A few weeks back, during the Vans snow night and Method Movie 2 Premiere at House of Vans London, I had the pleasure of meeting Antti for the first time. Having long admired his timeless skills on a snowboard, we barely got past the formal introductions before I asked him to do an interview. He was a little shy at first and looking back, I should have waited before diving right in. But, hindsight is 20/20, unlike the events that unfolded that evening. The rest of the night he was telling me tons of stories and generally being a great dude to hang out with, which I'm sure anyone who's shared his company for more than 10 minutes would agree on. However, it was all off the record and left at the bottom of a pint glass. Still, we partied, watched movies and dominated a London bus like never before, ending up in a club filled with suited douchebags trying desperately to get laid.
Chatting after that night, Antti came through and wrote some additional stories over the original interview transcript so you get all the juicy details (and I look better at my job). So thanks, Antti, you're a damn fine snowboarder and one hell of a gentleman to take the time to share your tales. Read on to find out about the Vans First Layer trips to Russia, getting endlessly kicked out of spots, living the dream in Ruka and hanging with the rest of the Vans Euro squad. And, if you haven't yet seen his part in First Layer Russia or the whole edit for that matter, you can watch it below. Just prepare yourself to be blown away, because Antti kills it, just like he did in Method Movie.
Words: William Sleigh. Photos: Matt Georges.
Tell me about last night, the Vans First Layer premiere in Lyon.
Yeah, so we had the premiere at the Vans Store Lyon last night. It was sick to see the movie for the first time. There was also a good crowd of people and they seemed to like the movie. That's always a rewarding feeling. It was a great night.
Are you happy with your shots in the video?
Yeah, I’m happy with the footage that I managed to get in the video. I wish we had been a little bit luckier with the spots though. We got kicked out so many times during the trip to Siberia.
Who were you mainly filming with?
The crew we had in Novosibirsk, in Siberia, was Will Smith, Benny Urban, Kevin Trammer and Nikita Sekh and a local Russian dude Zuk who was showing us around. And then we had Alex Pfeffer filming and Matt Georges shooting photos.
What was your favourite spot during the trip?
I think my favourite spot was the little rainbows by the river. It was fun to hit that spot and the location was really mellow with the people.
Any bust-ups with the cops?
Actually, once we were doing this line which dropped down from a terrace or whatever onto the parking lot and then you hit the rail. It's in the movie. But, when I was setting up the spot in the upper terrace, Will and the other guys were looking around to see if they could find anything else to hit that day. So they walked around for a bit and end up walking onto a yard which was owned by the Government or something. So the security guy showed up and called cops straight away cause they weren't able to talk to him because of the language barrier, you know. In the end, after the boys spent 3 hours at the police station they got back to the spot without getting fined or anything. They basically signed off some papers that they trespassed the yard or something. Classic.
Is there one trick you got that you were really hyped on?
I'm pretty hyped on the wallie front 3 at the rainbows by the river. I'll show you the photo.
Oh man, the one on the premiere poster! So was it the first time you'd ever been to Russia and Siberia?
Yeah kind of, I've been to St. Petersburg for a day because you know if you travel from Finland to Russia. You get 48 hours free visa without applying it if you go there by this one ferry. So I've been there for a day a few years back but it's a totally different world compared to Siberia.
What's the biggest culture shock?
Everything. It’s crazy that even though we're neighbours it's really different world on the other side of the border. The architecture and culture are really different, at least in Siberia. But actually, it was interesting to see that part of Russia too.
What's the snowboard scene out there like?
It seems to be alright I guess. I've got to see some of the Russian snowboarding scene in Ruka, back home. I guess they are used to travel to Finland to ride good parks.
Do you still have your caravan in Ruka?
Nah, not anymore. We had it over 7 years in Ruka. I wish we still had it.
What happened to it?
I think the reason was that I moved to Helsinki and Ruka is pretty far away from Helsinki. It’s about 11hours drive so it didn't really make sense to keep it.
Will you still go back there?
Yeah, I think I'm going back there in two weeks, for a week, then a couple of days back home and maybe one more trip back to Ruka. That's a really traditional way how my buddies and I start the season. Ruka is always the first place open in Finland so we always go there to get warmed up for winter.
What's your plan after Ruka, for the rest of the winter?
Many things are still open but at least I got this one trip planned to Japan. At the end of January until mid-February. We're having this signature camp in Appi with Eero Ettala and Heiki Sorsa for Mint Tours. It’s gonna be a fun trip, the powder in Japan is unreal. We actually had the same camp last year and it turned out to be good so they wanted to continue the camp for this year too. But otherwise I have plans but nothing is sure yet. So I can't claim anything, you know.
In your Method interview last winter you mentioned a spot in your hometown, the drop into the bank, late frontside one. Will you try and go back to the spot and get that trick?
Yeah, maybe one day if it still exists next winter. I think they're going to renovate the whole place pretty soon. It’s a sick place, there are over 10 different ways to hit that spot.
Are there any other spots or tricks you didn't manage to get last winter that you want to go back to?
Yeah definitely. There's always some. But most of the spots that I have a specific idea are located in the areas where it doesn’t snow that much. So you have to be there at the right time when it snows.
Who's part are you most excited to watch in the new Vans movie, Landline?
I really like the whole team but I think I’m most excited to see Jake Kuzyk's part.