Interview by Sam Haddad, portrait by Babette Pauthier, action shots by Matt Georges
Last season you won the Burton European Open, and finished second overall in the TTR, was it your best season ever?
Yeah everything went really well last season. I don’t know what happened exactly but I felt like I was riding with a lot more confidence. I’ve been riding for a long time now so of course that helps and suddenly I just felt more relaxed too. So I was like I can do that trick on that jump and then that trick on that jump, where as before I was like I need to learn that trick because I have to mix it up and do a good run so then I was getting stressed.
Did you have more tricks in your repertoire that you always land?
Yeah that was it too, so it meant I could just pick which jump would fit each trick and then do it.
Had you done a lot of pre-season prep last winter?
During Christmas I’d been riding with my boyfriend and chilling and not stressing about contests and just doing the tricks I wanted to do by building up to them on smaller jumps. And then I’ve been preparing my mind more, you know just being focused.
Does the mental side of contests get easier as you get older?
Yes for sure. When you’re younger you’re more stressed as you’re not solid enough yet and haven’t done enough comps. I listen to the younger girls at the start of a comp and they’re often getting really stressed and suddenly wanting to try things they’ve never done before instead of thinking ok I know this move by now and I know I’ll do that good.
How else do you prepare for the season?
I do a lot of wakeboarding in the summer and I think cross training is really important, and I like doing trampoline sessions with my board.
What are the similarities with wakeboarding?
The board control for sure, I can go switch and learn things switch, and I have exactly the same stance, and grab the same places. I just have to remember the handle, which is pretty different, but I can learn things from the jumps too. I’m more like a beginner on wake so it feels like everything is new.
Does it hurt less when you slam?
Not really! And the landing is flat, so you have to get used to preparing your landing and compressing. But when you’re back on snow it feels a lot better.
How did you stay injury free last season, when you’ve struggled especially with your knee in the past?
I did a lot of weights and spent time at the gym, working on my core and lower body, when I was at home I tried to go everyday. So my body was a lot stronger and especially my knee. Last season I had my brace on and I was riding like I was riding before and I think it was the first time in a while that I felt like nothing was holding me back.
And how are you feeling about the Olympics?
I didn’t focus on FIS comps last year so [at the time of going to press] I haven’t yet qualified. I’m wondering if I should just focus on pipe for the Olympics or think about what I can do in slopestyle as I usually do as I feel like I have more potential there and the Olympic is just one competition after all but of course it’s huge. If you win it’s amazing and you get a lot of attention in and outside snowboarding. But of course you still have the X Games, the TTR and the Dew tour, so there’s a lot to think about.
Do you think you are better in slopestyle or the pipe?
I did better in slopestyle last year but my advantage is that I do both and pipe pretty well so my results in total are better. I enjoy slopestyle the most as it feels like you’re just cruising and riding with friends. As the course is so long it’s like ok I’m done with the first obstacle and then I stop thinking it’s a comp, I’m just like oh there’s the next jump and I wanna do that on it and land that and then you just go on riding. It’s more interesting but then doing each discipline makes the other one fun, so I don’t get bored of either.
What are hopes for this season?
I just want to progress for myself and feel like I’m going somewhere. I have my own goals for each season and new tricks I want to land and that feeling makes me feel good.
My motivation come from inside and what I want to do but for sure it’s fun if someone sees me make a good trick. I like riding with friends who know me well like Kjersti (Buaas) as we’ll challenge each other and she knows what I’m capable of so she’ll tell me I can make a jump and it’ll be sick and I can trust her. I really like riding with Cheryl Maas and Jenny Jones too, strong slopestyle riders.
How did you get into snowboarding?
I learnt to ski first when I was four and then I started snowboarding later when my brother (who was three years older than me) started snowboarding. He’s always been my hero and he’s crazy and daring with lots of adrenaline so he pushed me a lot. And I would really like to show off for him too and I wanted him to see that I was progressing. He made me enter the Norwegian Cup as he was entering anyway and then I met Stine [Brun Kjeldaas, the Olympic Silver medallist from Norway, and now winter marketing manager for Roxy]. I looked up to her in snowboarding a lot so it was fun to be around her at comps, but I didn’t see myself as ever becoming a professional like her. I just took it one year at a time.
Are you surprised by how high the level of women’s snowboarding is right now?
I’m always surprised about how quickly it grows, and the young girls now, so many of them are so tough and strong. I was at a slopestyle comp in New Zealand last [European] summer and a13 year old girl was the first to hit the biggest jump at the end of the course. Everyone else in the comp had just been hitting the small one, so we were like ok that’s impressive.
And there are girls like Sarka Pancochova?
What impresses me with her is that she really learns her tricks so fast, and will try everything on the big jumps and land it. And there’s Jamie Anderson who just entered comps and was super-strong from the start. When you see a few girls do crazy tricks I think everyone feels like ok we can do it and everyone pushes themselves more instead of holding back.
What new tricks do you have planned for winter?
I’m going to focus more on switch riding and switch tricks and in the pipe I’m going to be doing some 7 inverts.
What are your career highlights?
Winning the Burton European Open last year, that was my first major comp win and also just that feeling that I had of being able to land what I planned and ride solid and make it all the way to the top. That was one day I won’t ever forget for sure.
What about your best ever powder day?
There’s so many already but I especially remember cruising fresh powder in Japan because the snow felt really different, it was lighter and sugar-like. I don’t even remember where it was, and we didn’t even go steep or to any particular amazing place I just remember the quality of the snow!
And your favourite park?
North Star, Tahoe in California. I’ve had so much fun riding there with Kjersti, just hitting loads of jumps and boxes and they just have everything sorted in the pipe and they work on overnight so they’ll always fix it and groom it and they might have changed the rail, it’s always perfect and sunny which helps too! We don’t even have a pipe in Norway, which is crazy considering all the really good riders.
What advice do you have for young wannabee rippers?
Ride with girls and guys who are a little bit better than you, so they can watch you and give you advice. And also ride a lot and cruise and get comfortable on your board. Don’t go on bigger jumps until you’re comfy doing a trick on a smaller one and go to the gym a lot to keep yourself strong.
Thanks to Roxy. Lisa is sponsored by Roxy, Skull Candy, Dakine, Bern and DC