Trollhaugen, Dresser, WI
Words and Photography by Peter Limberg
It’s a funny sight, rolling up to Trollhaugen in fifty degree weather right before Halloween. Man-made snow ghosted trees seem out of place next to a thin blanket of snow covering one run. Tomte, which is the size of a bunny hill, has just enough snow for a few small jibs; everywhere else was grass, dirt, and trees (that still have their leaves on). A quick taste of preseason only lasted three days, as a heat wave came in, reaching up to seventy degrees and melting everything away. It was nice while it lasted.
After this tease early on in October, word got out quickly that Troll was opening again, and out of towners started showing up.
Trollhaugen became the preseason hotspot we know and love. It’s amazing to see the amount of people that travel from all over just to get on these ropes early on. The most impressive migration had to be Freddy Perry, Stine Tonnessen, and Sophia Zichkins, traveling all the way from Oslo, Norway. Right on par was the recent women's slopestyle Olympian, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, trek from New Zealand. Egan Wint, Lauren Dermino, Sierra Forchhimer came from Salt Lake City as well, staying for three weeks and boarding every day but one. And that's because Trollhaugen was closed for Thanksgiving.
Other notables that showed up were Jeff Holce, Kennedi Deck, Finn Westbury, Jed Anderson, Riley Nickerson, Caleb Kinnear, Bryden Bowley, Emma Crosby, Reid Smith, Max Tokunaga, Savannah Shinske, and Laura Rogoski. I can see what brings this type of attraction: there’s no better way to get your legs back than to ride a rope tow, where you are up and down, in a matter of a minute. Combine that with Midwest hospitality—I don’t know anywhere else I’d want to be for preseason.
A month into preseason and we had perfectly segwayed into premiere season. The two go hand in hand for the snowboard scene in Minneapolis. Right before Thanksgiving, Panic Order’s Thunderdome, Riddles Snow Chrome Portal,' and Trial and Error, were all shown at the Heights Theatre in Minneapolis. Then, about a week after, Pink Dollar Possy premiered their video Out to Sea. In true Possy fashion, the after party was a drag show. Pretty sure it was a lot of boarders first drag show. Entertaining to say the least.
Following these few weeks of premieres, Trollhaugen had back-to-back events in the beginning of December. The second annual Take The Rake event, brainchild of Marsha Hovey (marketing director of Trollhaugen), started things off. Women from all over the country who work in snow operations design and build a park on Valhalla, Trollhaugen’s main park, to inspire the new generation of women to seek out mountain operations and trades. This year the crew doubled in size, a true testament to the fact that it’s working. When the park opened to the public, everyone was smiling ear to ear as I heard multiple thank you’s to the ladies—they killed it.
Right after Take The Rake, Pink Dollar Possy teamed up with Trollhaugen and Snowboy Productions to present “DUH the event.” DUH was a three-day event inviting LGBTQIA+ and allies to board together in celebration of inclusivity. No sponsors or opportunities to capitalize on the LGBTQIA+ culture, just boarding. The Snowboy crew put together a creative set up, the most impressive being three different variations of rainbow rails. The Pink Possy crew really put on for everyone; Casey Phlipsen, Elias Lamm, J. Deforge, Jesse Paul and Alexis Roland were the MVP’s of the event.
Preseason is my favorite time of the year. If you’ve ever experienced it you know what I’m talking about. Excitement is everywhere.
You’ll be riding up the rope and witness Ricky Tucker doing a timeless frontside three sixty over a jump and then watch Tommy Gesme do a stylish back tail sameway. You’ll get to the top of the park and run into Chad Otterstrom talking to Benny Milam. All these different generations of snowboarding are condensed onto one rope.
It’s also exciting to see new relationships being made. It’s as easy as people talking at the top of Valhalla or hitting Skolhaugen (Trollhaugen’s bar) during shadow hour to grab a bite to eat, a bloody, or spotted cow. It’s also as easy as a round or two of cribbage while everyone waits for the lights to turn on.
I rode in a car with Egan on the last day she was at Troll. As we were leaving I asked what her highlight was during the three week stay. She said how welcoming the Trollhaugen community was and how many new friends she had made during her stay. Hearing things like this makes me appreciate this place even more. I’m thankful that I live here.
Big thank you to Mahler, Boody, Marsha, Grady, Bill, and the Trollhaugen staff for all the hard work you all put into this place to make Trollhaugen the best it can be. Your work doesn’t go unnoticed. We hope to see you all next fall.