Henning Anderson Talks Olympics, Oslo And Half-Pipes

MTV Clutch caught up with Henning Anderson, the CEO of the World Snowboarding Championship, in front of the competition’s freshly built half-pipe to talk about how they’ve gathered the 200 best snowboarders in the world to compete for titles in half-pipe and slope style.

“We got the municipality to build two new slopes over here,” Anderson tells us. “People can go snowboarding and skiing while we have the championships going on. That’s a really cool thing.” Snowboarding and skiing by day, concerts hosted by the King of Parties, Andrew W.K., by night. It is as good as it sounds. Read on for Anderson’s inspiration and what makes it friendlier to snowboarders than the Olympics.

What’s the inspiration?
My inspiration is Wimbledon, the US Open and big events within [sports], where you create a great atmosphere that’s comfortable and cool for everyone to come.

In what way is the event friendlier to snowboarders than the Olympics?
It’s mostly because it’s done by snowboarders and not by skiers or the like. Anybody who really cares for a sport, you don’t want anyone else to run your sport. You want soccer to be done by soccer players or American football to be done by American football players or hockey players to run hockey. You have to think about the perfection of the pipes and the perfection of the slope. You have to care about the organization, the chiropractors, the services, the medics and the food. You have to care about everything to make a world class event. If you really don’t care about the sport it’s really hard to make it great. I’m not saying that the Olympics is a crap event because it’s actually a really good event and a big, exposed event, but the snowboard contest in the Olympics should be run by snowboarders.

Why is Oslo such a great place for this competition?
If you look around, we are in the city limits. As far as I know, it’s the only capital in the world that has a full-fledged alpine resource within its city limits so it’s not far to travel. That makes it really cool because you can enjoy all the flavors of the city with concerts, parties and great restaurants. At the same time it’s only a 20 minute bus ride and then you’re in winter wonderland. That combination is pretty rare. I’ve been traveling all over the world to snowboarding events and most of them are in great resource, but not in the middle of a city.

Can you tell us about the dimensions of the new half-pipe that was built?
The half pipe is 170 meters long and the walls are six meters high. The athletes make turns and they make tricks when they go down. They take maybe five to six hits in the pipe and go from three to six meters above the coping around 60 kilometers an hour.

How does that compare in size to other competitions?
This is the standard level of the X-Games or the Olympics or the other snowboarding championships. You can’t really build it any bigger because it challenges the limits of physics.

What about the new slope style course?
It’s 750 meters long and has six obstacles–three jumps and three rails. The athletes can reach speeds up to 70 to 80 kilometers an hour.

What is your ultimate goal for WSC?
My ultimate goal is to just make a great event that, when it’s done, all the riders say that it’s the best event ever. That’s the test: Who’s coming and what they say. Do they like the slope? We know that now, they said that the half-pipe is fantastic and the slope style is fantastic. And [you hope that] a lot of people come out, of course, and enjoy the facilities.

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