You are one of the most successful riders in the sport but everyone probably knows the least about you. Do you keep your personal life a secret on purpose or is that more of a language issue?
Well it’s a bit harder to communicate in English, but I don’t think that’s the issue. I prefer to let the riding do the talking. I wouldn’t want to be in the tabloids if I do something fun with the boys. Another thing is that not that many people ask me about it.. You had a chance with this interview and missed it. hahah.
Talking of language, you are known for being a man of few words but recently when I saw you you were chatting away in English and you were speaking more than normal and your English got a lot better. Did you have to learn that for Sochi and media training or is that something you developed yourself?
Hahah Tom, Come on. Do you really think I have been learning a language for Sochi media training? It has come with time. I’ve been travelling since I was a grommet but you are right with me being a man of few words. I’m not that talkative in Finnish either.
Talking of Sochi, did you boycott the pipe or were you injured?
I got injured at The Dew Tour right before Christmas and had a surgery on my rib cartilage before new years. I was out the whole of January and just got back into the slopes a week before the Olympics. That really killed my time to prepare for the pipe. Slopestyle is easier as I ride it way more and I can pull it off from the back of my head, but pipe demands way more. If your riding is even a little off, you wont be doing back to back doubles in your run. I was keeping up the hopes to ride the pipe and get a decent run together at the practice in Sochi, but we had few cancelled training sessions and the pipe was such a mess that it didn’t feel right at all. So I decided to pull out rather than go and risk a serious injury. It was a tough call.
Were your family and friends disappointed you didn’t enter the pipe?
Not really disappointed, but I did get a lot of questions about it. After the medal in Vancouver a lot of people thought of me as a pipe rider where as I see myself more as an all rounder and they thought that if I’m riding something in Sochi it will be pipe. It was easy to explain though.
You’ve won the TTR title 4 times and could have won it more if you did all the events. What would you say is your greatest achievement?
I think the first TTR Overall title is the best one. Back then it was only one champion and it was anybody’s game. You could win it even with dominating one discipline. Then when they changed it to include results from pipe, QP and Slope it became easier to win as I was doing all right in all three. Now there are so many champions it has diluted the value a little. Of course the Silver medal at Vancouver was a big one too. It has so much hype.
Would you swap any of those TTR titles for a medal at Sochi?
Yeah, I could give one away haha. It’s pretty hard one to get an Olympic medal. It’s one day in every four years and you just have to be on point on that moment, it’s damn tough. Then you look at the level of riding and your mind is just blown.
How much do you think Sochi changed snowboarding? Has it changed for the good or better or not at all?
Maybe it changed some things. I think its great that slopestyle was brought in and it did boost the level of riding quite a bit. I think the bad thing is that the 2 years prior to the games the buzzing starts, Olympics this, Olympics that. Mainstream media is giving us way more coverage in good and bad ways, so that has definitely changed a lot of things. If you have a bit of fun and someone snaps a photo of you it might end up in the tabloids and that’s not cool. But hey, that’s what snowboarding is now a days so we have to accept it as a part of the job. Some like the attention more than others.
You go bigger than most other riders, do you not know how to speedcheck or is that because of your hours in the gym?
Hahahah yeah I think I can hah. I don’t necessary take more speed than others, but I love to pop as hard as I can. Going big feels good and at least to me it looks good. I also feel that it is easier for me to do some tricks when I go big. I go to the gym so I can stay in one piece when I land in the flats hah. The season is long and your body takes a lot of beatings even if you don’t crash. Being fit allows me to do what I want instead of moaning about pain all the time.
I heard you are a big golf fan, would you rather never hit a golf ball again or never ride pipe again?
Right now I would leave the golf ball to others. But if you ask the same question in ten years I might have to change hah.
Have you any plans for when you quit riding professionally? Are you hoping to say in the industry or move away from it, where can you imagine living?
No real plans yet. I’m going to keep riding as long as I have motivation and my body is up for it. I guess those two things go pretty much hand in hand. I would love to do something within the industry after my career, but we’ll see what that will be.
I probably will keep my base in Finland; it’s hard to think living anywhere else in long term. It’s just so nice up there.
Which riders have you seen that are the next generation of super pros?
That’s a tough one. My guess is that they are Norwegian or American hah. It’s a long road to the top and it is pretty tough to predict things like that. Wherever there’s a good park there will be little grommets coming up. They see us doing triples now and that’s their reality. So they’ll probably come up with something even crazier.
I heard T bird and Pat Bridges ask you what type of sun cream do you use but I didn’t get to hear the answer. Which brand is it?
Anything with 50spf! Hah.
Follow Peetu on his Instagram here.
Index photo: World Snowboard Tour
Riding photos: Sani Alibabic