Last May, Naima Antolin spearheaded a trip to Riksgränsen, Sweden along with Darrah Reid-McLean and Phil Hansen. Riksgränsen is an iconic destination full of snowboard history, yet it is so far removed from the North American snowboard scene that a lot of riders here haven’t even heard of it. Filmer Kevin Nolan caught up with Naima to get the inside scoop on the trip of a lifetime.
Kevin Nolan OK, so let's start from the beginning. How did you get the idea in your head for this trip? How did it come about originally?
Naima Antolin: OK, so if you want the long story, it all started when I first met Ylfa [Rúnarsdóttir] in 2020. I had never met her before- I just found out about her through Instagram because Jess Kimura was like “you and Ylfa need to follow each other, you're both filming for The Uninvited II and I think you guys would like each other”. So she told both of us that, and then we reached out to each other on Instagram. I told her, oh you seem really cool, if you want to come to America you have a place to stay, and she said the same thing about Sweden. She ended up coming out to America, and within the first day or two she was just like “You need to come to Riksgränsen and that’s what planted the seed. And then fast forward to earlier last winter. You and I were talking up at the Brain Bowl [event at Snoqualmie] and I was just like, I have a crazy idea.
KN: Yeah, I mean it seemed pretty outlandish at the time when we were standing in the rain at Snoqualmie. And I'm like, yeah, that would be crazy, but there's no way we're actually going to go. And then we actually went.
NA: You have no idea how many crazy ideas I've had that worked out so much better than things that I plan out.
KN: Before you met Ylfa had you ever heard of Riksgränsen?
NA: No. Like maybe I had seen videos that were filmed there. But snowboard movies can be filmed all over the world and you have no idea.
Not quite the end of the road, but pretty close. Riksgränsen.
KN: This video is meant to be a little different then a lot of snowboard edits, and that was mostly your creative direction. Where did the whole concept of the video come from?
NA: Well, the first thing that comes to my head is a thing that Ylfa says whenever she tries to get someone to try something new- she just comes up to you with a random bag of chips or licorice or something, it's a weird flavor, and she's just like “Eat it. It's culture. It's just culture”. And then for some reason, that was stuck in my head. As snowboarders we have this opportunity to travel all around the world, yet the culture [we experience] is not always highlighted. I just wanted to figure out a way to give some appreciation and respect to that.