Clad in a full-face helmet and plastic armor, Arild Eidset raced his freeride mountain bike along the high spine of Norway’s Godøya Island as if being chased. An ocean storm was welling up off the coast, edging out the early summer sunshine. Dark shadows spilled across the surface of the North Atlantic like ink over a tablecloth.
Godøya is three tunnels and a bridge from Ålesund, a town of 45,000 in southern Norway (“southern” being relative for a city farther north than Moscow, Helsinki, and Anchorage). And its high point is a short helicopter ride from the multicolor villages and lighthouses along its shore. That’s how Eidset and I got there at least, heading up in a chopper that would shuttle us from one screaming descent to the next.
The first blast of storm hit with a roar, but Eidset barely slowed. He didn’t care about the rain: Like many in Norway’s booming action sports scene, he just wanted to go fast. The trail was treacherous in places—razor-edged boulders, big drops, off-camber fall-away turns—but Eidset’s skills were sharp, honed on the ramps, elevated pathways, and other stunt-filled trails that he and friends have built nearby, inspired by the chutes and ladders of Vancouver Island’s North Shore.