Fridge Street and the case of the mysterious snowboard backpack at the Burton US Open
VAIL — Norwegian snowboarder Fridtjof “Fridge Street” Tischendorf is a mysterious individual, and not just because he has somehow found a way to rewind a 360 back to 180 in midair.
On Wednesday, March 7, Tischendorf made finals in the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships while wearing a heavy pack on his back.
“The question on everybody’s lips,” announcer Henry Jackson asked Tischendorf, “What’s in the backpack?”
Tischendorf’s answer: “I don’t really use shampoo that much.”
“Stop trying to deflect the question,” Jackson responded.
“I can tell you one thing that’s in there,” Tischendorf said. “A hundred-dollar bill.”
There’s not a lot of riders who would want their weight altered while flying off a 65-foot jump.
Tischendorf, however, said he always rides with the pack. Tischendorf allowed Jackson to hold the pack, and Jackson confirmed it was indeed loaded up with something.
“I can feel the weight, it’s definitely not empty,” Jackson said. “That’s going to be the most-asked question of the U.S. Open — What’s in Fridge Street’s backpack?”
‘MAYBE HE BRINGS HIS CAT?’
The 2018 Burton U.S. Open slopestyle finals, scheduled for Friday, March 9, are likely to be the most prestigious event the 20-year-old Tischendorf has ever appeared in.
Known as “Fridge Street” in the snowboarding world, many were introduced to Tischendorf by his Norwegian countryman, snowboarding legend Stale Sandbech, who also made finals on Wednesday.
Sandbech featured Fridge Street on Instagram, and on Wednesday, Sandbech confirmed that the young rider always wears a pack.
“I’ve known him since he was a kid,” Sandbech said. “The backpack is his trademark, he’s been wearing it for the last three years. Nobody knows what he brings along — maybe it’s his lunch? Maybe he brings his cat along?”
Sandbech said there’s only one situation where Tischendorf can be seen competing without a pack.
“Sometimes, in an (International Ski Federation) contest, they tell him to take the backpack off,” Sandbech said. “Even then, he might refuse.”
Sandbech said Fridge Street has been fun to watch progress over the last few years.
“He’s a wild one,” Sandbech said. “He can do all the crazy stuff, for sure.”
Tischendorf said among his most difficult tricks is a simple backside 180, where he first rotates all the way to 360 before stopping his momentum in midair and somehow rotating back in the other direction.
“You gotta try to go out of axis without rotating too much,” he said. “It’s cool because it looks so simple, it’s just a 180 but it’s filled with style.”
The trick, known as a rewind, is a relatively new development in the snowboarding world. It appears to defy the laws of physics, where an object in motion is supposed to stay in motion.
In Wednesday’s semifinals, second-place finisher Marcus Kleveland came close to landing a 720-degree spin with a rewind back to a 540. Kleveland washed out on the landing, but not before drawing some serious applause from Tischendorf.
“He’s one of the only other guys who can do that,” Tischendorf said. “I think he’s the only one doing it all the way to 720 like that.”
Tischendorf said in recent years he’s enjoyed watching snowboarders Halldor Helgason and Vlad Khadarin perform backside 540s that rewind back to 360.
“Another pretty cool one is Torgeir Bergrem, he’s bringing sevens to nine and then going back to seven,” Tischendorf said. “There’s a few different variations out there, they’re super stylie, for sure.”
Catch Tischendorf in the slopestyle finals, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday.
Every person who has ever strapped into a board owes a debt of gratitude to Burton.