2021 · Oscar Härnström ·
HEAVEN ON EARTH
KISA MTB PARK, SWEDEN
Words by Mike Rose
Photos by Kisa MTB Park
Back in 2020 INTENSE team rider Oscar Härnström found an old disused ski resort just outside the small southern Swedish town of Kisa (population 2,616 in 2015) and he decided to buy it! The idea of having a mini mountain and building a bike park on it is almost unimaginable to most of us, but with some money and the help of his team Oscar has done just that and created the Kisa MTB Park.
As soon as we started to see photos of the park we could tell it was going to be good. A mixture of man made and natural features – beautifully sculpted jumps and berms next to massive other-worldly rock boulders. We needed to know more.
Hi Oscar, so what is Kisa MTB Park?
It is Sweden’s newest bike park, and also it’s a childhood dream of mine where I can create all the tracks that I have had in my head for many years.
Can you go back to the very beginning, how did this all come about?
I think it all started because I was tired of the riding here in Sweden and how far behind everything is from some of the best places to ride (unless you are into slopestyle). I have also had this dream to create my own tracks, so that mix, together with life and just timing was how this new adventure started.
It is pretty crazy to buy your own ski resort/mountain!
It’s pretty unreal, and it still feels that way every morning!
What can people expect to find at the bike park?
We are going to have five tracks open, from blue to black, with a lot of different line options. We have our reception/office ready and hopefully we are gonna get our big tent up before the opening that will be the centre and chill area with bonfires, etc. We are going to run our two drag lifts that bring riders up to the top and also use the tractor for shuttle service for the smallest kids and beginners. Hopefully in the second or third year we are going to open up our bike shop, with bike rental, a restaurant and bed and breakfast. Yeah we have a lot of plans and visions.
What is the highest point of the park?
Good question, I don’t really know, but we have an altitude drop of 140 meters from top to bottom.
And the longest run?
Also a good one, I have not measured it yet but the longest ski slope is 1.2 km so I would guess that our red line will be around 1.5-2km and the blue tracks 2-2.5 km long.
You are an amazing rider, so what level of rider are you aiming the bike park at? Is it all going to be massive jumps!?
We are building it for everyone, so it is for all kind of levels, but for sure it will also contain a lot of big jumps.
Can you tell us a bit about the build?
The plan was to start after New Year, because normally it is quite warm during the winter down here because we are in the south of Sweden… but not this winter! We had about half a meter of snow and it was minus 20ºc for a long time. So we got started really late at the end of March. So we have been flat out for the last three months. It is just me, my girlfriend Beatrice and my younger brother Hampus, along with some good friends that help out sometimes.
What was the hardest thing about the build?
For sure the hardest thing that we came across were all the small underground rivers that follow the mountain under some of the slopes. It was super hard to find all the sources because it didn’t make any sense, so we just had to fish and dig a lot of holes. After finding all the sources we have put in about 200 meters of drainage pipes.
Did you have much experience of building bike parks before you started?
I told everyone that I had a lot of experience and many hours in the digger, but that was a big white lie!
Did you get any inspiration from other bike parks or locations?
I’m really inspired by Nico Vink and how he builds, and I’m also a big fan of Supercross.
Just looking at the photos the terrain looks amazing… big rocks and boulders, beautiful forest. Is it a real mix?
It is a pretty crazy mix and the nature is really cool. With a lot of hilly terrain you get the feeling that you are way more up north in the country that you really are. So I feel really lucky.
And the big rock face, that looks super cool.
It looks really steep from the top but the boulder is really grippy, which makes it not that hard.
Do you have a favorite section or run at Kisa?
I really love our last section on the red line that is looking more and more like a Supercross track. But I can’t wait to start building my black dream line this autumn, it will have a lot of big jumps and gaps.
When most people think of Sweden they immediately think of Are and the bike park there. How does Kisa compare?
It is hard to compare Kisa to a big mountain like that, but we have fresh ‘new school’ tracks with lots of line options, so it will appeal to a really wide audience, everyone will have something to push themselves and have fun on.
Is there a good riding scene in Kisa?
Not yet, but I really hope we will inspire and bring more people into the mountain bike community.
When does the bike park open and how much will it cost to ride there?
The opening dates are 3-4 of July and a day pass will cost 31 euro for adults and 24 euros for kids 7-16.
What next for Kisa?
We have a big ‘to do list’ – especially before we open – so it is pretty flat out!
And finally, is the beer still really expensive in Sweden!?
Sadly yess, haha!
Kisa MTB Park opens on 3-4 of July. For more information please check out their website, everything you need to know is there www.kisamtbpark.com