Photo: Clint Trahan
Can you tell me a little bit about where you grew up and how you ended up calling NZ home?
Emma: I was born and raised in this small village in southern Sweden called Diö. I lived there until I finished school when I was 19 and moved to Malmö to work as a makeup artist. I always wanted to travel and move overseas since I was a child, but back then I had New York and these kinda cities in mind haha.
When I was 21 I went with a friend to Australia because I was a bit bored of my life in Sweden, I stayed there for 8 months but again, I was kinda restless there too. I wasn't keen to go back to Sweden (as planned) just yet so I decided to get a working holiday visa in New Zealand because I really wanted to work at the ski fields in Queenstown.
Off to New Zealand I went and when winter arrived, I ended up working at Coronet Peak (after a lot of emails begging them to give me a job as they first said no to me). When summer arrived, I started working at Fergburger and they offered to help me get a visa for one more year which led to another year and another and after being here for 5.5 years, I finally got residency here and am allowed to stay here forever which I am so grateful for. New Zealand is the best place on earth and I love to call it home here.
Have bikes always been a part of your life? When and how did you get into riding?
Emma: Noooo, Sweden is very flat, especially in the south. I tried it for the first time in Sweden though and this was in 2014 I believe. My brother and I tried mountain biking out on this small hill that actually has t-bar access and I really enjoyed it from day 1!
I worked every other weekend so I went here like twice a month for a summer before I started moving around and then I picked it back up when I moved to Queenstown at the end of 2017. At this time, my brother lived in Queenstown as well and he found this old DH rig for me to buy for 1000 dollars. He tried convincing me to buy one for a while but I was only meant to stay for a few more months so I wasn't keen to spend a lot of money on a bike I might not be able to sell but with a 1000 dollar bike, I didn't have much to lose.
I'm so happy he found this bike for me because this sparked my PASSION for mountain biking and honestly, if it wasn't for this 2010 Giant Glory, my life wouldn't be what it is today and I would definitely not live in Queenstown.
What does an average day look like for you?
Emma: I wake up at 9am pretty much everyday and the first thing I do is let my duck, Donald, out of his dog kennel he sleeps in. Then I start the coffee machine, make myself a latte and start working on my laptop and phone. I do freelance social media for a few businesses along with my bike riding, both things I really enjoy and learn from so it's sick to be able to do this after being tied down to one job for many many years. This always takes a bit longer than I think it would, but it's probably because Donald is distracting me. After working for a few hours, I have duck poop to clean up before I put Donald in his pen outside. At this point it's probably 2.00 or 3.00pm and either I'll drive into town to ride, or to do the never ending admin (not sure what this admin is, but I always have a big to do list haha). There is so much to ride around here, so there is always something you haven't ridden in a while to keep things interesting. I'll probably finish riding at around 7pm and am probably very very hungry at this point, because I forgot to eat either breakfast or lunch haha so the last few hours I'm up, I'll drive home, make dinner, watch The Simpsons and be asleep by midnight.
I see on your Instagram you have a feathery friend called Donald. Who's Donald?
Emma: Yep, he is my best little friend! At the start of December my boyfriend brought home this little duckling for me that some boys had found all alone by the side of the road and he was the cutest thing I ever saw. I've raised him and he is now a grown duck, just over 3 months old! Donald is quite the character and I didn't realize how funny ducks were until I had him. Or how messy they are... Check out the adventures of Donald here.
Favourite type/discipline of riding?
Emma: Sick flowy jumps for sure! In Queenstown, I really like to ride Wynyard but I still dream of A-line laps and maybe my favorite set of jumps I ever rode, the Blue Steel jump line in Bellingham. Even blue bike park flow is so fun, as long as there are little features you can try new stuff on!
When you’re not on two wheels what else do you like to do with yourself?
Emma: I love DIY, it's always good to have some kind of project going! At the moment I am refurbishing my Suzuki Carry and getting rid of the gross grey leather and putting in hot rod spec red pleather panels! I also sew, look after my plants, bake brownies etc. I also love going camping and exploring new places around Queenstown.
What's on the cards for 2023?
I am planning to go to Tasmania for a trail riding trip which I am super excited about because I was there last year and Tasmania has the best trail riding I've ever done! Then I want to make it back to Whistler and Canada for summer there, last year was my first time there and I realized how insane the riding is there and it really helps you progress a lot riding there! I believe I'll also make it to Europe to see my family and then also to ride! I don't have a set schedule yet but I hope to fill it with a lot of fun jump jams/events and a lot of video creation!
Any goals, learnings or things you'd like to achieve this year?
Always! I really want to learn some new tricks this year, barspin on my DJ, get no foot cans dialled, learn indian air, nac nacs, tuck no handers and maybe some sui-combo!