Silje Norendal is a team managers dream come true. With almost the perfect blend of looks and riding abilities, Norendal manages to use this combination to achieve popularity both in Snowboarding and the futher reaches of the mainstream world. Social media now plays a huge role in the make or break of a rider’s career and when it comes to marketing herself she is one of the best in the game. Although her typical Norwegian blonde looks do generate a lot of the attention, her results add fire to her popularity, which she highlighted with her X Games Slopestyle win in 2015. Girls want to look like her, guys want to be with her, let’s find out more from the young Norwegian herself.
You are a part of a really strong Norwegian team, why do you think so many talented Snowboards come out of Norway, compared to other countries, considering Norway might not have as good as mountains as these places?
I think it’s our culture in general. The whole Norwegian culture is all about winter and getting out and about on the mountains, whether it’s downhill skiing, snowboarding or cross country skiing etc. The Norwegian team has been developed over the past 10 years or so and it’s amassed a team of riders that not only ride really well but have a good attitude. They all ride with each other and spur the others on, which really helps.
You have an impressive amount of followers on your social media platforms and a lot of male attention, have you ever been creeped out by a comment someone has posted?
I do get creeped out sometimes and there are a few comments that aren’t for everyone to see and they probably shouldn’t be written on someone’s photos. Saying that though, I love my followers and I think it’s exciting that so many people want to follow what I do and I’m excited to share what I do with them.
Do you get to read all of the comments? And do you delete the weird ones?
I do read all of them, I like to scroll through them and answer questions whether it’s advice on a trick or what model of jacket I am wearing etc. I don’t delete the weird ones, they seem to get deleted by themselves, so I guess my followers on Instagram are working as moderators for my page, which helps. I do delete the non-appropriate ones from my Facebook if they appear there though haha.
You’ve mentioned that when you were growing up your influences were Kjersti Buaas and Jamie Anderson. Did you imagine at one point that you would one day be competing against them and sometimes beating them?
I don’t think I’ve ever thought about wanting to beat them, it’s a goal to podium at X Games since I was a kid and I remember seeing Jamie win it when she was around 16. I wanted to be like her but I haven’t ever specifically wanted to go out and beat them as such. Jamie’s such an amazing rider and I still look up to her now, they are still huge models and Kjersti is a huge part of where I am today. She always held my hand during my first X Games and she helped me out so much with the course, showing me around and generally making me feel welcome and looking after me, infact she still does that today, so I owe a lot to her.
Do you ever feel the attention for your looks overshadows the attention your riding gets?
Yes, sometimes I do but I think as long as I am doing well I don’t care that much. I do want to be known as a rider. It’s nice as a girl to get compliments and of course it’s flattering, but it’s important people know I want to be known as a snowboarder even though I am doing catalogue and model shoots. When I am done riding I don’t want to turn into a model, I just enjoy the opportunities that come with riding and as long as I am riding well and my results are good it’s interesting to do that side of things as well.
I heard back in the day that FHM wanted to run a big photo shoot interview with you, only for you to turnit down as at the time you didn’t have a big result in the bag. Is this rumour true?
Yes, that is true, I got that opportunity and it was a huge deal at the time but I only wanted to do it if I won X Games. I just don’t want to be predominantly known for my looks and I have always though that way. Now I have won X Games I don’t really feel like that kind of magazine is right for me at the moment.
Would you trade your US X Games gold for a podium spot at the 2014 Olympics?
I would have traded it for an Olympic gold or second place but not a bronze, the X Games gold is too special for that.
You were playing handball pretty seriously when you were younger, do you ever wonder what would have happened if you pursued a career in that other than snowboarding?
I think I would have done well. I have been brought up to really pursue things that I am good at and interested in and my mum has always pushed me in that direction. I think if I had chosen handball I would have put so much time and energy into it I would have done well because I loved it as well. The snowboarding eventually took over though and I progressed into that. My mum has a video of me at 5 years old and everyone says I want to be a fireman or a dancer and I wanted to get paid for snowboarding. At 10 I would skip school discos and social events to go riding and that eventually became my main focus. When I had to quit handball I loved riding so much it wasn’t the hardest choice.
It’s often the case that Women get not only less prize money than men but often paid less from their sponsors. You must have one of the biggest followings in the Sport now, do you think that this huge increase in popularity of women’s snowboarding will finally make the money equal between guys and girls?
I think yes and that’s one of the reasons when I get the offers like Cosmo and fitness magazines I say yes because I think it can push the sport more and touch a bigger market for snowboarding. Just so girls can get more recognition in the sport. I don’t care that much about the less prize money and I do understand, as there is a huge difference in riding levels in men and women. Our bodies are different but we are progressing and the level is getting higher. I think with brands like Nike and the bigger companies we can reach a much bigger audience and the sponsors want us to reach out and expand outside of snowboarding, it should be easier for girls to touch those markets.
You are also a regular face for Nike’s fitness campaigns, is this type of fitness modelling something you would like to push alongside your riding?
I hope so, I love women’s training and as long as I have the results to back it, which I feel like I have now. It’s not a reason to start chilling as I have lots of hopes and goals still. I hope that Nike keeps me on but if not another brand where I can combine both riding and fitness would be amazing.
What is your next goal for snowboarding? Do you have one in mind or see how it goes?
Olympic season has been my best season so far as I made every podium except The US Open and The Olympics. I don’t have to win everytime, even though that would be nice haha. I’d like to podium a lot more and be consistent overall. Making finals at least and do as good as I can and hopefully that’s enough. I am looking forward to another Olympics; I was bummed last time to not win a medal. I’m not 100% supportive of everything around the games but I am not going to lie and say that winning a medal is not a goal because obviously it’s a huge deal and it is a focus and dream of mine.