As a Snowboarder I’d heard about Riksgränsen (Riks) but I knew next to nothing about the place. Surely it’s just another resort that a few pros gravitate to at the end of the season to close out their video parts or grab a few last minute shots. It cannot be anything that special. I was more wrong than I could possibly imagine.
Our journey started with a flight to Stockholm, Sweden from Gatwick, UK. We then needed to jump on a domestic flight to Kiruna, one of the local airports for Riks.
Our arrival at Kiruna was the start of a throwback to another world. One of the smallest airports I’ve ever been to. We grab our luggage and promptly jump on a bus through a snowy wilderness littered with tiny towns, random reindeer grazing and nobody around. The bus takes just over two hours to Riks. We pile out and head up to check-into our apartments for the week.
Riks is located at the very northern tip of Sweden, some 200km north of the Artic Circle. You can literally see, walk and snowboard into Norway, which is super cool.
The resort in terms of lifts is pretty small with just 5 serving the area, yet the terrain offers a vast amount of fun shredding due to its mellow pitch and being littered with natural features and various rocks that create a playground for snowboarders. The pistes were practically empty and we were riding perfectly groomed runs until the lifts closed and we didn’t queue for a lift all day.
On piste facilities are pretty sparse. You have one main cafe on the hill, but with the ability to ski in meant we could head back to home base for lunch or a snack. Our first day was a casual shred around the resort finding pockets of untracked powder and soaking up the awesome scenery.
The big draw for most riders is the heli. You’ll see them buzzing around the resort hitting up the 500 available local peaks. We had an afternoon slot that gave us 5 drops over 3 hours. We get picked up by a local mountain guide who works for Mountain Guide Travel and he directed the pilot to the best spots.
It’s a wild adrenalin rush as you bust out of chopper, hit the deck so your head doesn’t get chopped off by the rotors. You then grab your kit and ride down to the waiting heli.
The views are amazing and the whole experience is one to remember and certainly a big tick off anyone’s bucket list.