Interview by Michael Goodwin
A bit burnt on the classic video part recipe, and with seemingly everyone else working from home this past year, Len thought, "Why the hell not me, as well?" Hjemmekontor ("Home Office") showcases the boarding of Len and friends on his property outside of Oslo, an area he's been exploring, and dreaming about filming in, for years.
Where is the home office? Tell me about the property.
I live in my parents' cabin in Heggedal, Norway. I was actually born here, well wasn't actually "born" here, but this is where we lived when I was born. And as you can see, it's a pretty snowy place (shows me around via webcam). I thought, "Well, everyone else has a home office, sounds cool! I will try it too."
The terrain is more wooded, it's not like big mountain riding, or anything that big in that sense. I feel like you either see hardcore street boarding, or people doing Alaska lines or 100-foot jumps. That type of snowboarding, I feel, not 100%, but that is what you see. And there is this really nice recipe to make a snowboard movie: you go to the cities where there is snow, and you hit all the famous spots that everyone else has done, and you one-up the other guy who has been there before, or you hit the same feature just in a different way. It got kind of repetitive, for me at least. I felt like I could change things up.
The mentality of how I snowboard, we kind of call it street snowboarding when you ride on whatever is in front of you, and just embrace whatever is there. I don’t know if it's called street boarding, but that is kind of what I think, and I tried to take that into the woods where I am pretty much every day, because I walk my dog there. I always think about snowboarding, and am finding spots. You just get a brand new eye for things when you look at the woods differently. Logs turn into rails, and you have sick wall rides and gaps and trannys and all the good stuff.
Were a lot of these features built over the years and had already been there, or you kind of made a point this year of turning some of these ideas into actual spots for the movie?
Most of them were just there, or like, when a tree fell I would cut off the branches so there is not a spike of death to kill you if you fall. That's sort of what I fixed. Cut down some tiny trees so you have more space, but most of it is just the way it is. I have looked at the features forever since I am always walking my dog in there during the summer, spring and fall.
Another reason I am pretty pumped on this project - I’d always ask my friends, "Hey, can we go try to film in here" over the past years. And they are like, "No we gotta film real shit," ya know, like rails, and stuff. "OK..... (laughs). I want to snowboard with you guys, I don't want to snowboard all alone all the time.” So I've been trying to show them that this could be cool in a way as well. A little planning goes a long way in terms of knowing where in the woods you want to go to know like, "OK, here is a good zone where you have some rocks and some logs and all these things.” At the same time, you don't know what it will look like with snow on it. “Oh I thought I had this sick spot and there’s too much snow and this just looks stupid now. (laughs) It’s all snowed in, you don't really see the things that I had planned.” When you walk around semi-stoned in the woods, and then when you get there the thing is just gone…
I think that is one of the fun parts about it. The mystery. Sometimes you get lucky and it works out, and sometimes you don't. But at least it's fresh and new. You don't know what you are going to get.
And you have no one coming up to you saying you can't snowboard there.
No shoveling for 2 hours and getting kicked out.
And you probably drove all the way there, getting stressed in the city too... In the woods, man.... you know how it is in the woods.
And the perks of working from home!
It's a crazy feeling. Just walking out to the road there, snowboard down, and we have this entrance to the woods and you just walk in.
Did you bring any rails in there or is it all natural stuff?
All natural in there, but I have a little park at my house with a little rail.
It’s encouraging to see more and more people doing this sort of thing - one because it's fresh and you’re not just in a city trying to one up somebody on a down bar - but also because it's just easier for a lot of people. It's cheaper. Shorter drive, relatively little gas cost, just in the backyard. I think it is a good thing for snowboarding.
And you can include way more people when it's cheaper and easier to get there. Going back to the bigger backcountry and street trips, I know if I am filming something in the street, if you are a lot of people it is nice, but at the same time it kinda takes longer for you to do what you are there for, in a way. And then you have already spent all this energy and time.
Who else was involved, snowboarding, filming or just hanging out?
Main homie was Oivind Fikse; we were the "power couple." (laughs) Spent a lot of days going in. Samuel Ærø, he filmed a couple sessions, and I had this big quarterpipe session that was sick with Simon Houlind, Alexander Klerud and Filip Hoffman. Thomas Hubert joined in for a day in the woods as well.
As I told you before, everyone wanted to film "real" snowboarding instead of coming out, so it was a little bit of a hassle to get people to come film. When it is good in the streets, it's the same time that it is good here, even though it stays good here longer.
How far is your place from the city?
You can see the city from here. It's a 30 minute drive to Heggedal from Oslo.
When does this drop?
Christmas eve. I am doing a Christmas calendar where I post something each day leading up to the release. I actually filmed a Method Movie 3 clip out here, that was the first time we filmed something here. The gap in my garden. There is a clip I am going to post online today. Zebbe does a back one over the gap...
Oh ya! That's in your yard?!
Yeah, pretty psycho yard.