Fishing during the summer, riding in the winter.
"For me it was obvious, I wanted to live a simple life and ride as much as possible"
Rúnar Pétur Hjörleifsson was born and raised in the east fjords of Iceland, surrounded by the soaring mountains that provide a scenic backdrop to the town. Growing up with the snowy slopes and the rugged terrain in his backyard undeniably played a critical part in his deep affection for snowboarding, which has driven him towards a simpler lifestyle where opportunities for a good ride are never missed.
As the snowboarding lifestyle doesn’t easily bring riches, Rúnar Pétur works tirelessly during the summer as a fisherman, saving up for the colder months ahead, where he devotes his entire energy and focus to snowboarding. A few years back, things took a turn for Rúnar Pétur. As he was out fishing on a cold summer day, he began wondering about his way of life and what really mattered to him. He quickly came to the realization that a nine-to-five lifestyle as a fisherman wouldn’t make him happy in the long run, whereas, turning his focus towards snowboarding would.
“Being in the mountains was a way for me to find peace from all this daily stress. I prefer to walk up instead of riding the lifts. Walking up clears your mind and the only thing you think about is the next step. It’s kind of how I meditate”
After travelling the Alps in search for more challenging snowboarding experiences, he realized what he was searching was already in the backyard of his childhood home. “I soon realized that I didn’t need to travel abroad for good lines, they were already here in my backyard,” says Rúnar Pétur.
Making it easier to live close to the mountains and travel between places, Rúnar Pétur converted a transporter into a custom-fit van.
“I live a simple life and don’t need much really. I live in my van so I’m able to travel and have my home as close to the mountains as possible. When living in such a small space you learn so many things. It forces you to be present and spend more time outside.”
Living a lifestyle that, in large part, relies on the weather can be a challenge in Iceland, as the Icelandic weather is notorious for its unpredictability. One minute you're enjoying sunny and still weather, while on the next you're fighting your way through a storm. This fluctuation plays a large role for Rúnar Pétur and has shaped his way of thinking.
“I spend my days driving around the fjords looking for lines to ride. It’s a constant battle between you and the weather. Sometimes you’re stuck at the same place for days without being able to go up to the mountains. This is just part of the game and you learn how to live with it.
Then, on the other hand, you get the days when the weather calms down, right conditions and everything comes together. These are the days you’re going to remember for the rest of your life.”
The only thing I think about are snowboards. Even when I’m playing music.
Asa Steinars grew up surrounded by fascinating landscape and the forever changing weather in Iceland.