Production Values: Rene Rinnekangas 'Sugared"

Interview. Theo Acworth

Photo. Tatu Toivanen 

Extracted from issue 22.2

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© Tatu Toivanen

Hey Rene, how many people are there in Finland with the name Rinnekangas?

It’s pretty rare. I think anyone with that name is related. The Kangas part is more common. Rinne means a slope, and Kangas means canvas, or fabric.

Tell us what’s up with Sugared. Is it just you in the movie?

It’s pretty much only me riding, and some friends have a couple of tricks, like Tatu, who was taking the photos. 

Where were you shooting?

We had some big plans to go to Japan and ride some pow, but due to that thing in the world, we couldn’t really go anywhere. So we just went with what we had and filmed the whole thing in Finland. In spring, we also went up to Riksgränsen in the north of Sweden. That will be one part, and then one street part. 

How did you find the balance between competing and filming?

I always ask myself that, how I find the time to do both. I had two ankle surgeries before last winter, so I started the season a bit late and couldn’t do too much. But we started filming street pretty early. Then there were a few contests after Christmas and in January. Whenever I was back home, I would film. It was a pretty busy schedule and it’s always hard to find time for both. There’s always a week here or there, but a week goes quick when you spend two days building a spot. But we have a small crew, and I’m pretty much the only rider, so we could get shots pretty fast.

Was it ever stressful switching from the filming environment to contests, or vice versa?

Sometimes. Right before the world champs, I was filming street for three weeks straight. I didn’t ride resorts at all. I went from the streets straight to the US, and I didn’t even know if I could do a front 3 anymore! But I think shooting street helped a lot because when I got back to the resorts, everything just felt nice, and I was excited to do my tricks because I hadn’t done them for a while. Everything was kind of new again. So I actually loved mixing street and contest riding.

Have you ever made a movie before?

No, not really. Besides Real Street, this was the first real project. We wanted it to be longer and try to show a bit more of who I am and what I’m doing. That was special for all of us, and I’m really grateful to have such nice people around me who support me doing the thing I love the most. 

Have you learnt anything from the last year?

Yeah, a lot. We had to think about all the behind the scenes stuff and the story of the movie a bit more. I don’t have much experience with powder jumps, so I learned a lot about that and being in the backcountry with sleds and stuff. That was so nice. 

Is the video a mixture of fun stuff and gnarly stuff?

It’s a mix of everything. We have this beautiful thing called snowboarding with no rules and no single right way to do it, so I think it’s nice to show people as much as you can. That’s the way that I ride. There is some small stuff and some bigger stuff. But I was stoked to bring some tricks from the slopes to the streets, and I hope people like what we got.