Photos, write up and gif from the first IDF TMI LilyHammer!
The UK crew for TMI Lilyhammer consisted of: Will Stephenson, Kolby Parks, Tom Campbell, Big Ben Stainer, Alex Bailey, Ras, Jenny, Aaron Skippings, Cam Deegan, Duncan Kay and myself (Connor Finch).
For a reason that I now cannot remember, we decided that we wanted to drive to Norway, it meant travelling through a lot of amazing places and in a way it was pretty fun. We arrived at the hill in the dead of night, driving up and down a few times trying to find the campsite gave us the opportunity to get overly excited about the road we were itching to go and skate!
30 minutes later we reached our campsite and home for the next few days, we mingled with skaters from all over the world and were greeted by the loudness that is Ras. Max Whipperman concealed in the forest, laden with axe and pure man strength, chopped down trees for the fire.
Everyone gathered some sleep,in-spite of high stoke levels. The morning began with leathering up and set-up tuning for an amazing few days of downhill fun. Nervously we took our first runs, the customary ‘chill’ run. The more runs we took the more confidence we gained and could start perfecting parts of the track.
The hill was one of the most fun I've ever skated, lots of sweepy grippy corners and some tight grip right handers as well as the three left handers that were defiantly drift corners. The pavement was butter smooth and alarmingly slippery, in fact something that came as a surprise to most of us was that scrubbed wheels gripped more than fresh ones… Strange eh?
We got the bus back to the campsite and sat around the fire with marshmallows! We decided to go and explore around the local area and found some really fun hills in the local forest, no cars and freshly paved black Tarmac with fairly steep corners! Most of our evenings were spent playing Kendama, socialising with other riders from around the world and skating the local forrest hills! In the Kendama battles with Aswag, Dillon Stephens and Adam Persson I didn't land a single trick, Even though I had been training my downhill Kendama skills at HogHill.
The next morning we were all given our transponders for the qualifying runs. The first half of the day was spent testing the timing system and so we squeezed in many warm up runs. Qualifying is a chance to test yourself and see how much you can improve your time throughout the day. The whole UK crew killed it and I had some of the best drops of my life, pack runs with Daniel Luna, Jimmy Riha, Dillon Stephens and Adam Persson.
We headed down to the waterfall at the bottom of the road, we all bravely jumped in, even though it froze our nips off, it was actually quite refreshing thinking about it now.
It doesn't get dark in Norway which results in staying up longer than you expected and being super tired in the morning. The UK crew were treated to free entertainment provided by team Venom, alcohol, cameras and puke and thats all I will say about that!
Racing day came and it’s all about having fun with your friends. Interesting fact: Justin Rolo was racing with a broken kneecap which is why he was going for the sandbagging technique, very impressive to win the whole bracket with such an injury! I only managed to get third in the my final heat however and the top two from each heat go though so I was out.
The UK crew then watched the top dogs in their heats and screamed through the finals. The end result was Thiago Gomes Lessa in first, Dillon Stephens in second, Aleix Gallimo third, and Adam Persson fourth.
Finally we started the longest car journey I have ever been on, around 30 hours driving each way… We drove to Amsterdam where we stayed for the night. Well I was asleep most of the journey but anyway we all got up at stupid o clock in the morning and started searching for a McDonalds to refresh us for the final leg home.
Overall I had an amazing time at the TMI Lilyhammer race, along with Kozakov it was probably one of the best experiences of my life and I can't wait to go back next year. I have progressed and a learned a lot this year.
The best thing about euro tour is making tonnes of new friends, travelling, seeing the world and making memory's that will last a lifetime and that is exactly why I love the Downhill Skateboarding community so much.
For more about Norway and LilyHammer watch this nice little video from Madrid.