Nils has been around for a fair bit now, and he’s been ripping since day one! From seriously competing a while back to putting together outstanding all-terrain video parts, there is no doubt that, to this day, he’s one of the so-called “natural talents” out there. As a person, Nils is a genuinely funny, friendly, and humble man who obviously made many friends along the way. That’s why we thought it would be fun to ask a handful of them to send us some questions and topics to talk with him.

This is the “catch-up/mash-up” interview with Nils Arvidsson.


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© Matt georges  - The key is to focus on the end of the rail


Hey Nils, how’s it going?
Good man, how are you?

Pretty good, thank you. Okay, so for this interview, we got a bunch of your friends to ask you some questions. From now on, all the following questions are coming from your entourage. I organized them so it makes some sort of sense and feels like a natural conversation. We’ll most likely improvise, though.
Sounds cool.

This first question is from Kuske (Kristofer Fahlgren, videographer): “I heard you recently moved to Stockholm (something you’ve been talking about for about ten years.) You think you will stay there and have that as a base for the winter, or will you move back to your beloved Järvsö as soon as the winter hits?” 
I’ve been talking about going to Stockholm for a long time, and now it has finally happened with the help of my girlfriend. So it’s a cool experience, and I’ve always wanted to do a full summer there, but I’ve never seen myself living there during the winter because of the lack of snowboarding around there. So, the plan has always been to be in Stockholm for the summer and then be up here or somewhere where I can snowboard more during the winter. 

That makes sense. Kuske also asked: “If you were going to stick with the Big city life now?” It sounds like you have a different life plan already.
Yeah, I kind of do. Ideally, it would be so sick to have a house in Järvsö and an overnight apartment in Stockholm, so you have a bit of both. I definitely prefer this life to the big city life.

Yeah, Daniel Bernstål (photographer) asked: “When were you going to move back to Järvsö?” and said he “misses seeing you there, and so does everyone else.” Everybody is so afraid to see you leave Nils!
*laughs* Yeah, man. I’M BACK BABY!

*laughs* That’s all good. The city offers many things to experience, like concerts and such. Knowing that you’ve been to many shows, Ivika (Jurgenson, professional snowboarder) was curious to ask you: “What’s the best concert you’ve been to lately?”
Oooh, for sure, the Rancid show at the beginning of this summer in Stockholm! That was amazing. It was kind of like right at the start of when I moved to Stockholm. A bunch of homies from back home showed up, my girlfriend tagged along, and we had a super good night. The show was really cool, too. They had just released a new album but only played one song from it. The rest were all the hits that we all wanted to hear.

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© Markus Rohrbacher  - Finding spots where others don't


That sounds cool. Knut (Eliassen, Nitro Snowboards handyman) has a bunch of questions related to the so-called “punk” culture, so here’s one: “As long as I have known you, Nils, you have been a skate punk and carried that style naturally throughout the years - where did this come from?”
It came from the days I got inspired to start skateboarding and snowboarding. It was all about “skate punk”. That got to me, and I started listening to Millencolin, Rancid, and all those bands very early on. We even had that record label in Sweden called Burning Heart Records that I got to visit and get a bunch of merch from. Watching all those skateboard and snowboard movies with those soundtracks really appealed to me. And also the style of clothing, how they looked, their attitude. It was cool.

Knut was also wondering: “What other punk snowboarders do you look up to?”
Initially, I looked up to the Forum 8 crew, where Peter Line was the most stylish guy. Then, of course, Scotty Wittlake was a really punk guy in that sense, too.

They still are.
Yeah, still are, for sure. I remember meeting Peter Line in Annecy at the Reels festival a couple of years ago, and I was so “star-struck” sitting and chatting with him. *laughs*

Speaking of two punks hanging out at a snowboard event, this one from Kareem El Rafie (professional snowboarder) might ring a bell to you: “How many hotel Roots have you trashed at Frontline Railjam?”
*laughs* Oh wow, Frontline Railjam has always been such a fun contest, and the party nights are a big deal at this event. I went all in at the beginning when I was younger there. I got kicked out of the parties quite a lot, and Kareem had to step in there and tell me that I was done for the night. *laughs* a bunch of times. One time, I did win best trick on the down flat down after drinking all night and feeling a bit drunk still. I heard Halldor (Helgason) had a similar story there. For some reason, it just worked out that day. Oh, and I did trash one bathtub in the hotel when I threw a bottle in there, and it broke. I think Kareem got a pretty big bill from that.

Wait what? Did you break the bathtub with a bottle? I’ve never heard of something like that. *laughs* Do you think you could still do all this kind of stuff today?
Yeah, man, I did, and no, I enjoy the bathtubs these days. I lay in them with hot water for hours… *laughs*

*laughs* That sounds about right. Maybe you can help us pick some relaxing bathtub music with this question from Bruno (Rivoire, Vans TM). He wanted you to tell us: “Five Swedish punk rock bands that should not be missed.”
Oooooh [ed. It took a couple of days for Nils to come up with a list, and here it is]: Millencollin, No Fun at All, Nationalteatern, Asta Kask, Ebba Grön.

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© Markus Rohrbacher  - Four steps to become rider of the year


Still from Bruno: “With an unlimited budget, what song would you pick for your video part?”
Man, fuck. That depends on the video part I have and how it looks, but it would’ve been sick to use a song from Iggy Pop. I’ve been thinking about that for a while. I never thought of an actual song from him that I would really use in my part. I Wanna Be Your Dog, of course, but I think it has already been used.

Yeah, it has. But it’s funny you say that because Julien Haricot (aka Larrogs, Bataleon TM) recently told me this story where he wanted to use it for his part in a very punk and pretty old French movie called Psykopit. Have you seen it?
Yeah, I have, actually. It’s a pretty wild one!

Yeah, so his part ended up being edited on Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure. Apparently, they did a first cut with I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges but decided to change it after Fred Mortagne (FrenchFred) brilliantly used it in the Flip Skateboards movie Sorry. Julien was pretty upset, so they went quite the opposite way with that Cure song. It’s funny how things work because no one knew that, but still, that part with that song became so legendary, at least for us in France.
Yeah, that’s why it’s so hard to say that you want a specific song because it has to match the clips and the vibe of the part. But yeah, an Iggy Pop song could be cool. I’ve used a Rancid song before, but many of those songs are hard to match in a snowboard part. It can’t only be a song that you really like. It has to work well to edit, too. 

Bruno also wanted to know on video parts: “Which full part are you the happiest about looking back at your career?” 
Yeah, definitely my Scandalnavians part where I felt like I had time to really focus on just that project. Back then, we had a good crew, so we could always help each other out and ensure we were clipping and getting stuff done on the road. A lot of the other times, when you have a video project, you often have other stuff to do and can’t be out filming as much as you would want to. For Scandalnavians, I had a lot of time to film and got a lot of stuff done.

I suppose that if your mind is focused on one thing only, it will be easier to achieve and look better. As a good team manager, Bruno would also like to know: “Do you feel that you still have your best all-time part in you?”
Actually, yeah, I do! I feel that I can do better. It would take another year like that Scandalnavians one, where I can only focus on filming for one project. But yeah, I feel like I can do a better part.

That’s cool to hear! It sounds like you’re still very hyped. Knowing that you are, Knut asked: “What is it about snowboarding that keeps you still so motivated to go out and film tricks?” 
I don’t know. I still think it’s super fun. I still think it looks amazing. I feel like I still have some stuff I want to do in me. When I travel around, I always keep an eye open for spots. I love that whole search thing where you look for spots and figure out what to do there. Even if the trick selection might not be as crazy as where my mind was going back in the days, I now think of cool spots I want to ride and tricks I feel comfortable doing on them. I focus more on making tricks look better rather than trying to make the hardest trick. Figuring out the backcountry as well is very interesting. I feel like I have a lot more to learn there. There’s a bunch of stuff to do that keeps me motivated.

Knut also wants to know: “What are you still trying to accomplish?”
I don’t know about the whole accomplishing thing. I’m just trying to enjoy myself and explore new things. Of course, it would be nice to do more video parts that I can look back at. Or at least something that can never go away, be proud of and find joy in it. 

It sounds like the way Jérôme Tanon  (craftsman photographer) sees you!

*laughs* Yeah, because this is his question for you: “Did you ever want to make it big in snowboarding? Or did you just want to ride, ride, snatch the minimum sponsors to travel around and shoot? It seems to me that you could’ve easily made it bigger but were never attracted to the fame.”
*laughs* Yeah, I mean, I never thought of making it big in that way. I just wanted to have this lifestyle and be able to go around, snowboard, and explore. I wanted to do what I saw my idols do in those snowboard movies that I watched every day growing up. Of course, it’s also been in my mind to try and make it bigger, but I never really was the kind of person to push for sponsors or toward a specific direction. I’ve always been happy with where I was and the opportunities that came to me. I never really fought too hard to make it bigger or better.

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© Matt Georges


Does it mean you don’t “watch slopestyle contests or get inspired by them anymore?” Bruno asked.
I rarely watch slopestyle contests, to be honest. I do sometimes, and I think checking in and seeing the level is fun. It’s really impressive. It’s also cool to watch some of my friends that are out there competing. But I don’t follow it religiously. I think it’s cooler to watch women compete these days. It just looks better. It’s hard to show the style in men's competition. Also, since you know some of the guys, you know exactly what will go down. It’s more entertaining with the women, and it’s so sick to see the progression. 

Bruno wanted to know about progression: “Have you witnessed any huge evolution in the act of snowboarding?”
Yeah, like with women snowboarding, I remember watching Tara Dakides’ parts back in the day, and it would be so sick, and now they’ve been killing it even more. Then again, what the men are doing in slopestyle is insane. It’s super impressive. I don’t know if I’m inspired by it, though, but it’s definitely impressive.

Knowing that “you’ve traveled from major video part to the digital era,” Bruno also wondered “if nowadays you think Instagram makes it easier or harder for snowboarders to turn pro and leave an impact?”
I mean, yeah, it’s probably easier to have an impact and make a name for yourself with Instagram. You don’t have to go through contests anymore. It would probably be impossible to do both today if you're more into filming. If you want to make it in the contest scene now, you have to be insane and focus so much on that. Nowadays, you can start filming with your homies and upload stuff on Instagram. I guess that’s cool. But for me, it kind of sucks to have that thing over your shoulders where you need to get more followers and post stuff. You get more concerned about what you post. I remember in the beginning when it started, it was just super fun to post stupid shit that you didn’t really care about. Now it’s become like this big thing. I like the “stories” part about it, though. That’s not so serious, and I feel like you can just post whatever.

Yes, because they disappear, or at least we think they do. Anyway, Bruno also wanted to know: “If you thought the basics remain the same?” I don’t understand that question, to be honest. I guess the basics always remain the same, Bruno…*laughs*
*laughs* Yeah, dude! I feel that a lot of people get bored watching contests and seeing these guys doing tricks so far away from what they’re actually doing. It’s not speaking to a lot of riders that are out there just trying to have fun. Like with the older generation and the kids they are bringing up to snowboarding, we’re seeing a lot of the bank slalom events in Sweden that are bringing many people together. When I was growing up, there were many simple and fun slopestyle contests aimed at younger generations, and they’re rare now. Everything is still a lot focused on the big stuff. And if you look at snowboard videos, the evolution is going towards a more creative vibe than doing all the crazy tricks you can see in the contest scene. I like that progression and where it’s going. Although it would be sick to see more people filming both street and backcountry. Back then, you would film like both and aim to make a strong part with big stuff in it. Now, it’s become a lot more separated.

It’s a good time to bring in Benny’s (Urban, professional snowboarder) question, so here it is: “Nils, you are known as a very creative and versatile snowboarder. Someone who can jump, ride the streets, and kill it in the powder too. So, what were you thinking when you were the first one to ever try a triple cork? Especially switch bs? Let‘s hear the process.”
*laughs* Yeah, that was fun. It was kind of at the beginning when people were doing double corks, and I’ve always felt like I had good air awareness. We had this jump close to where I went to snowboard school, and we were there one evening for a private session. They would work the landing for us so that it would get kind of soft. That’s when I started trying a bunch of doubles, and it worked well. For some reason, spinning switch backside gave me a lot of momentum. So I did, like, switch backside double 12 there, and I had the feeling that if I just gave it a little bit more on a bigger jump, I could do somewhat of a triple cork. A little bit after that session, there was a contest in Sweden called the Oxbourn session. That jump was pretty big, and the vibe there was insane. They had this light show, and it was during the evening with a bunch of people around, so everybody got pumped up. I remember I did a bunch of doubles, and on the last jump for me that night, I said, “fuck, I’m just gonna do it.” *laughs* So I went for it and was so close to landing it. That would’ve been the first triple cork landed, and I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t go up and try it again. I was not trying to be the first or whatever. I was just trying to do it.

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© Matt Georges  - Railedge?


That’s wild. Your career would’ve taken a different path if you had landed it that night. Actually, Len Jorgensen (professional snowboarder) thinks that if you had: “you could have started a successful YouTube channel called Nils with Skills.”  *laughs* 
*laughs* Yeah, who knows, man! I guess it’s not too late.

Yeah, you could do some tutorials on almost landing Never Been Done tricks (NBD). Actually, Knut was wondering: “How many NBDs have you done throughout your career?” I guess we should add ANBD (Almost Never Been Done) tricks to that question now… *laughs*
*laughs* Yeah, man, I have no idea. I don’t think it would be that many. I mean, I was doing a lot of shifty-shifty tricks back in the day. Like Fs 1260 sad with shiftys in the middle.

Yeah, it was a weird era, that “shifty-shifty” one. Knut, in fact, was concerned that you might’ve been “a little too ahead of your time” and was afraid that maybe you felt like “you did not get the full return on your send-it investment.”  
*laughs* Dude, I don’t know. I was just thinking of what kind of tricks I wanted to do. I never thought about it too much.

Keep that “send-it” investment concept in mind for your upcoming Nils with Skills YouTube channel… *laughs* 
*laughs* Yeah, man, I’m gonna bring it back even though it’s hard to keep up with the sending these days.

This next question is from Alex Roberts (photographer): “What’s your favorite photo (of yourself) ever published in a magazine, and what makes it so special? 
Wow. The first one that comes to mind is a cover shot for Desillusion mag that Jérôme Tanon shot. It was just me standing. I really like Jerome’s way of shooting photos and developing his stuff. And to me, this photo means a lot. We were up in Trout Lake, Canada, filming in that zone called “Shandi Land.” The shot was taken just when we entered the area and discovered one of the most amazing places you can snowboard in. When I look at the photo, it brings me back to a good place, and that feeling kids have when they step into a candy store. I’m happy it ended up on the cover of such a cool magazine.

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© Matt Georges  - Human pinball or chill in the car? Easy choice for Nils


Since we’re talking about covers, Len's question sounds right to ask now: “Nils, you had a sick cover on Snowboarder Mag going down a steep rock face. Did you tell yourself it was like normal conditions back in Järvsö to psych yourself up?”
*laughs* Yeah, that one was in South America. We built a hip into this super steep rock wall where I did a frontside 90, so landing switch down that rock wall. I had dropped in the wall before, so I knew that it worked to ride on. Of course, jumping into it and landing switch was scary. It could’ve stuck and thrown me tumbling down the rocks. I just believed it would work, and it did, so that was good. 

I don’t know if that’s “the scariest/gnarliest thing you've ever done on a snowboard,” but I know that Kareem El Rafi wants to know what that would be.
The scariest thing I did was a heli drop in Chile when I was filming with Rip Curl. We were looking up at a really steep face with a bunch of rocks on it, and in my mind, I was going to be dropped off at one spot, but I was dropped off at another. It was even gnarlier as I only had a square meter spot to stand and strap in, with certain death on many sides.

Yep, that sounds scary, all right.
Yeah, and I’ve never really been in a situation like that, and the only path that I could ride off was really steep. It had rocks below it, so I had to do a turn and then cut underneath the rocks again. It was a new experience to be in such an exposed zone and riding that steep terrain. When they dropped me up there at first, I had to figure out if it was even possible to go down. Strapping in up there was sketchy. So I dug a little platform to stand on, and when I finally was ready to go, both my legs were just shaking. Then the heli came around and did the sign, I did the sign, and as soon as I jumped into the snow, it instantly got quiet, and my legs stopped shaking. I was just focused on what I was doing, and I rode down, and it worked out. It went from being the worst feeling ever to the best feeling ever. I’m grateful for that moment. It was sick.

That’s insane. Would you want to repeat that experience?
I do, yes. *laughs*

Okay, it was good to catch up like that, Nils! To wrap this thing up, I’d like to ask you this very profound question by Alex Pfeffer (videographer): “What’s your spirit animal, and why?”
*laughs* Oh shit. I don’t know, man, that’s a hard one. Maybe just a free-flying bird. A raven, I want to be a raven because raven’s are so cool. They are so mythical here in Sweden since the whole Viking age. They are kind of smart, like me. They like to play, just like me. *laughs* And they fly free and do what they want.

But then: “Why do your friends call you Cobra?” Knuts conveniently asked.
*laughs* I and a couple of snowboarding friends, Jonas Wilhelmsson and Jonathan Nilsson, started the “Demon Cobras Club,” a motorcycle gang but in snowboarding, that’s why. *laughs* I would even do like the cobra sign when dropping in contests like at Air and Style [ed. Nils made the cobra sign pointing at me, and even with a computer and several thousands of kilometers between us, it felt quite scary].

If that whole interview were some sort of cheesy test in a questionable psychological magazine [ed. maybe it is actually], you would see yourself as a raven, but people would see you as a cobra. I’ll let you think about that.
*laughs* Yeah.

Last words are yours, Nils:
Thanks to everyone for these fun questions, Methodmag, my sponsors, and snowboarding. Hell Yeah! It’s been a fun chat, thank you!

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© Markus Rohrbacher  - ...