Fredrik is one of my favorites to shoot with. He has a sick style, stomp, and creativity. But that’s not the best thing about him–he’s simply the funniest character I know.–Vincent Skoglund

It was the beginning of the ’99/00 winter, and the Airwalk crew decided to move to Hintertux, Austria to ride some good powder. Roger and I went to the Winter Yoz Games for three days, so I loaned my car to Fredrik, begging him not to wreck it since I hadn’t finished paying for it. Fredrik said to relax, no worries. On the way back home, Fredrik called to tell me, “Romain, I broke your car a little bit, but it’s okay.” When we went to the garage where it was being fixed, my car was okay, but the bill was $5,000 dollars! That was my first experience with Fredrik.–Romain De Marchi