Interview - Reine Barkered
– Reine Barkered on being the old boy on tour
Reine Barkered was an elite freerider when some of his current competitors were still in diapers. Competing at the top of the Freeride World Tour since 2009, with a win in 2012, he has seen other riders come and go.
“Many of the younger skiers grew up in the snow park, but the core of this sport is still about skiing big and fast. Tricks play a part, but for those who want to focus on freestyle there are other competitions. That being said, it pushes the sport forward. I evolve too, for me it’s a good way to not get stuck in old ruts” says Reine.
Reine has earned the nickname "The Mayor of Stomptown" from how he makes it look easy to land perfectly (to "stomp it" is to land with full control, so you can keep going with speed).
“For a while, things were a bit sloppy at the competitions, as long as you didn’t fall it didn’t really matter how you landed, even on your back. But the bar has been raised in recent years, which I think is good. If we’re supposed to be the best in the world we should strive for some kind of perfection. The cleaner the better.”
Reine has won the prestigious Xtreme Verbier competition three times. Last year he picked out a steep line and had a very fast and clean run until the last jump where he got a little too much spin in a backflip. Something that may have cost him the overall victory in the World Cup.
"That was a bit of a bummer of course, the goal is always to win everything. But no regrets – now I’m excited about another season. I have always dreamt of going at it until at least 40, and I'm only 39 years old. Had I won it the situation might have been different, but I want to finish on top.”
Reine has been riding in Hestra gloves for a long time. At competitions, he often uses Army Leather Patrol or Leather Fall Line, both as three- and five-finger gloves. The gloves should not only warm but also provide protection. For a short while he tried a different brand but he quickly switched back.
“It’s true what they say: ‘There are ordinary gloves, and then there is Hestra’. They are in a league of their own, and if you take care of them, they last a long time. I prefer gloves that I have used for a while, over brand-new gloves. They adapt to the hands. Also, I like my gloves to look good, Wakayma is a favorite, the design is really nice.”
Reine finished off the season by winning the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships in Riksgränsen in northern Sweden. Before that, he made a long expedition with his wife, American freerider Jackie Paaso. They ski-toured and climbed all 12 Swedish peaks over 2000 meters. From Sarektjåkkå in the South to Sielmatjåkkå in the North, a total of 260 miles (420 km).
“It was a fantastic trip and we had incredible luck with the weather. I brought six pairs of gloves for different activities and temperatures, plus liners. On the ascents I mostly used Grip Active, which are great for climbing and handling an ice axe. And in the mornings when it was really cold, it was nice to slip into a pair of Army Leather Expedition Mitt. Then you don’t have to worry about freezing, they’re almost impossible to become cold in."