Polarised in their take on the sport, the next generation of freeskiers seems confused. Torn between ultra-loose baggy style and repetitive robotic precision, the days of the aggressive powerhouse park skier seem so long gone.
Lo and behold, it took a Norwegian to fill that void.
Following in the footsteps of powerful skiers Andreas Håtveit and PK Hunder, Øystein Bråten is the future of freeskiing. At just 18-years-old, he has eight years under his belt as a twin-tip skier, several viral edits and an appearance in Russia last winter.
Surrounding himself with legendary Nordic freeriders like Åsmund Thorsen, his early years of freeskiing were spent charging the backcountry, but eventually he gravitated to the park.
I did way more freeriding earlier with those guys. But I was more in the park hiking rails eventually. I wanted to be like Andreas (Håtveit).
Andreas Håtveit – now retired from competitive skiing – won gold at the 2008 X Games, starred in over 13 prominent ski films and came fourth in the slopestyle in Russia, competing alongside Bråten. Married with a child, he continues to ski purely for the love of the sport on his homemade slopestyle course in his backyard in Norway.
Debuting internationally alongside Håtveit himself in the TGP edits just a few years ago, Øystein made a name for himself as being one of the most competent rail skiers. Later, he started dialing in his slopestyle runs and dominating competitions with them. Eventually, these wins got him a spot on the Norwegian national team and eventually into freeskiing’s debut in Sochi.
Bråten’s skiing quickly became known and envied by the online freeskiing community.
He could spin left and right on rails so comfortably that they both seemed natural, had immensely clean doubles both ways and even a triple. He was truly a force to be reckoned with in the competition industry and even bagged a part in Field Productions’ film Supervention.
Despite his youth and rather recent success, there has always been something about Øystein Bråten that ties him to the generation before him. It goes deeper than the just influences on his style of skiing; there is something pure and simple about his demeanor.
For Øystein, it has always been just about the skiing.
He is a rider who says so much purely through his skiing talents, that he doesn’t need the rock star presence or the filler shots in his video edits, which reminds me a lot of Andreas Håtveit himself just a decade ago; modest and quiet but outstandingly talented.
“Andreas is one of my favorite skiers, always has been,"says Øystein. "I don’t think I would be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for him. He has a great way of looking at things. It’s all about skiing.”
Øystein Bråten is poised to take over the ski world. He plans to continue down the same path he is on, skiing every day, travelling, competing and filming all in the hopes to just get better and enjoy the ride. “Now I’m travelling and skiing big contests, riding perfect parks… That’s what I my dream always was.”
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