Early last summer, Len Jørgensen sent us some photos of the seventh annual Mushroom Crew Banked Shalom. As we clicked through the images (taken by Chris Baldry) of perfectly sculpted berms, sunny blue skies, and some of the best snowboarders in the world, we immediately knew we were missing out on a seminal snowboarding event. The Mushroom Crew has been a tour de force in Norway for years, but we only had spores of familiarity with the long-standing crew. So, we reached out to grade-A fun guy, Len Jørgensen. Len is not only one of the most fun boarders to watch ride, his effusive style apparent in every turn he makes, but his creativity extends from board to build as an integral part of the Shalom and other Mushroom Crew events. He broke down the mycology on the crew, as well as what he’s been up to, from family time this summer, to early season boarding, and some exciting news for the coming season. – Mary T. Walsh
Hey, Len! So first off, how was your summer season? Did you get to do some fun, summery things with your family?
Heyoo. Summer has been super. Started off with the banked shalom (we’ll get into that later), then some really nice chilling, built projects, and weirdly enough skated over 130 miles in a week. We (the Cheese Butter Brothers) had our annual skate vacation. It’s our 6th year and we’ve continued from where we ended the year before. Now we’ve even crossed the border into Denmark. It’s a sick mission, our only goal is to go south. Hopefully I’ll write a book about it one day.
Your daughter is a toddler now, yes? It must be fun getting to introduce her to all of your favorite things over the summer and seeing things through her eyes?
Ahhh Livia. Wow, it’s a rush, all day every day. So sick to look at the world in completely new way. Gotta admit, sometimes it’s really frustrating how interesting a pebble can be. Yeah, swimming ,walking in the woods, a tiny bit of skating. But the sickest is how much she loves our dog. So inspiring. Full on embrace as a family member. I even think she considers her as a human.
Will your little one get out on snow this winter?
Yup, we will definitely be spending a lot of time outside. Sledding, goofing around, and plenty of buttslides. If she’s strapping in or not, only time will tell. I witnessed a lot of pushy parents growing up; I made my mind up really early about what I think of those. I will still be boarding and doing what I love to do—if I get a new best shred-friend, that would be amazing. If not, I´ll learn a lot about something new.
Are you getting into a winter frame of mind now that it’s mid-October? Saw that you were making some turns at an indoor snowpark recently?
Slowly but surely. But my mind can’t really take time off snowboarding. There’s always something going on in there, whether it’s trick ideas, lines, features I want to build, spots, events, edits, photos—there’s just too much sick stuff we can do with our boards and communities. My body is not strapping in, though. September/October is when that starts to happen. So sick with this big fridge we got—from where I live it’s one hour door to door. Easy and fun boarding in there—good way to keep your legs remembering how to board.
What’s fall/early winter look like for you? When do resorts start opening up around Oslo?
Fix as much practical things before the season really starts. We live in a cabin, so there are plenty of things to upgrade and get ready for a hopefully long and cold winter. Try to get all my ideas down so I can start making them happen. The cold usually sets in November, so the resorts can start producing and open, somewhere between mid-November and mid-December. Cross your fingers, please.
Do you have any early/pre-season events on your radar? Or early trips? Maybe a follow up to Early Bird (The sights and sounds of winter were so nice in the edit!)?
Thank you! That was one of the first things I wrote down for that edit. Weird one, writing down an edit before making it. Brand new to me, at least.
Yeah, actually spoke to Kuske today about my new idea. It will be about riding together. Do my best to make that happen.
We’re doing an event in two days, actually, in our big fridge [editor’s note, the event went down on October 19th]. We’re calling it Fridgeception. We’re bringing hand-me-down fridges into the set up, Fridge (the rider) will be judging, and it’s all happening inside the big fridge. Gonna be sick!
Ethan didn’t invite me back for his DIYX, but I’ll poach his thing and invade their castle.
That’s all rad! Let’s go back to the beginning of summer. In June, the 7th Annual Banked Shalom went down at Stryn Sommerski in Western Norway. What is the Banked Shalom all about?
Ahh Shalom Shalom (“peace” in Arabic). A lot of the banked slaloms had gotten real serious and Chrille P. and Krish (Mushroomers) wanted to make something happen. They timed people with their phone and people loved it. Gotta make the people stoked to board.
Is the course all hand-built? How long does it take you all to get it ready for the event?
The course is not hand-built, we have the world’s best cat driver in our crew. Would be stupid to not utilize that. So, the last 3-4 years we’ve built the course in 2-3 days. We’re really good at moving snow economically, so it’s not that much work if you have a good plan of flow and features. This year was our first year without any special features. We’ve had all sorts of funny features, Boobtown (just randomly spaced, small boobs to fuck up your flow), The Circumcision (start with a right turn, cut the turn in the middle so you end up going left), The Triple Turn, 360turn—so much cool stuff to build. But snow situation made it tough for us this year
What’s the competition like at the Banked Shalom? Based on the Kings podium this year, it looks pretty heavy! [editor’s note: Stale took first, Alek was second, and Terje third]
It’s a really good day at the mountain. Music blasting, people are pumped, we have no line system, so you can drop with your friends even though your numbers are far apart. And all the big dogs want to ride the course. We also put the timer somewhere sick—top of the quarterpipe, lip of a hip, lip of a jump—so its way more interesting. You gotta send to get a good time.
Fun fact, the best prize is given the most average rider. The person who had the most average time. We give out all this fun awards, oldest, youngest, best helmet, fastest looking, best try…
And you were crowned the Switch King with a time that was only a couple of seconds behind Stale’s overall winning time!
The Ring of Eternal Switchness. Thanks! I think I’ve won the switch race every year somehow.
Part B of that question: The event has been held at Stryn for a few years, right? What makes that resort special to the crew?
Yes, but Folgefonna is where the Shalom started. They wanted to save money and built a park on their own, so we took our event and left. Stryn is a way sicker resort! More boarding, less alpine skiers, and just the best vibes. We’ll keep it at Stryn from now on. FYI: They use the pipedragon to cut out the cat track. Just the best.
I was wondering, for anyone that is unfamiliar, if you could explain a little bit about Mushroom Crew? Mushroom Crew seems to exist where friends and park building meet? From internet sleuthing, it looks like you guys had a lot going on at Folgefonna starting over a decade ago?
We’re like a mycelium network for snowboarding. Emil founded it two decades ago. Emil is the main brain. The cat driver and the glue to it all. Back then, it was mostly up in northern norway/sweden. If you remember the Swedish crew Random Bastards, they were also a big part of it. At a point he tried to take over the world. That got really tiring, so he focused back on Norway. But I do remember Jamie Nicholls having a Mushroom sticker on his board for some big contest podium.
Folgefonna has definitely been a huge part of it. We spent countless summers building park and boarding up there. The jump that Torstein did his first triple on, Mushroom. The Nike D-Pad session, Mushroom. The famous sunset jump, Mushroom.
To put it short, we love snowboarding and try to make as much cool stuff happen as possible.
Where did the name come from? Are mushrooms beloved in Norway? Is it from Mario Bros? Is it because you’re all fun guys? (Sorry, I’m sure that joke gets old.)
We’ve never heard that one actually. I like it. It’s actually what Emil thought pillows (the ones we snowboard on) where called. But we did use the Mario Bros mushroom as our logo for a long time. But when the unseriousness got serious, things had to change.
Who all is in the crew?
BIG CREW. Could probably write a book about everyone in it. We include everyone, just like snowboarding. Our most active members who make stuff happen are Emil and Simon Fossheim, Kristoffer “Krish” Lerånd, Samuel Ærø, Kenneth “Kelso” Kolstad and myself.
Boarders who just board and not build so much are Kleveland (we’re the ones who build his park at Dombås), Fridge, Ståle Sandbech, Torgeir Bergrem, Alek Østreng, Freddy Perry, Eirik Nesse, Mons Røisland, Terje Håkonsen, Nils Arvidsson, Zebbe Landmark…haha pretty much the whole Scandinavian snowboard scene.
Who does the design and photoshop on the Instagram? It’s great.
Thanks, its mostly Simon and Krish. You can never go wrong with a little Godzilla. If you consistently do it unserious, it becomes art.
The Mushroom Crew events look like they’re a mix of serious builds, serious snowboarding, and are taken quite seriously?
It’s important to take the unserious serious.
What is the Hovdingen Av Hogevarde? Looking at the crew’s website, at all the event photos, I’m feeling like those of us in North America are missing out.
Come over, you most definitely are. Høgevarde is this hidden gem of a resort. Two lifts and insane terrain. It usually gets really good amounts of snow, as well. They really like the way we do things. During the week we build features all over the place, try and utilize the sick terrain they have from top to bottom. On Friday they open the lifts for our event and weekend its open for everyone.
The name means Chief of Høgevarde. At the end of the day everyone votes who they think deserved it. Top three plus the Chief from the year before start a five-battle game with beer chugging, bow shooting, wrestling—classic chieftain activities.
Team Battle, in particular, looks like a great time, too. Is that a Mushroom Crew event or you just send a team to compete there? What is that event all about?
Team battle is so fun. It’s not our event and we don’t send a team to compete. We send a team to win. The main price has often been a surf trip somewhere and then you just gotta make it happen. This event is all about riding together. I think that is actually the only rule, you have to drop in together. So sick.
What is your favorite event that you have held so far?
We did Mushroom Invitational back in 2015-16 maybe. Emil and I built this insane park for at least a week and we got to invite around twenty shredders to stay at this hotel and snowboard. At the end, everyone voted who they think deserved to win. Mega good times.
It seems like Mushroom Crew is really dedicated to fostering community in snowboarding. Was this part of things from the start or did it evolve through sharing what you all love to do with others?
Yes and no—we build park for ourselves and others. We make events because it is an event we would like to attend. The joy and happiness people get from being a part is a mega booster, for sure. We make something for the boarders out there who are not snowboarding to win.
Have all the events been in Norway or have you expanded to other areas?
So far, yes, but we don’t have to keep it that way. If anyone out there want to make some cool stuff happen, hit us up.
What’s on tap for this winter? The 8th Annual Banked Shalom? Other events?
Of course the Shalom. Our crown has eleven spots on it, so we gotta keep going at least foir more years. Høvdingen, hopefully. That’s really snow dependent. We started something called a Parkdemo. It’s about snowboarding together, not against each other. Would be sick to do more of those.
Two other big events we’re trying to make happen are King of the North and some sort of spring session at Dombås.
What about your winter, personally? Anything you can give us a sneak peek into?
Oh, it will be one the best yet (see photo below).