Fjällräven Classic Sweden is over for this year. And while we sit here in the Stockholm office reminiscing about our days on the trail, our colleagues in the US are just warming up. This week they’re launching the premier edition for Fjällräven Classic USA. We kept this event under the radar until the last minute. It’s our chance to do a trial run; to make sure everything runs smoothly before we roll it out to a larger audience next year. It’s also a chance to test just how well the Classic concept travels. 2017 is a big year for Classic. Not only will this new US event be expanded, but Hong Kong will get its own event too.
We started Classic 12 years ago to inspire Swedes to get out into the Swedish mountains and enjoy self-supported, long-distance trekking. And while the event now attracts people from more than 35 countries, we felt that we couldn’t expect people to travel to northern Sweden each year. So we’ve decided to spread Classic to other continents.
This is Carl Hård Af Segerstad, the project manager responsible for the expansion of Classic. It’s a big task, coordinating events over three continents, but it’s a challenge this Swede loves.
“I’m passionate about inspiring others to experience nature. Getting out in nature has so many positive associations on both an individual and societal level. It’s good to do physical exercise of course, but it also shows you what is important in life. If you’re warm, dry and well fed everything is pretty much OK. And that’s a good experience, to scale off what’s not important.”
Inspiring people to get out in nature is our ‘raison d’être’. It has been and always will be our main goal, the force that drives us. That’s why we produce the clothes we do. And that’s why we work so hard with environmental and sustainability goals. With Classic, we move beyond pure inspiration. We’re actually enabling people to experience nature, the outdoors, the countryside, the backcountry – whatever you want to call it.
For many, Fjällräven Classic is their first experience of long-distance trekking. Often, once they’ve had a little helping hand, they’ll explore nature independently. And we see Classic as this bridge. Enabling people and giving them the courage they need to get out and enjoy nature, whether it’s a local overnighter in their ‘backyard’ or a long-distance trek further afield. We believe that without nature, we’re nothing.
“Spending more time in the outdoors is really important. If you don’t do it, you’ll never learn to appreciate nature,” says Calle.
Around 170 people will take part in the first Fjällräven Classic in Colorado this week. They’ll experience high-altitude trekking in the famous Rocky Mountains you know, those dramatic, towering peaks, dusted with year-round snow and mirrored in shimmering lakes. The mountains that appear as screensaver backgrounds and on mountain stock-imagery websites. Hikers will trek roughly 30kms with two over-night camps. Just like Classic Sweden, food and gas will be supplied and volunteers will be working hard to ensure everything runs smoothly, but otherwise trekkers carry everything themselves.
“We wanted to run a small-scale, short-notice edition in the US this year to test everything on the ground. This is the first Classic outside Scandinavia, so it’s a learning experience. To make sure everyone has a great time next year, we need to practice.” says Calle.
So from 2017 we’ll have events in Sweden, Denmark, the US and Hong Kong – will there be more in the future?
“Classic Denmark has been running for three years and it now attracts 600 people from 16 different countries. It’s a completely different environment to the Swedish Classic, so the conclusion is that it does actually work to build and expand events like this. So growing it to more destinations is certainly tempting. But developing this kind of trekking event is like trekking itself; you have to take one step at a time.”