From the mag

Øystein Bråten vs. Sarah Hoefflin

By: Ethan Stone May 08, 2019
This article has been adapted from the Winter 2019 issue of the Downdays Magazine.

One’s a young veteran from Norway, competing since his teens; the other Swiss, a late comer to the scene. Øystein Bråten and Sarah Hoefflin took different paths in skiing, both leading to slopestyle gold medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Photo: Emil Sollie/Red Bull Content Pool

Born: 21 July 1995 in Torpo, Norway
Currently residing: Ål, Norway
Hobbies: Skateboarding, tennis, snowsurf
Sponsors: Red Bull, Oakley, Völkl
Born: 8 January 1991 in Geneva, Switzerland
Currently residing: Chamonix, France
Hobbies: Climbing, mountaineering, golf, field hockey, glacier camping, watching documentaries, drinking prosecco, hiking, sailing, ping pong, table football
Sponsors: Faction, Oakley, Team Geneva, Loyco SA, Schweizer Sporthilfe

Photo: Klaus Polzer

Interview: Ethan Stone

What did you have for breakfast?
Øystein: Breakfast burrito.
Sarah: A Suisse, this delicious chocolate thing from a bakery in Chamonix.

Currently playing in your headphones:
Ø: Astroworld.
S: Lorde.

Current addiction:
Ø: Call of Duty World War 2 on PS4.
S: Drinking panaché and eating ice cream.

What inspired you to start freeskiing?
Ø: There are really good park skiers and freeriders where I grew up. After I went to the hill with my family a few times, I quickly found out that I wanted to be like those guys. I started to try tricks on some alpine skis, and after breaking those and another pair got passed down from my brother, I got my first twin-tip skis for Christmas when I was ten.
S: Some friends told me that my 360s with no grab on the side of the piste would easily win a university competition, where I could win some twin-tip skis. Since I'd only ever used punter (Americans call them gaper) skis my whole life, this sounded extremely appealing. They also told me how much fun it was to do a season in the mountains, so when I finished university I went to Tignes and loved learning tricks in the park.

Favorite skier growing up:
Ø: Andreas Håtveit. He lives 40 minutes from where I’m from, so he was always the big hero for all the skiers there. When I was 14 he invited me to come ride at his park. I still remember getting that text message from him.
S: Kelly Sildaru.

Skiers you’re watching now:
Ø: I get inspired every day by friends I ride with or skiers I see on Instagram. Some skiers I’ve always liked watching are Sammy Carlson, Kim Boberg, Antti Ollila and Candide Thovex.
S: Mainly the girls, I love how much their level is progressing! Tess Ledeux, Jennie-Lee Burmansson, Mathilde Gremaud, Giulia Tanno, Johanne Killi and Kelly Sildaru are some of my favorites.

Describe Øystein/Sarah in one sentence:
Ø: Always smiling!
S: Amazing skier and he's so talented.

Favorite trick that Øystein/Sarah does:
Ø: Her switch double 9 is really cool.
S: His double flat 9 from X Games Norway in 2017.

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Andorra clip 📹 @hunterhess10

A post shared by Øystein Bråten (@oysteinbraten) on

You’re dropping into a contest run. What’s going through your mind?
Ø: Don’t fall off the first rail early.
S: How much fun I'm having at that precise moment.

Rate the Olympics 1-10 and explain your rating.
Ø: I think the Olympics is a good concept that gives the sport more attention, something that everyone can relate to. When I started, freeskiing was far from being an Olympic sport, and my biggest dream was to be at the X Games. Even though it’s a lot of stress, qualifying and regulations leading up it, it’s still a good course and the best riding, so I would give it an 8.
S: Without the podium it would have been maybe a strong 6, because although I did love to visit Korea, I was so freaking nervous all the time. I had two bruised heels and a sore knee, so I wasn't really enjoying myself too much. But winning made it a 10 because everything was so crazy afterwards.

What’s the next big thing in contest skiing?
Ø: Ferdinand Dahl.
S: We're going to start seeing some doubles in girls’ competitions. All the girls are going to step up the level, and it's going to be so much fun to be a part of it.