For NOW And Forever | The Fridge Interview

We sat down with Fridge to get the scoop on his death diving, nasty bails and new binding

Fridtjof Sæther Tischendorf or ‘Fridge’ as he’s better known is easily one of our favourite riders, and in all likelihood, he’s probably one of yours too. His affable personality is the yin to the yang of his explosive style and when you factor in his ability to brush off a gut-wrenching slam and his deep bag of tricks, it’s no wonder this guy is on everybody’s radar. With a score of top-ticket sponsors, and legions of fans waiting with bated breath for him to drop new clips on social media, Fridge’s world domination is all systems go with no signs of slowing anytime soon.

OG Wildcat and renegade JF Pelchat developed NOW Bindings after dreaming of revolutionising the binding industry, which in comparison to the leaps and bounds made in snowboard development had grown rather stale.

Fridge | PC: Phil Tifo

He drew inspiration from the trucks of skateboards after a lightbulb moment in his garage in Whistler and began studying their mechanics to fine tune SkateTech. This new system forswears the traditional baseplate element of a binding, and instead uses a sophisticated fulcrum system to transfer energy straight to the edges of your snowboard. The efficiency on offer is next level, plus with the swappable bushings and highbacks the customisation options offer true versatility for a range of different riders and terrain.

This season Fridge has been honoured with his own pro model binding by the crew at NOW, a hugely prestigious moment considering just how stacked that team roster is. We sat down with Fridge to get the scoop on his new binding and maybe, juuust maybe finally find out what’s in that iconic backpack…

“Getting to be in a lodge with all these legends, watch old banger snowboard movies they made, getting nostalgic and drinking an insane amount of beers”

Hey Fridge, thanks for taking the time to speak with us, we saw you had a pretty nasty bail in Aspen, how’s your shoulder holding up? Was it as bad as the crash at X Games Norway where you smashed into the barrier because that was super savage…

“Yeah the X Games Norway slam was definitely more rewarding. There I got to land my trick first and get the slam after, kinda like a two for one deal which was great. The one in Aspen definitely hit me way harder. I’d been out for almost two months due to an AC joint injury I got in Austria at the start of the season and this was my first event back after that, so I immediately thought that was it and another two months recovery, if not surgery up next. Definitely full crisis in my brain overthinking and feeling mentally defeated. Luckily it wasn’t a new tear on my AC joint, but I managed somehow to get bone bruise in the tip of my collar bone, and that hurt pretty bad. Somehow pushing it back in place with a shit ton of tape helped really well and I was able to ride. That definitely helped my mental state and I had a great time riding even though I couldn’t put down all the tricks I wanted.”

PC: Phil Tifo

You took a trip to Japan with the NOW crew for JF’s birthday, how was it riding and partying with that group of loose cannons?

“Omg, that’s a trip of a lifetime. Never been to Japan before and instantly fell in love with the place, culture and food. Getting to be in a lodge with all these legends, watch old banger snowboard movies they made, getting nostalgic and drinking an insane amount of beers before going riding the next day. It felt absolutely unreal. Everyone was super nice and welcoming and it felt like age didn’t exist anymore because the mentality was like a bunch of kids let loose in paradise.”

Over the last few years you’ve been branching out into filming projects but still rolling on the comp circuit, are you happy with the balance of the two or are you leaning more towards either one?

“I definitely notice that it’s hard to put together a video part, to do contests and now you also have to be dropping heavy shit on social media as well. I’m very thankful that I have sponsors like NOW that just want me to keep doing my thing and not push me in any direction. I’ve grown up doing contests and admired people filming video parts. I still think I’ll be doing contests as long as I’m invited to do so. I feel like competitive snowboarding is heading in a bit of a direction that I don’t necessarily like, with adding another spin meaning you get more points. However being a part of the contest circuit opens the door for many tools like training camps, a great support team, physio, doctors and trainers helping you be in all-time shape to keep pushing snowboarding. So the way I see it I’ll continue using the tools and ride snowboards the way I want to and hopefully the results will come, if not at least I did what I wanted and can be satisfied with that.”

“The source of inspiration for this binding is a song called “Star Rider” by a band called Hällas. It’s the album cover that lays the foundation for the graphic”

Congrats on your pro model binding, I think you’re one of the first to get one with NOW. Talk us through your binding and why you made the choices you did in terms of design and features…

“First of all, thank you! I mean getting a pro model of any sort is like the childhood dream. I still remember when I got a contract that had in the terms that I should call myself a ‘pro snowboarder’, I was like “but I don’t have a pro model”. Being heavily influenced by skateboarding I always considered being pro meant I had to have a “pro model”. So having one with NOW and also with Lobster this season is like a dream come true!”

“So the source of inspiration for this binding is a song called “Star Rider” by a band called Hällas. It’s the album cover that lays the foundation for the graphic, and I felt like the “Star Rider” is the symbol for childhood me, aiming for the stars hoping to have a pro model and now accomplishing it. So the next step was to integrate my personality into this layout. Of course I had to add the Fridge and the backpack because those are essential in me making this dream possible, and then I added the NOW torch. I don’t know how deep into it I should get, but I feel like JF has put a lot of trust in me and my way of snowboarding, so I wanted the light of NOW to pave the way. From previous generations, this generation and to future generations written in the stars.”

The Fridge Pro | PC: Phil Tifo

“The grim reaper was originally just a skeleton with a snowboard underneath its arm, but I was working with Mark Kowalchuck, and he helped make this piece look more appealing than I could, so we ended up making it look more Rock ‘N’ Roll, which I like. But I also like the thought of skeletons being the same for everyone. It doesn’t matter what your ethnicity, gender, religion or orientation- our skeletons are the same. Snowboarding should be inclusive to everyone and JF holds this close to him just wanting to make the best bindings for everyone who is down to ride. So yeah, this is the story behind how it came together.”

NOW bindings are known for being great for their versatility, do you mix it up with your bushings and highbacks/high cups or stick to the status quo?

“The binding fits me perfectly straight out of the factory, so that’s how I usually ride it. I still remember stepping into my first pair of NOW Bindings feeling so close to the snow and instantly knowing it was right. I sometimes switch up to hard bushings if I need to get aggressive, and also go with the no highback option for late season slushy cruiser runs to get that surfy feeling. But most of the time I ride it as it is.”

We had to mention the iconic backpack, what would you stash in there for a trip with JF?

“This depends on where we’re going but if I’m trying to prepare for everything I would get a bunch of Smirnoff Ice, because every trip I go on with him we always try to ice him as much as possible. Also bring a probe, shovel and beacon just to be safe. A solid sandwich wrapped in aluminium foil so you could heat it up on a sled. A good scotch before bed and Clamato juice for a good morning Ceasar.”

“It’s hard to describe when something feels right, because that’s how it’s supposed to feel, right?”

SkateTech is pretty revolutionary in the binding world, how do you feel it affects your riding? As someone who skates as well did you feel comfortable with it immediately?

“Yeah it’s hard to describe when something feels right, because that’s how it’s supposed to feel, right? I didn’t know much about the technology going into me having the instant feeling of “this is right” when I stepped into my first pair of NOW bindings. I think the best way to describe it is ‘you have to go and try it for yourself’”

Where would you recommend people ride your bindings?

“Easy! This binding will go perfectly everywhere.”

NOW bindings are getting more and more popular each year, with a cult of die-hard fans who swear by them, why do you think people love them so much?

“Probably because every binding is made with love for snowboarding and the culture. Fits perfectly for the die-hard snowboarders and everyone in between.”

Oops upside your head | PC: Phil Tifo

What’s next for Fridge?

“Right now I’m taking every day as it comes. Planning snowboarding can be really exhausting because if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that plans always change. So I’m just trying my best to enjoy every day, meet new people, experience as much as possible and just go on adventures seeing where the road takes me.

I have booked a flight to France though, for a filming trip with Lobster for 10 days. We’re putting together a Lobster movie “We Are Loosers 2” so I hope I can put together a solid video part for the season. That’s definitely one of my goals.”

We were hooked on watching your videos on Instagram from the summer where you’re just diving off loads of stuff. We heard this is a thing in Norway? Death dive or something? It’s looks wild

“Yeah it’s amazing! It feels as close as you can get to skydiving without a parachute. The concept is to get as close to belly flopping as possible before you pull it together and break through the water. It’s going to hurt no matter how you do it and you kind of have to break in your skin to get more comfortable, but it hurts way less if you do it right, so there’s a technique in there somewhere. I got into it for the first time this summer, before that I was only doing backwards armydive, but to the die hard death diver it’s all about style, or as they call it, “owning the air”. I think I always look for inspiration for my snowboarding and what I can transfer from other sports. This is great to get comfortable with where you are in the air, and how to be confident. If you doubt yourself for a second doing this it’s gonna hurt way more. And as a bonus you get a great adrenaline rush every time you do it.”

Check out Fridge’s new Binding here.

The Fridge Pro, Fridge approved!
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