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Halldor Helgason jumps on snowboard between buildings in Akureyri

The Helgasons are on board

Eiki and Halldor Helgasons, two brothers from Iceland pose for a photo in the snow with their snowboards

Text by Dísa Bjarnadóttir
Photos: Petter Fosshaug

Halldór wowed the judges at the 2010 Games in the Big Jump Category, scoring a gold and since then the brothers have gone on to start their own companies, get a place in Monaco, make videos and party. The brothers travel the world snowboarding and in between rest in Monaco to soak up the sun and charge the batteries. Lucky for us they had a brief stop in Iceland during the holidays and we got to ask them a few questions.

How old were you guys when you started boarding?
“I started when I was 12, in 1999, and felt immediately that this was my sport and have been boarding ever since,” Eiki says and Halldór adds, “I was nine and I just started because Eiki was doing it.”

Halldor Helgason snowboarding in a park near Akureyri, IcelandWas it popular in those days for people to be snowboarding?
“It was “fashionable” when I first started,” says Eiki. “A lot of people were doing it then but about two years later there weren’t that many left so there was really no place to practice. We and our friends started building our own stuff, like a ramp that we kept in our backyard and we also practiced on all the handrails in town. It eventually caught on and other people became interested again.”

Snowboarding off buildings at a farm near Akureyri in IcelandHow far away were the mountains from where you lived?
“It took us about 10-15 minutes to drive to the slopes. On good days we could go all the way to the top and board all the way down to our backyard, which was awesome!” the brothers say.

Did you have any snowboarding role models in those days?
“When we weren’t snowboarding we watched a lot of snowboarding videos so we really looked up to all the dudes in the videos. Two of the guys we really looked up to were JP Walker and Jeremy Jones,” they agree.

How did you guys become pros?
“It started with us making our own snowboarding videos,” says Eiki. “I borrowed my grandmother’s video camera and we started recording ourselves every day. Then we met Geiri (Ásgeir Höskuldsson) and he saw something in us. Because he believed in us, he started helping out with the videos and got us noticed. We got snowboards from a store called Brim in Reykjavik and then my friends Gulli and Viktor and I decided to go to Sweden and enter a snowboarding school. That’s where the ball started rolling and in 2006 I got my first sponsorship from Oakley and from Rome Snowboards the same year. After that there was no turning back!”
Halldór’s story is a little different. “I was lucky. I always got to tag along with my brother and his friends until they moved to Sweden. Then I stayed back in Akureyri for three years to finish school during which time my friends and I did a lot of filming. Every year I got to visit the guys for two weeks, which was awesome, and as soon as I finished 10th grade I moved out and spent one school year with all of them. During that year I got a sponsorship from DC and my ball started rolling too!” Halldór says.Halldor Helgason jumps on snowboard between buildings in Akureyri

From white mountains to Monaco

So you guys live in Monaco. How did that happen?
“It’s brilliant to live in Monaco. You can’t find a better place to chill out,” says Halldór and Eiki adds, “I always wanted to live somewhere warm where you can just chill out on the beach and Monaco is perfect. There are good mountains about 40 minutes away and we are closer to everything that has to do with the snowboarding world. It’s really nice when you’ve been “chasing the snow” to go “home” to the sun and nice weather to recharge the batteries.”

Eiki Helgason snowboarding in the town of AkureyriYou guys have also started businesses of your own. Would you tell us about that?
“Because we had separate sponsors we were hardly ever snowboarding together. When our contracts concurrently expired we saw it as the perfect opportunity to start our own business. We make snowboards that are a little different than the usual ones and we started with Lobster Snowboards using TBT (triple base technology) which means that the bottom isn’t flat but a little curved like a boat. This means that the board floats better in powder-snow and you’re less likely to fall forward or backward when stopping, which is great for beginners. It’s also easier to do tricks on the ramps because you can spin faster, so we would recommend them!” the brothers say.
“Then we started thinking it was weird that nobody was making snowboard belts so we decided to be the first ones. We make belts, shoes and other accessories and what’s really gotten us noticed are the shoelace-belts. You can see them at the 7-9-13 website. We also have a company that does snowboard bindings. What’s special about these is that there are no screws, except the ones to the board of course, and if you need to fix something it works like Legos—you don’t need a screwdriver—all the parts just snap in and out!”
Eiki and Halldór also like to help out their friends. “Hoppiholla Headwear is our friend who’s had this hat company for a few years just for fun and we decided to join in and help out. We make good quality hats that are getting more and more popular all over the world,” says Eiki.
“It’s way more fun to have your own company. You can do everything you want and when you do something good it all comes back to you, so as long as we’re not losing money on this we’re happy with it!” Halldór adds.

Winter sunset, Halldor Helgason walks up a hill with his snowboardWhat are your hobbies when you’re not snowboarding?
“I started out skateboarding, snowboarding was really just a way to be able to board during the winters but then I started doing really well on the snowboard, the focus shifted. But I love to skateboard and don’t plan on giving that up anytime soon,” says Eiki.

Who is Thunder?
“Thunder is Johannes Brenning, our coach. I met him when I had just moved to Sweden and he had just left the school that I was going to. He was editing and making videos and Halldór and I had just started our blog, helgasons.com. Johannes suggested that he’d join us and that we focus on our blog full time. Halldor and I knew that he’d be the right man for it because he gets so many strange and original ideas,” Eiki explains. “At the time that he got the idea for the video blog no one else was doing that in the snowboard scene so that was really helpful for us,” Halldor adds.

Any last words before we let you go?
“Check out www.helgasons.com for all the latest!”

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