Slick Swedish Snow Savages
TOR & KEVIN
Over the past decade snowboarding has been more and more separated into two distinct camps. On the one hand you’ve got competitive snowboarding: the Olympics, World Cups and big made-for TV events.
On the other hand you’ve got the artistic side of the sport that focuses on creativity, style and fun, all the things snowboarding really should be about. Every winter the riders that inhabit this artistic side of the sport are featured in various snowboard films and web series and there are a lot of creative riders and projects out there. But there’s one outfit that has almost single-handedly redefined this genre: the ‘Beyond Medals’ crew. Started by Swedish friends Kevin Backström and Tor Lundström in 2013, the ‘Beyond Medals’ crew really has picked up momentum in the last few years...
Apart from bringing out creative and fun videos with some of the most
style-conscious snowboarders like Sebbe de Buck, Ulrik Badertscher, Halldor Helgason, David Djite, Max Buri and the two head honchoes themselves in the mix, they have also grown their ‘Beyond Medals’ clothing line.
It’s been a long journey from when it all started as a relatively low-key web series in the build-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics. “We wanted to show a side of snowboarding that’s not so serious, that everybody forgets about when it comes to competitive snowboarding”, explains Backstrom, who together with Lundstrom was part of the Swedish national team until a visit to a strip cub changed their career paths forever:
“The strip club was really bad to be honest and I posted a photo and said how bad it was. I deleted it right away, but someone saved it and sent it to the news and they made a big story out of it. That ended up with me getting kicked off the national team and Tor left in protest, which I really appreciated.”
Shortly after the two friends started ‘Beyond Medals’ and did what they’ve always wanted to do: express their personality and individual style through their snowboarding. “We just started riding different things, you know, the whole mountain and not just man-made jumps”, says Lundstrom, with Backstrom adding:
“There are so many ways on a snowboard that you can be creative on and you just see so much different stuff all the time now and I really enjoy watching that.”
The snowboard community clearly enjoys watching the Beyond Medals videos and from their first web clips to their latest film release ‘Betty Ford’, the hallmark of their output has always been that people could relate to it.
“People could go out there with their homies and do exactly the same thing as we do”, Backstroem says. “And it’s nice that it inspires people in that way.”
Whether it’s the ‘Vacation Forever’ movie, their snow/skateboard and surf trilogy ‘Ichiban’, ‘Tredje’ and ‘Segundo’, ‘Betty Ford’ or the latest 'RELAPSE', their films really do focus on creativity, style and fun – both when it comes to the riding and spot selection but also with the editing, visual identity and soundtracks. They are basically style masters that like to have a laugh on a snowboard and that rings true to their extended ‘Beyond Medals’ crew as well.
“What is really nice and beautiful about the whole crew is that we’re around four to seven guys that’s known each other for a long time and we kind of grew up and travelled the world together, always supporting each other, so it’s been a lot of great years.”, Lundstroem muses and Backstrom nods in agreement and adds: “I feel so thankful that we’re able to do this, snowboarding with my best friends for a living is something We dreamt about since we were little kids. To be able to still do this feels crazy.”
Words: Goetz Werner Photography: Alex Roberts / Dominic Zimmermann beyondmedals.com
@torlundstrom @backstromkevin @alexroberts_photo