Where Ya Been? Ivika Jürgenson Interview

Interview by Will Radula-Scott. Photos by Tim Schiphorst and Ponchikz

- Hey Ivika, how has your winter been? 

Hey! This winter turned out to be a really short one for me. I broke my elbow on the first trip of the season. It happened on the 1st of January, happy new year to me… I couldn’t snowboard until March. The rest of the season was kinda hard for me because my arm kept holding me back. Turns out that the metal pins they put in my elbow were poking in the muscle and causing constant pain and limiting the range of movement in my arm. I’ll get them taken out this summer, I cannot wait to get it done. 

- Where are you currently?

I’m in Holland right now.

- Before we get into what’s new with you and where you’ve been, let’s talk about the rise of ‘The Uninvited’ and filming a banging stand-out part for that project?

Thank you! Jess did a good job bringing a lot of talented snowboarders together! I was really honoured to have some of my clips in the movie!

- We feel like it was a great success in showing what the girls could do, even without support. What do you take from it and how do you hope it makes an impact?

It was definitely a great success! It’s the best all girl snowboarding movie, no doubt! I hope “The Uninvited" had a positive impact on both; girls and the industry. I hope this movie motivated more girls to get into street snowboarding and for the brands to back up their female riders more and create opportunities for them to get on filming trips and film for bigger movie projects. 

© Ponchikz Noseslide to nosepress in Kuopio. Printed in our last volume.

- Has it provided you and any of the other girls with more support going forward? Or has it just giving you the inspiration and motivation to prove that you don’t need support?

I believe a lot of the girls involved in the project got more support and opportunities out of it. I mean look at Maria, she put together a bangin’ ender part and the next thing you know she’s filming Real Snow!
I think support is much needed in filming a video part unless you’re lucky enough to live in a snowy city and have a crew around you who’s motivated to film. Otherwise it’s an expensive hobby; plane tickets, car rental, accommodation, filmer cost, etc…

- You had a “blow up” year, is that on your mind and how are you looking forward to topping last year, does that even figure for you?

In a way it does, if there’s no improvement then why put out another video part? I have a video project dropping this fall that I’m pretty excited about! I’ve actually been saving up shots for it since before the Uninvited came out. The Uninvited was a two year project, but a few other girls and I had already released a part after the first year, giving us one season to film for the full movie. I felt like I didn’t have enough footage to make a complete part for the full movie so I had to make the very hard decision to leave some of my shots out. I had filmed a few that were really special for me so I wanted to give myself a bit more time so I could make sure I would actually top my previous video part.

- What was your take on Real Snow this year? Especially as Maria was in it, also that Tim(boyfriend) filmed Will Smith’s part…? 

I was really glad to see that Maria was in it! I think it’s awesome that they decided to include a female rider as well. I was hoping she’d get the fans favorite title. It was really hard for me to divide my votes between Maria and Will/Tim. 

- So, Where Ya Been? You recently returned from a trip to Japan, right? Was that the first time you’ve been?

Yes, I had never been to Japan before! We stayed there for a month and so far, it’s the most exciting place I’ve ever been for snowboarding. 

© Tim Schiphorst Meeting the local residence in Japan.

- Did you go there for pow or for street?

Both. I had two trips planned in Japan. A powder trip with First Tours on the Southern Island, a break in Tokyo and a street filming trip on the Northern Island. Unfortunately, it didn’t snow at all during our “powder trip”. Here’s a little secret of mine; I’ve never ridden powder. I don’t live in a snowy place and I’ve only travelled to places for street snowboarding or for sunny spring park laps. Sadly, I didn’t get to experience it this year either. But the trip was still really amazing, powder or not. If it’s your first time in Japan then there’s so much more to it than just snowboarding. Also, the lack of powder didn’t bother me much because it was my first time back on snow after the injury. I was happy to cruise around in a sunny ski resort before the street trip started. 

- Do you want to stick to the streets or would you like to film more backcountry/pow?

You can ask me that question again next year. For now I’ll stick to the streets. 

© Tim Schiphorst Back board under the arches. 

- What did you make of Japan? What was your favourite parts of the trip?

Japan is so amazing! We spent the first couple of days in Tokyo. Tokyo was pretty overwhelming after spending the most of the winter in dark Northern Europe. All of a sudden there’s crazy lights everywhere, food in all sorts of cute shapes and colors, including Pikachu shaped food, a building high robot, vending machines that sell cat hats… and everybody is so friendly and helpful, even if they don’t speak English! 
My favorite part about Japan is that while you’re on a snowboarding trip it still feels like you’re on a holiday. I love it that every day you get to see something new and out of ordinary. Even my first encounter with the Japanese police was exciting, even if they were there to kick us out from a spot, and I ended up not getting a shot. Of course, it gets frustrating if that happens every day but it was just cool to experience it for the first time since you see it in so many videos and hear so many stories. 

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© Tim Schiphorst Not a lot of "Japanese Pow", but good times none the less for Ivika's first trip to japan.

- Favourite and worst food you had in Japan?

Tokyo has a lot of vegan food options, smaller towns, on the contrary, don’t have many options if you’re strictly vegan. If you’re on a filming trip there’s no time to drive to that one coffee place on the other side of the city that offers a vegan breakfast. We got our breakfast and lunch every day from 7eleven. I was basically just eating plain sticky rice cakes every day all day. My favorite food was probably Shin's ramen in Otaru. We stayed there for almost two weeks and we ate at Shin’s pretty much every evening. It was the only dinner place in town with a vegan option, and it ended up being the best vegan ramen I had in Japan. The owner was a really nice old man who spoke really good English. He felt sorry for me that I only got to eat one type of vegan ramen every night so he started making me different vegan dishes just to mix it up. Japanese people are so kind! 
The worst food was on my first night in Tokyo. I had done my research about vegan food that I could order in Japan. Natto rolls was something that stood out and people seemed to recommend it a lot. It’s basically just a sushi roll with fermented soy beans. So, on the first night in Tokyo we were a little late with dinner and got to a sushi place when they were taking the last order. Since I knew that Natto rolls were vegan I ordered like 3 portions of those. I’ve never tasted anything as gross as Natto rolls, it was so slimy and disgusting that I had to spit it out. Maybe they just weren’t good at that restaurant but I never dared to try them again. 

- How does it compare going on a trip with the girls to that with the lads?

It’s really different. I must say that I prefer going on a filming trip with the lads or a mixed crew more than with just a girl crew. I’ve been going on trips mostly with the Postland guys and I think seeing them hit big spots encourages me to step up my spot choice a little bit as well. They’re always supportive and pushing me to go bigger and better. I don’t get that feeling from riding in a girls crew. I think I’m more in my comfort zone when I’m filming with the girls. I don’t have anything against riding with girls but I feel like I get more done with the guys. 

© Tim Schiphorst & Ponchikz Ivika holds her own in the streets.

- Can you tell us what you have been filming for?

I’ve been working on a video project with Vans Europe. My injury pushed it into a two-year project. I really wanted to “top my previous part” as you called it in your previous question, so I’ve been trying to focus on hitting bigger spots, wallrides, lines, and more spots and tricks I haven’t seen before in videoparts. I’m super happy I got to see it through despite my injury. I really can’t wait to release it this fall!

- What have you got planned for you next trip? Anything for the summer?

I’d love to do some glacier boarding, I don’t have anything planned yet though. I’ll hopefully visit Zermatt and ride indoor a bunch. Those pins that are in my elbow right now have to get removed as well unfortunately.

© Ponchikz Get that shit dialed in the park. Switch Nosepress in Ruka.

- Have you finished filming for you current project or do you have more to fulfil? 

I’m finished. We’re just going through the editing process now and finding the music which is a whole other challenge.

- Thanks Ivika and lastly who's got your back?

Vans, Blue Tomato, Dinosaurs Will Die, Union Bindings, Dakine, Postland guys. I’m especially grateful to Tim and Kas for helping me to get back to hitting streets after the injury. 

© Ponchikz Winching in.