Mads 'Maaken' Haugen
Mads 'Maaken' Haugen

I had heard a lot about the mythical man from the North that is Mads Makken Haugen before I had ever met him, his reputation proceeded him… and I’m glad to say that it was all good.


Words by Jacob Gibbins. Photos by Jacob Gibbins

I had been told (mainly by his friend and fellow rider Sam Reynolds) that he was a super chilled guy who just loved riding bikes, making huge jumps and partying. He sounded like the kind of person I could get on with.

We first met when I went out to his home of Norway this July to his comp and brainchild, the Hillbilly Huckfest. It was a contest unlike any other and it was his baby from start to finish – concept, building, right through to riding. It was one of the best events I have been to. Different in every way, and better in a lot of them to boot, and this is very much in keeping with the man. Don’t do what life says you should, do what you want to and f–k the rest.

He is a guy who has a thirst for life, doesn’t mind living in a little caravan if it means he can park it at the bottom of some of the best mountains in the world, he can party with the best of them and would do anything for his friends, of which unsurprisingly there are lots, all over the world.

Don’t let the tattoos on his hands or his Samson–like hair make you jump to conclusions though. Down to earth, asks for nothing, but deserves it all. Mads Makken Haugen.

Dirt: How did riding bikes start for you?

Makken: It was so random how I got into it, but I'm really glad I did. I had knee surgery when I was younger, the doctor said that cycling would be good for it, so I started because of that and loved it. I’ve been riding for ten years now. Pretty stoked on that.

Has it always been bikes?

It’s never been just bikes. I've do so many sports man. Skate, snowboard, motocross and so on. They are all adrenalin related though.

Where have you called home?

I don’t know any more man. I just call Norway home now.

Norway, ever see you moving away?

Never, I love Norway! There’s nothing like it. I've been around places now, and there’s no other place got girls and people like in Norway. I’m so into it.

What’s the story with the caravan?

I just want it easy. I don’t want to stress about rent or a landlord, so I bought a little egg, ha ha. The thing is, it was the smallest I could find, but it makes me feel sooo rich! It makes me feel really good about myself.

Do you enjoy coming up with new events and courses, pushing the limits?

Oh yeah for sure. I like new and unknown territory. I enjoy the feeling of not knowing. It’s really exciting for me.>>



Mads 'Maaken' Haugen
Mads 'Maaken' Haugen

Huckfest, why was there such a limited number of riders invited?

It’s easy man, a group is never stronger than its weakest link. I wanted to get rid of the squirrels and just have the most insane sessions with my buddies.

Why keep the contest away from the FMB?

My goal isn’t to keep it away it away from the FMB, but I don’t see it fitting in with them. If a bunch of randoms would show up, I feel that the vibe would change dramatically.

What’s the future of Huckfest?

In the future I wanna see Huckfest as a comp that really makes a change to the MTB scene. I kinda feel that it has already done it, but I want more and I really feel there is more coming from this event. I’m really stoked.

This is the first year you will have been at the Red Bull Rampage, looking forward to such a big/public event?

Oh yes! I'm really looking forward to it, can’t wait to get there and just feel the vibe. I don’t really put that much pressure on me result wise. I am just going there to shred my bike and laugh with my friends.

Do you think comps like Rampage are where the sport of freeride should go?

I think that it’s the only way it should go. We should all be on DH bikes, they are real MTB bikes and f–k’n bad ass dude! From my point of view it’s way better for the riders and industry, there is a way higher focus on DH bikes than hardtails from the manufactures. I believe that by doing all my stuff on a DH bike I am giving back way more to my sponsors.

You have a really good list of close sponsors, are you a full time rider?

Yeah I got the best guys backing me. Sweet protection, Trek bikes, Oakley, Fox suspension and Five Ten shoes. I'm really picky about the people I work with and I always make sure to be friends before I start working with someone. I've been a full time rider for the last seven years. Not that many people know that, but seven years man. For me that’s way longer then I thought.

What was work before bikes?

I grew up on a farm. So imagine all the SHIT work I did ha ha.

What’s your idea of a dream day?

All my homies, bikes, girls, food and mountains.

What’s next for Makken?

As soon as Rampage is done I move to Spain and wait for the snow to come to Norway. When that happens I go home and ride some snowboards. That’s what I'm looking forward to the most right now, deep fast pow turns! No other feeling like it.