Ståle Sandberg’s summer—like that of the rest of us—has looked a little different this year. There’s been no Southern Hemisphere park laps, no off-season surf vacations, no adventures typical of warm season downtime for the Norwegian style savant, but if the change of pace has opened up new opportunities for Stale. In addition to spending time with his family and honing his fishing skills, the Oslo local has been exploring more of the mountains in Norway, setting off on foot-powered missions with friends into the mountains surrounding Stryn, a sprawling, partly glaciated zone with loads of terrain opportunity. As we look forward to the start of winter, we caught up with Stale about what he’s been up to, what he’s thinking when it comes to the season (as far as can be told), and his new outerwear (and more) collection with longtime sponsor Oakley, which is hitting shops this fall. Stale’s riding cannot be categorized by his terrain preference—his applies flawless style to whatever is in front of him, be it park cheese wedge, backcountry line, or natural transition, and his deliberately designed Team Collection follows this lead, blurring the line between performance, function, and style by providing protection and purpose on hill with aesthetics that are easily applied to off hill exploits. Read on to learn a little more about the process of creating his signature outerwear, as well as what he’s been up to, how high he can jump, and whether he’s planning a banked slalom tear in the future. – Mary T.Walsh
You posted a video last month where you did a stationary jump over a bar that was almost as tall as you are. It was crazy. How high was that bar? How long have you been training to be able to jump that high?
Haha. That was nipple height. My nipple. We used to do that quite a bit years ago, but I haven’t trained—or you can say I have trained for a long time because I just have been active since I was a kid, jumping on everything for snowboarding. Lately I’ve been doing a bit more of that since we’ve been home and we haven’t snowboarded too much. It’s kinda cool, just like when you’re like with the boys, it’s an easy thing where you can see when you actually get better rather than strength or endurance. It’s fun. It’s the kid inside, you know? At some point I gotta get higher than my nipple.
Maybe like chin-high?
Or jump over smaller person?
How is summer been in Oslo for you?
It’s been a bit sad not being able to travel to go snowboarding or warm water surfing, but it’s opened up stepping back a little bit, enjoying family back home and just slowing down. So, it’s been really nice. I went to my family’s place where my mom grew up. I hadn’t been there for five years and I was there for three weeks in a row, just fishing and hiking. Super quality family time. I’ve been on the road since I was 13 or 14-years-old, so to actually able to be with my family for three weeks was super nice.
Yeah, that’s amazing.
Also, in April and May, with not being able to travel, it allowed us to explore Norway a bit more in a way that we haven’t done, hiking, camping, snowboarding and sleeping in the snow and stuff, which was really cool. It opened up a new excitement for exploring.
I watched the video you made about going up to Stryn. Is that the trip you’re referring to?
Yeah, we went there three times, actually. So, we went on a bigger trip where we actually went sleeping in the snow and we made some proper jumps. I filmed a video from there, but I haven’t made it because I have just been—I went into summer mode, you know?
Totally. Stryn looks amazing. What was the first trip like?
Yeah, I mean that video that I made was kind of a more spontaneous trip. We just were like, “Oh, the weather looks good. Let’s go camp.” We didn’t bring a filmer, just brought our phones and an action camera and didn’t really focus on filming. We were just cruising around, having a good time—me, Torgeir [Bergrem], and two other friends—and it just became the most crazy trip of my life. Super warm weather in April, camping by the lake and then just hiking these crazy mountains, riding super fun terrain. It just all worked like a dream and no hard times, just fun, so that was amazing.
It looks beautiful. Is that area a glacier?
Stryn is a glacier area but there are also big mountains, so we weren’t on the glacier at that time. During that trip we found this zone we really wanted to go back to. We were just waiting and waiting for good weather again ’cause we didn’t want to go and just wait around in the hammock, ha. So we actually waited until very end of May to go back. There was still enough snow, so I think we slept five nights, and actually filmed some proper snowboard clips and built some pretty cool features.
That’s rad. And you were winter camping that whole trip, as well—or like winter camping in this summer, I guess?
Yeah. So actually, in April we were camping by the water, so it was warm. But this time we were camping in snow. We built a little fort in the snow and put tarp around. It was super fun.
Had you camped in the snow before?
No, it was my first time, so it was cool. But it was a very pleasant experience because we had perfect weather. I was never cold.
On a trip like that, it’s probably a bit cooler in the morning and then by afternoon has warmed up and you’re hiking and what not—you probably need pretty versatile outerwear. What kind of what kind of function or features do you want in your outerwear for days like that?
Yeah, you want layers so you can dress on and off, but then that every layer can be used as a style piece, too. If you look good, you ride good, ha. I think you want everything to be technical and have a purpose, be waterproof, and also lightweight so you can easily take things off and pack them into your backpack—it’s supposed to make your life easier.
The attributes you’re describing seem to be hallmarks of your new signature outerwear collection with Oakley—there is versatility where the pieces in the collection are able to work together for different conditions, but then everything also has a sense of style that you can take outside the mountain and still feel stoked.
Yeah, that’s what I tried to do with this collection. When I am traveling for winter and I pack my bag for like two to three months, I can’t fit my entire closet, of course, so I need something that works as a layer, but also as style piece for snowboarding or even to go to the bar or dinner. So, I tried to make pieces that you can use for everything.
There is also a fleece hoodie and fleece pants, the TC Hoodie and Pant, that are made of 100% recycled materials, which is really cool.
That’s important and something hopefully we can move forward with, to be more and more sustainable, but we have to take a step at a time. I mean, we’re snowboarders and we take a lot of planes so we can’t look at ourselves as the best ones, but we can do our part where we can, you know?
Oakley has been a sponsor of yours since the beginning and you’ve been collaborating with them on outerwear for a while now, but what was the process like this past year, going from the ideas you had for this gear to getting the finished product in your in hand?
This this time was a lot different than the previous times we’ve done it because there was so much more to it. It wasn’t just one jacket, it was multiple jackets, flannel shirts, goggles, helmet, vest, puffy jacket…. I actually went to Milan [to Oakley’s offices in Italy] three times. It was a bigger process, but I thought it was really cool to go there and actually sit in the room with designers, touch fabric and this and that, and come up with ideas together. There is so much about the fabric and the fit of the jackets and pants. It’s hard to explain that, rather than if we’re actually there together measuring and talking about it. I’m super happy about how it turned out. I’ve been riding it for this past season, and it’s been my favorite jacket and pants I’ve ever ridden.
Of course, right now exactly what winter will look like is a bit up in the air, but things are looking good that we will be able to snowboard as resorts work hard to figure out the safest ways to operate. Considering that, do you have any plans you can share for the winter or is it too early to say?
Oh, it’s hard to know. We’ve been away for so long, I’ve got to turn the button on again, but It’s about to turn on. I think I will for sure do X Games, hopefully Dew Tour, I mean, it’s an Olympic qualifier season, so maybe I will have to do a couple of World Cups if I want to make it in the raffle. I’d also like to film a bit more. Since a lot of contests are getting postponed or cancelled, I’d like to actually take some time to go film backcountry. There are some rumors that Mr. Gimble God and I might each have a sled, so that could create some new opportunities for more time in the deep snow. I’d like to explore more of that. I did a little bit last year too, but I think it’s time for me to go a bit more in the backcountry.
But other than that, I don’t have exact plans yet. I normally don’t, either. Yeah, I know the competition schedule, but then it’s like, Ah, we’ll film, as well all the time. But I never plan too far ahead because we never know where the snow will fall first, so have to kind of wait and see.
Earlier this summer, back around June, you did a banked slalom at Folgefonna and you were first, Alek Oestreng was second, and Terje was third. Terje is pretty good and as you have recently topped him at a banked slalom, will that influence any future competition plans, like maybe heading to the Baker Banked?
We went camping on that trip, too, by the glacier lake, in a hammock, with cows, ha. I think actually every trip I’ve been snowboarding this summer, I’ve been sleeping outside. It was super fun, super good weather, good vibes, for sure. It was super crazy to beat Terje in a banked slalom—I mean, it was not only banked turns, it was kind of like an obstacle course, you could say. But no, that is something I was proud of, for sure. Terje’s fast. This day I was faster, but…. I’d like to do more banked slaloms, it’s good vibes. Competitive, but not scary like when you come into slopestyle contests and you gotta chuck a triple, even if the jump is big or small, ha. It’s who’s fastest; it’s straight up, no questions. Go as fast as you can and go party afterwards.
My final question is, earlier this summer you posted a photo of a really large fish that you had caught. What is that fish?
It was a cod.
Do you catch them and cook them up and stuff?
Yeah, I learned how to make filets this summer. Not that it’s too hard, but to cut and try to not get bones. Then I made fish tacos. I cooked them in the oven with flour and egg, and then I put crunched cornflakes on the outside. I was pretty proud of that because Torgeir and his girlfriend came by because they were heading north, and I cooked them fish tacos with cod and cornflakes, ha.