Pressure Flip — The Halldór Helgason Interview

Blasting over the beautiful scenery of Akureyri, Iceland. // p: GUNSHOW

“Either a perfect bail, or a perfect stomp,” Halldór says as he sizes up a
backtail on a lengthy quad kink in the opening clip of his movie-ending, video-part-of-the-year winning segment in Arcadia. The quote encapsulates the go-for-broke approach that’s propelled Halldor through an extraordinary career. In the decade and a half since he made his global debut in Factor Films’ Notes, Halldór has been one of the most thrilling personalities on the scene, whether in the streets, the backcountry, the park, or the club. His video parts—brimming with innovative tricks, unique spots and straight up batshit-crazy snowboarding—have helped him amass a staggering, and religiously devout, following the world over. He is one of the most prolific, universally influential snowboarders of his time, and in my estimation, one of the best to ever strap in; following his back-to-back enders in Arcadia and Future of Yesterday, his ascension seemed truly boundless. Then, in a sort of gradual and uncharacteristic way, the usually very public Halldór began to fade from view. There were appearances, but nothing like his recent trajectory envisaged. The rumor across the industry: he’d sustained a bad head injury while filming. Ironically, there was a hint of truth in that speculation, yet the reality was far more complicated, and far more devastating. The singular focus that set the course of his life since he was a young kid, that drove him to the forefront of snowboarding and helped him produce timeless video segments, became the source of his undoing; compounded by tragic loss, it set him on a bewildering path of existential uncertainty.

-Interview By Mike Goodwin

[MIKE] When’s the last time you felt like yourself?
[Halldór] Where things started getting weird is a good takeoff for this whole thing. When I filmed Arcadia in 2017, that was the first time I was like, “Damn, I’m happy about this. I’m actually proud of this video part. It’s not perfect, but I’m pumped on it, the song and everything.” I had really been thinking about it for a long time. I wanted to make the part look a certain way, and it came out like I wanted it to. That was weird for me because I always watch my video parts and feel I can do better. I felt weird, like, “I’m proud? What does that mean? What’s going to happen now?” Then I filmed for The Future of Yesterday, which was really fun, but my mental state was starting to change a little bit. I’d say I was starting to be a little weird in a way. I was confused—something was off. Obviously with Future of Yesterday I was trying to do something better than Arcadia. Otherwise it sucks. (laughs) I had some high expectations there, as usual.
It was really hard for me that season to actually be happy with the stuff I did. Everything had to be crazier or better than the stuff I’d done before for me to get that nice feeling that we’re all trying to get. I didn’t get “clip high” unless it was pretty much something that I had never done, and hopefully had never seen anybody else do either. Even if it was a good shot, and ended up in my video part, for me it was this “mission failed” kind of deal. I didn’t get anything out of it. That’s how things kind of started to change.
For those two years in a row, I got nominated for Rider of the Year. I had never, honestly, given a shit about awards or anything. I was always appreciative of them, but I never wanted to give them any value because I was afraid that I would try to do things to get awards or something,
you know?
Yeah, that’s understandable.
I was always hyped, but treated it like, “Let’s forget about this and move on to the next thing.” I was never snowboarding to win something or to impress anybody else. But then it kind of slowly moved into my head: “OK, I’ve been nominated twice in a row now. I kind of want to win it.” (laughs) I put this pressure on myself.
I looked back and Louif won it the first time
(I was nominated). He did his own project and just killed it. Then, the year after, when I got nominated again, Kazu won it, and he also did his own project. So I figured, OK, well that probably means that I have to do my own project to make this happen. It’s like the next step. Slowly, throughout that whole season, I was just getting weird. I was not being myself.
The next year, I had everything set up to do my own project, even though in my head, I didn’t want to at all because I was really off. But I wanted to want to do it, you know? I was hoping that just by landing a few tricks I could get into it and get clip high enough that I was good to go for the rest of the season. But I never got into that mode.
Coming into the project, I basically put pressure on myself that I had to get Rider of the Year. If not, the project kind of sucks. It had to be the best thing I’d ever done. It’s not fun coming into a season with that pressure on yourself. (laughs) And it’s just from myself. I’m definitely my own worst enemy. I don’t look like I’m that serious, but with those kinds of videos, I want to do my best. Better than that, to be honest.
The same drive that gets you noticed, that
gets you to the top, that allows you to film those great segments, there’s a dark side to that striving and perfectionism. It’s difficult
to turn off.
Exactly. The thing is, it’s really good up to a certain level. But you have to learn how to, not switch it off, but be nice to yourself as well. But I had to keep going. I don’t understand why I’m doing it if I’m not progressing and doing it better than before. I got into that season and I was feeling really fucked. I was just so confused, man. I had everything—I don’t have anything to complain about—but I was so fucked mentally at this time that everything had changed so much. Slowly I turned into a depressed, anxious, perfectionist, and that’s a terrible, terrible triple combination.
Are you noticing this about yourself as it’s happening? Or you see this in retrospect?
I’m not realizing it yet. One thing I noticed when I went snowboarding in the fall of 2018, after The Future of Yesterday, was that I was thinking so much. Not about snowboarding, just thinking about everything so much.
All the years up until this time, when I went snowboarding, it didn’t matter what I had going on in my life, it got blocked out completely. I never thought about snowboarding in this way, but I’ve kind of been meditating all these years. I’ve just been snowboarding; it was something I never even thought about. When I didn’t have that, all of a sudden it was so weird. And I was doing so many sketchy things on my snowboard. I had zero focus on doing anything.
It was like a “fuck it” mode, just trying to get pumped, but being so sketchy and thinking about completely different things than I should have been. Not even thinking about the tricks that I’m about to do while I am dropping in. Just way too loose. I’m usually loose, but this was dangerously loose. Overthinking every single little detail of everything I was going through. Everything was a mission.

I assume the mental issues are getting

progressively worse?
I didn’t understand why I was doing this anymore. All of a sudden I felt like, “Why am I risking my life for this?” which is something I never thought about before. The fun, and the good feeling of it, was a big enough reason up until then.
I was so different in my head. The best way to describe it is like in movies when you see through the robot’s vision and it’s calculating all this shit… I looked at things thinking, “Here I can get injured, here I can hit my head on this thing, I can just get injured on all these things.” I didn’t see anything positive about anything. Since I was doing my own project I had brought riders on, and I felt this weird responsibility (for them as well). Instead of just getting on a project and focusing on doing as good as I can, I felt so afraid of everything. 

In January, just after my 28th birthday, I went to Austria to film some pow with Ulrik (Badertscher). We were meeting some of the Scandalnavians guys because they were doing the two-year project. In between trips I was drinking so much, escaping everything with drinking because that was really the only time I felt good. That’s the only time I used alcohol in that way. I’m not stupid, I knew this was not a good sign.

We built a jump, and at this point I have no board control either. I have no connection to the board. I’d only done one rail trip (at this point), so straight into filming. I hit the jump, try a few things and I end up hitting my head on a tree. It isn’t that bad, but as soon as I hit it I was hoping to be fucked enough to the point where I can take a break (from snowboarding) and figure this thing out.

I get back up and I’m super confused for a little bit. I check my head and it’s bleeding, but I can still stand so I decide to keep going. The next try, just to try and get this damn clip high so I can feel good again, I go for a double chicane when I can barely ride my snowboard. I explode in the landing, and that was kind of my breaking point. I’m just like, “I’m so done right now. I can’t keep going like this.”
Jumping back a little bit… During the summer before the season, my head was starting to feel really weird. It was bumping, like there was a heartbeat in it. It spiraled into me stressing about my head all the time and just became worse and worse. That added up with the anxiety and
depression on top of it. I was convinced that I was about to get CTE or something. My head
always went straight to the worst thing that could possibly happen.
I broke down after that day of riding. Finally I talked to Theo (Muse, who was filming) and Ulrik and told them that my head is fucked up, and that I had to figure out what was going on. I went home the next day, and went to the doctor in Iceland the following day, and they just told me that I’d had a burnout, basically. That’s what they called it. I was still so afraid about my head that I went and got it checked out. I did the (brain) scans and everything was good.
I learned later that season, and I’ve always been kind of too afraid to talk about this because I was ashamed that it wasn’t any big injury, that it was more the whole mental thing that was fucking me up completely.

But, and you obviously know this now, that’s just as dangerous and damaging. 

Yeah, it’s like an invisible injury. It’s so hard to talk about, like, what am I going to do? Am I going to tell the sponsors that I am too depressed to keep going? This was all new to me at this point, too. I had no idea what was actually going on. What I’ve learned, and am still learning—it keeps on going—was that this bump in my head, these heartbeats all over the place, it’s a warning sign that something is off. As soon as I’d get really anxious, I’d feel it come back again. That’s a classic symptom of anxiety. The anxiety was making it feel like I had heartbeats all over the place. On top of this, what sort of set it out of control, I was so nervous about this whole thing that I stopped sleeping, too. And as soon as that happened, it really spiraled out of control fast, like really fast. The only time I could sleep was when I’d drink. That didn’t help the anxiety or the depression.
You’re home now, you got the brain scan and thankfully it doesn’t show any major
damage. What do you decide to do for the rest of the season?
I talked to my agent Kristoffer. He’s my agent, but he’s also one of my best friends. He’s not just a business partner—he’s helped me in life with everything. I tell him what’s going on. He calls
my sponsors and lets them know what’s going on and that I need to get out of this project. There was no way I could sleep the rest of the season if I didn’t pull the plug on the project. That felt terrible because all the sponsors were so helpful, so down, like, straightaway gave a good budget for it. Everybody was just hyped that it was going down. Well, I wasn’t hyped, but I wanted to be.
It felt really terrible letting Theo, who was going to film and edit it, down as well. We pulled the plug on the project, and managed to change it into the Lobster Losers project. At least Theo
still had a project to work on and a solid budget to keep going. It turned out well, but I didn’t snowboard after January 12.
That entire season I didn’t do anything. I was so fucked—it was insane. I couldn’t do anything. I tried to go on walks every day; the doctor told me to start slow. I got a therapist to talk about all this stuff with and learn about it. But just going on the walks, I would be terrified of icicles falling down from the roof.
It was all so completely far from how I usually am. Usually, when I am snowboarding, I know about all the dangers, but I just see the positive, thinking, “It’s going to be so worth it if it actually works out.” But this was completely the opposite, my own head just mind-fucking the shit out of me. And I’m usually super good at mind-fucking myself in a positive way. (laughs)
Talking to a therapist was really nice. I recommend that for anybody who is going through something. It doesn’t have to be big. Just anything, feeling weird or whatever. It definitely helps. Then he sent me to see a psychiatrist, where I did a test for depression and anxiety. Scored super high on the test. That hasn’t happened in a long time for me on a test. (laughs)
I also scored super high for ADHD and ADD. Straight away he gave me an anti-depressant called Wellbutrin. They basically said that I wasn’t getting any dopamine. Those pills were like anxiety and depression medicine that gets you pumped up, kind of like ecstasy that dissolves and slowly pumps you up throughout the entire day.
It worked, for a while. I did that until I started feeling good again. But then there’s this whole new learning curve when you have to start learning what this whole thing is and how it works. That’s a big mission.
And it changes all the time. You kind of have to relearn everything—how to live with this thing, and how to keep it down somehow. When I hear “burnout,” it sounds like you’re fucked. I just picture paper burning up. I called it running out of battery instead because then I know exactly what I have to do. I have to recharge and restart and update myself to figure this out. I like to think about it that way instead of a burnout and not knowing what’s going on.
I definitely restarted and recharged, but I didn’t really update myself. As soon as I started feeling better, I went straight to my old routine again because I liked how I’d been doing things. I’ve just snowboarded and partied since I was 17, or snowboarded since I was nine, and that’s been the only thing I have done. Truth is I tried to go straight back into that classic way, and I was just setting myself up for another takedown.

// p: Elli Thor
Sometimes when working with a therapist, they give you exercises to retrain how you’re looking at the world. It can feel almost like you are brainwashing yourself, yet it can be helpful once you get past your judgments. Were you given strategies to refocus your perspective?
Yeah, he definitely gave me a bunch of advice to try and move forward. For example, in the beginning I did a gratitude list. I remember the first time after doing that, I looked at myself in the mirror and just saw myself wearing a poncho and those elephant pants, you know? (laughs) But then I tried to do it, because I’ve been hard with judging shit like that. I don’t even give it a chance to work. But I did.
I did this really easy thing, writing down three to five things you’re thankful for and what you have. Slowly, like you’re saying, it kind of reprograms your brain. Most of the time, the stuff you have to do is not really difficult. It almost sounds too easy. Meditation and that stuff as well. But it definitely does help. The hard part for me is keeping it up. As soon as I start feeling good again, I forget all the things that made me feel good and move on to my bad habits. Or maybe not bad habits, but my old self again.
I managed to actually do the gratitude list in a way that I was kind of hyped on. I changed it so I’d do three to four things that I’m thankful for, and then one that would bring a smile to my face. Like I would end it off with being able to give my friends a massive birdbath from my balls or something. (*If you are wondering what this is, ask someone who’s partied with Halldor and crew). I would always end it with one that I felt my old self would be hyped on. (laughs) That could be a good tip for somebody who is not hyped on that exercise.
The following season you continued to film for Scandalnavians, right?
Yes, but there are a few more things that got added on… My mom got diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer at that time as well. And COVID was all over, too. That was a big wake up call. Honestly, when she got diagnosed with cancer, I was almost pissed off at snowboarding for a little bit, because I’ve been at home with family so little all these years. That’s not the right way of thinking about it, but shit like that happens out of nowhere. That was not easy with the whole COVID shit going on because basically if she got COVID, she would die for sure.
She was dealing with that that whole summer. Did all the shit you have to do, chemo and all that. It was just a fucked up time. She had to get her stomach removed, so she couldn’t eat and all this stuff. Cancer, it’s really fucked up. One day it’s good news, and then the next day, bad news. So many ups and downs throughout her whole time dealing with this. All of the sudden, she was cancer free. And then the first checkup, this is in May or something, she got diagnosed again, like, all over. 
I am so sorry. It must have felt like life was coming at you from all angles.
Yeah. But there I was actually dealing with something that was hard, for real. Before I was just dealing with over pressuring myself and snowboarding. When something like this happens… I’m not going to say snowboarding doesn’t matter. Obviously it matters—it’s been my entire life, and I love it. But to be able to make yourself feel so shitty from snowboarding is insane, you know? Or putting all this pressure (on myself) just because I can’t deliver a better video part? Like, come on. What am I doing here?
I can imagine that being a difficult thing to handle and to wrap your head around, especially with the feelings of guilt about the time spent away from home. Though I am sure your family wanted you out there, doing what you’ve been doing.
So true. It’s not like I would’ve been happier if I’d have been working at a gas station and spent all of my life at home. It would have been terrible rather. Those times that we actually got together, that was nice.
But that stuff is really important. You hear it all the time and it’s always after you get into something serious. “You have to value your friends and spend time with your family. That’s what really matters.” I’ve heard it a thousand times but you just can’t get yourself in that scenario until it happens. At least I couldn’t.
You are really dealing with a lot at this point.
Yeah. I went straight in after all this stuff and signed on for Scandalnavians for the second year of filming. As we discussed, I didn’t update myself. I just went straight into filming again. Like, “Now I have had this one season off, I have to deliver something good again.”
I still had all these contracts going. And I still want to film. I still love it, but I’m just super lost at this point. I’ve always loved snowboarding—that’s never going to change—but I was figuring out how to deal with it, how to snowboard, or if I wanted to do it as a job.
I didn’t snowboard at all in 2019, after the breakdown, and went straight into filming the next season without having snowboarded for quite a long time. I didn’t snowboard for myself. I think that’s a really big mistake I made when I look back at it now. Just go somewhere and snowboard for yourself. No phones, no nothing. I think that is so, so important. Anyway, I didn’t do that. It went well. I was still weird, but not as bad as I was before because I had recharged and restarted a little bit. But I was still off. I was still having a hard time being in social environments. I was still struggling a lot. I didn’t enjoy it as much as before, that’s for sure.

Did you feel like your head was somewhere else?
I was not there that entire season when I snowboarded. I was somewhere in my head. Always. That fucks you up, and gets you so tired, when you are overthinking every single thing nonstop. Easy things, things that I did on autopilot before, like packing my bag, which is something I’ve done in 30 minutes before every trip for 10 or 15 years, probably more, was an insane task. Or cleaning around the house, or brushing your teeth even. 
But the snowboarding is still going well enough at this point, right? Your Scandinavians 2 part was solid.
I could still keep it going. I don’t mean to sound like everything was terrible all the time. It was definitely not like that either. So many ups and downs. The ups could last for quite a long time, but they were always followed by a down. I never dealt with that shit before.
I managed to film the part, and I definitely had a good time, even though when you’re in that negative (headspace), you don’t even see the fun parts. They disappear; your brain kind of deletes them almost, telling you, “This sucks.” You know that it’s not true, but it’s exhausting.
You finish filming for Scandalnavians 2 in the spring of 2020, and then later that year your girlfriend gives birth to your daughter?
Yeah. She was born in November 2020. Becoming a dad is awesome, but when I’m having a hard time doing the simplest things, that is not an easy add-on to the whole situation. I am really hyped on having a kid and becoming a dad, but it was really overwhelming as well.

Stadium staircase in Akureyri, Iceland. // p: GUNSHOW

Was it something you were planning on?
Kind of unexpected. We were not careful anymore, more like whatever happens, happens. We were ready for it, but not fully planning. It felt like good timing. I was turning 29. I was really happy—super nervous—but really happy.
I had actually gotten into a really healthy summer before she was born because my girlfriend was pregnant. We are best drinking buddies, and obviously there she couldn’t drink. We’ve never been as healthy as that before, so that was nice. When my daughter was born, I felt like I had to prove myself again. Prove that just because I had a kid, it doesn’t mean that I am slowing down. That’s pretty much the first thing my brain told me.
More pressure.
Like I haven’t really learned… Then again, I’m getting paid to basically film a video part. I don’t compete anymore. I can’t just be getting paid for snowboarding for fun. I have to deliver as well.
That pressure is still mostly internal, right? You don’t necessarily have sponsors telling you what to do or pushing you out there?
It’s 100% me, actually. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever had a sponsor tell me to do anything. But you want to keep everybody hyped, and you want to keep yourself pumped, too. I don’t want to get paid when I feel like I don’t deserve to get paid. I want to do the best job I possibly can. All my sponsors, they’re my friends. I want to keep them happy, and proud. I don’t want to under deliver. I’d rather over deliver.
And you planned on being home, working on Kozy?

Yeah. My friend Petter Foshaug, who made all the Factor Films movies back in the day, the movies that kind of got me on the map and started my career, he moved to Iceland. It felt like the perfect opportunity to be based out of Iceland and film as much as we could around here. I haven’t seen anything that Iceland has to offer. Every time somebody comes to Iceland for a week, they’ve seen a hundred times more than I have.
I was really happy to finally take the chance to go to all these sick places, spots I’ve been storing in my head. My expectation was that it was going to be this awesome winter with a lot of snow around Reykjavik where I live. I’d seen so many good street spots. I’d just had a daughter in November so the plan was to film from here, doing pretty easy, quick, in-and-out missions. I was so hyped to go and ride at the local resort that is like 30 minutes away from where I live. I could still be around. I wasn’t going to try to make the best thing I’d ever done and come into it with way too high of expectations like I usually do.
I called it Kozy to calm myself down. And then I have an excuse if it doesn’t go too well—it’s in the name! (laughs) That was kind of the idea behind that one. I was just hyped to see how this whole thing would go. But it ended up not being the season for it. The season in Iceland was disgusting, so insanely bad. It was windy the entire time, too windy for the resort to open almost the entire season. It was really hard to be motivated and to enjoy being on a snowboard again. You can’t plan a season in Iceland and think you are going to have good luck. There’s no chance. The weather here is so annoying and I just got that reminder, like, now I remember why I moved away from here. (laughs)

How were you doing with being a father, and handling everything you had going on? Did it feel at all like things were going in the right direction?
I had a really hard time going on trips. It didn’t snow in Reykjavik that entire season. It ended up only snowing some up north in my hometown (Akureyri), but that’s like going on a trip. It’s a five-hour drive. My family lives there, but going away from my daughter at one month old was not easy. It felt super selfish to just let my girlfriend figure it out with a one-month-old child. That was way tougher than I made it look with Petter and my friends.
I kept going, but I wasn’t enjoying riding. I was just filming again, straight back into filming. I felt terrible on my snowboard. I base everything in my life on how I feel on my snowboard, because snowboarding gave me my confidence, my happiness, my everything, since I was nine. When I feel shitty on my snowboard, I really do just feel shitty in my entire life.
I hadn’t felt connected to my snowboard, and hadn’t felt good on my snowboard now for three years. But I tried to do as much as I could. At this point, some people know what I’m going through, but I had this mission of just getting better and being able to escape the fact of having to tell others what’s going down.
That’s a hard part, too. You want that clean, happy ending, to just pop through the other side and not have to discuss it. Where it can be a thing of the past.
It’s a whole different game. Just being like, “I might have to talk about this shit all of the sudden.” I might have to actually deal with this in a little bit more of an open way. Not just with my closest friends and family. But barely them even. I tried to keep everybody away from it. It’s my girlfriend that gets the worst of it, but not even her. My therapist is the one that gets the shit. (laughs)
Good person to give it to.
I think it’s important to just let the people who you’re closest to know at least a little bit of what’s going on. They don’t have to have the entire update all the time.

Rock Lobster // p: Víðir Björnsson

Do you want to talk about how things went in the fall of 2021?

In October, it was fucked. That was a big take down for me and the whole family actually. Our grandpa died, and then the night before his funeral, my brother’s boyfriend died as well. Two weeks after that, my mom died. It was a heavy triple takedown.
Things can change so fast. It kind of opened my eyes. We have to appreciate friends and family, and you know, be around. We’ve been really fortunate up until now. My family had no idea how to deal with shit like this. It has been a big learning curve for everyone. Really opening everybody’s eyes up a little bit, to just try to enjoy things and not take everything so seriously.
You know, the classic… It basically is always the classic, simple stuff that it comes down to.
I’m so sorry. 

I really tried to get past this thing and not have to talk about it again. That was my whole goal for a while. That’s been sitting on me, too, because people thought I had a head injury. But it turned out it wasn’t.
That was the rumor about where you’d been, that you’d had a bad head injury.
I didn’t know how to deal with that one, so I just ran with it. Otherwise I would’ve had to tell everyone that I was just experiencing an insane amount of stress and depression and anxiety, like, that doesn’t count as an injury. You know what I mean?
Now, having gone through it, I can honestly say that it’s by far the worst injury that I’ve ever had to experience. Having your mindset getting fucked up, it’s the worst shit. It fucks you up big time, way more than a broken hand or broken ankle.
How do you feel partying has played into all of this? Are you taking it easy?
There’s no question about it, the partying does not help in this kind of situation. Obviously, we’re not idiots, and know that drinking until you blackout is not healthy in any way. But it can be super fun when you’re feeling good. I’ve been taking it, I’d say easier, with drinking. It’s something that I’m still figuring out a little bit, because I’m pretty bad at taking it easy. I don’t have a good stop button.
Like I said before, I was starting to drink to feel good again, or to be able to be myself again. I was drinking a lot for a while just to be able to cope with, I don’t know, answering the phone, or checking my emails or messages. I’ve mellowed it out a lot, but I still have some improvement to do in that area, for sure.
It’s crazy, man. It doesn’t take much to feel good again. I drink three, four beers and I kind of feel like myself again, and the depression and anxiety kind of disappears. I can actually look at messages again. I can answer people, and actually have a good time doing it again. If I’m not drinking, it can take me weeks just to open up my Instagram messages or emails. I’d make it into this huge thing. I was convinced that drinking was doing good things for me, no joke.
But then, after taking breaks, I’ve started to figure it out. And you have to take quite a long break. I hadn’t taken a month off—I hadn’t taken a week off—since I started drinking until I burnt out there in 2019. I’d basically gotten drunk every single week since I started drinking when I was 17 or 18. It’s been 10 years of straight, pretty heavy drinking. 
Today, when you look at Kozy, what do you think about it? Are you proud? Are you simply relieved that it’s done?
I’m relieved that it’s done, but to be honest, I’m not proud of it. If I could, I would have wanted to delete it. That’s my honest opinion about it. But I’m just talking about my part in it. I’m not talking about the editing or filming or anything like that. Petter did a great job. He was really trying to get me motivated and he was doing whatever he could to make it as good as possible. But just on my end, when I look at it, I see it as a failed mission.
It’s always so fun to watch your video parts and the projects that you’re in because of all the memories. When you watch them you get a flashback to every single day and that is such an awesome thing. It’s the memories that are really the sickest thing about it. And that’s the thing with this one—the memories are just not that good when I watch it because of what I was going through.
Do you feel like you can see the effects of all this in your riding?
Yeah. I can see it in my style. I feel like I have aged 10-plus years from one season to the next. My style, and just everything. I was just not stoked on how I was looking on my snowboard.
How has this affected your work with your businesses?
It’s been really tough. Even though I’m not doing as much of the business work, as long as I delivered on the snowboarding side of things, I would at least feel good. It is a different type of weight on you when you are the owner of a brand like Lobster and kind of the face as well. I used to have atrip, too.
What’s going on with atrip?

During COVID we decided to stop doing my atrip signature line with Horsefeathers. I’m actually happy, taking a little bit off of my shoulders, but I can still be involved in the designing of the Horsefeathers outerwear as much as I want. It’s kind of nice not having to design a full line. It’s a lot of weight because even though I’m not doing all the work, definitely far, far from it, I’m still the one who is standing behind it at the end.
Would it be ridiculous to say to your sponsors, “Hey, I need to completely step away for six months. You guys do what you have to do. I’ll do what I have to do.” 

I think most, if not all of them, would understand and back whatever I want to do. 90% of the time, if not more, it’s me that’s the main problem, because I can’t let things go, because I want to actually be a part of it; I want to do these things, and I want to do a good job in all of it. But it will wear you down, especially because I mostly think about all these things and don’t take much action.
Looking forward, you’re working on a recovery and getting your mental game back together. How are you envisioning your approach to snowboarding this year, or beyond that?
That’s been a really difficult question. At the lowest points I’ve been really wanting to pull the plug, full on. Like, “Fuck it, I can’t do this anymore.” I’ve been there maybe four times, where I am feeling like I have to get out of everything. But I can always tell myself that that’s not really how I feel. It’s not snowboarding’s fault. I can always bring myself back, but it’s been getting tougher and tougher. When it happens for the fourth time, it’s like, “Come on. Is this actually the way out of here?”
Right now, I’m in a good place, or way better than I’ve been. My main focus now is just to enjoy snowboarding again, to actually get hyped on going snowboarding again. Not trying to get myself to snowboard again. It’s been like that…trying to want to go snowboarding. The feeling of wanting to go snowboarding has been completely gone for way too long now. So I don’t know, I just want to snowboard again and find something that I’m hyped on. I don’t really know what that is. I’m still learning things all the time and I’m really taking the whole thing seriously now. I’m more mellow with drinking and all that stuff. It definitely helps. And honestly, I think I just need to get out of Iceland a little bit more just to cruise.
Might help you gain some new perspective, and pick back up on some other things you are passionate about, too.

It’s a really good thing to be open to change, and to change things up. It’s something that I think might have helped with the whole mental game if I would have been better at it. I was only snowboarding. I’d fallen out of skating and everything else. I was only snowboarding and drinking. I didn’t care about anything else. I had no idea what was going on in the world or anything except everything that was going on in snowboarding So as soon as that one thing gets fucked, you’re like, “Damn, I’m super lost.” I think you should always have something else going on the side, not just snowboarding.