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Interview with Antti Autti

By Tommaso Bernacchi

We interviewed Antti Autti, Finnish professional snowboarder and athlete for Haglofs, Jones Snowboard, Shred and Spark R&D

Tell us a little bit about you
I am Antti Autti from Finland, I am a professional snowboarder. I used to do a lot of competitions back in the days, I did it from 2001 to 2010 pretty much, I have participated in all the big events in the world. I won X Games and one world championship, I also did a lot of TTR and world snowboard tour. Pretty much all the big events. Then I quit competing and started producing my own films and basically focusing more and more on freeriding. That is what I am still doing, enjoying life. I usually go to Japan every year to make a project, but recently I have been focusing a lot in the Scandinavian nordic mountains because there is a lot of potential here, where I live, and it has not been felt that much, so I have been interested to do that as well. In general, I still ride a lot, everyday almost, definitely enjoying time and loving the snowboarding life.

 

So as you said 15 years ago you were a full time competitor you won a lot, X Games, World Championships. Then in 2010 you have switched to freeriding and movie making. Is there any- thing that you miss from the competition world?
Not really. I do sometime miss that thrill that you get like when you have a though competition and you have to perform well. That only happens in freeriding when you are doing some really difficult line or jump. Sometime I miss the feeling of competition itself, but the whole circuit and everything around… I don’t miss that. I do like small banked slalom contests here and there, some fun events with my friends, just because it is good to remind yourself where you are coming from. You get excited about it and it can still push your riding as well. It is super fun, but on a professional level I feel like I saw the whole thing enough for those 10 years I’ve done it. For me snowboarding is expressing myself and feeling adventurous and this was what I was missing a little while competing. That is why i made the decision to leave the circuit and focus on freeriding more.

 

Talking about present day, this season you were filming your new video project, right? called ROAM?
Yes. It is still a work in progress, but we are on hold because we cannot go to Norway and Sweden now for example. Our borders in Finland are closed, so we have been doing some filming in the north lately, but something more mellow style and just daily stuff, because our crew and the sponsors felt that is a very irresponsible way to create any little-bit-more demanding content, due to the current situation. That is why we decided to release the film 2021 instead of 2020. This crisis is something that we have never faced before in our lifetime and is very difficult for people to understand the scale of this situation right now. That is why we were thinking that maybe we just call it, in a way, and when things evolve better we will keep making that little-bit-more risky stuff, but for now we are keeping it more mellow.
So everything moved to next year so you have another winter to film and produce.
Another winter, but a very busy one because I have a lot of stuff going on next winter. I will definitely have a lot of things to think about during the summer, so I can plan everything, but I like it because I haven’t been in the high mountains this year. I am definitely waiting to get back there to ride some nice lines.

Where were you filming ROAM?
We have done some filming in Finland, we were also filming in the Swedish Lapland, the northern Sweden area, then in Norway. The idea of the movie is a split-boarding and and mountain film following my journey through the different winter seasons of the Scandinavian region. We are basically following the light the whole the time. We have this crazy light movement, the changing lights in the north. Some points of our winter and year are full dark and then we have the midnight sun. During this times we still have a lot of snow usually, so we want to showcase the nature and the adventure throughout these different light seasons. This is something that requires a lot of work and because of the current situation, we cannot go to Norway to work and that is also why it was postponed.

 

We can take ROAM as an example if you want, but I wanted to know… as you are not only the rider but also the mind behind your films… how does a project like this take life? What was the main idea behind it?
When I’ve started to make films, I had to put myself in the producer seat. At first, it was only about the tricks and the line, but since we made the documentary Arctic Lights, followed by Closer and my latest one Yukiguni, we have been thinking a lot about the viewer and the concept around the film, the artistic side, what the goal for the film is, what the person that is watching will get out of it. It has always been important. It is not only me doing this planning, it is together with the filmmaker and the director, like the guy who is making ROAM is the same who made Closer for example. We really want the focus on thinking about the style of the film and the feeling we are trying to create. If we focus on the feeling that, for example, snowboarding or splitboarding create when you are doing it outside, you will have a much bigger effect on the person who is watching the film instead of just showing the craziest trick or line, which is of course very important, but how everything comes together is more impactful. To think about the person who is watching the film we are trying to make is important, because there is a lot of work behind it and if you only focus on one trick then in these times in which we have instagram and people can just scroll and see tricks in there, it does not make any sense. We have to create artistic pieces that people can watch over and over again before they go riding, for example.

How do you plan a trip like this?
Most of the times if I see an interesting photo of a place or if I see some good stuff from it, I get interested in the area, do some research around it and start making a plan. That happens normally if there is a line that you want to do and then you plan your whole trip around this one area and you study that, but if we are making a film such as ROAM, where we are focusing a lot on details and artistic approach as well as times of the seasons, then we look at some statistic when the weather is usually in a specific condition and then we try to make a rough plan around it. However many times it is about what kind of riding I want to do and what kind of filming we need to do. It is what we de- cide, where we go filming, for example in the north, but if we go to Japan we need to have either a film concept in our mind or we have a certain spot we want to ride and then we plan on that. Every- thing depends on the concept and the goal of the rider.

 

ROAM will be the first movie with you riding for Jones Snowboard as you were recently announced as a new member of the Jones Snowboards family. What is your quiver like? What are your picks from the rack?
I am riding now a Solution split. I have a Ultracraft split and Stormchaser split. Those are the ones I have been using a lot, and for the solid ones I have actually been using a ultra Mindexpander and the project X. It is super fun, a little bit stiff and a classic, directional twin camber which is great. I like camber boards, I like speed, I like having a lot of torsion when I am riding, and use edges. I have been using that a lot since I have been riding at home resort on hard pack snow or hitting a park jump. The quiver is definitely changing depending on the conditions, but if I would have to choose one board from all the quiver I would go with the Solution, because I can just ride everything with that board.

 

I was reading your Q&A on Haglöfs and I found really interesting this vision about the “new normal”. what is this new normal that you are living?
I have been a professional snowboarder for almost 20 years and my mind is set for this one focus, that it works this way and my goal during the winter is to go ride at the best place possible. At this time of the year, it would mean to go ride on the high mountains and if I cannot go there, it feels very difficult to be at home. It took a little bit of time for me to understand that this is actually a problem not related to COVID19. The problem is stuck in my head. In Finland we have no high mountains. It is very easy when you are used to do things in a certain way to just keep working like that and you tend to not see all the nice things around your place, in the nature that is close to you. I have been in the mountains for 10 years in a row, and in that time I have never spent springtime at home. First occasion in years, I am at home since one month and I am now starting to see again the nice things of spring in Finland. This has been an eye opener for me, because I think that if I want to keep living in Finland and enjoy the mountains I have to first be able to enjoy the area where I am. There are lots of things that need to be adjusted when you are a professional snowboarder and you suddenly have to stop everything, because my job does not really happen at home, it happens outside. I go for trips, and when i come back home I rest, I plan some new adventures and I train, but now I am just planning new adventures. A lot of planning, a lot of learning, that is what I meant. I think it is super important for the future, for many people doing freeriding for example, to really evaluate why you would go on a trip and how you are going to do it before you take the leap and go there, because we are so used to just travel. It has been very easy and this might change for a while, I hope for the better, for the sake of the climate. But the idea that we really have to think before we take the leap of going away from home to do snowboarding is very important, because if we want to enjoy the trip we are on, it is better to plan and train for it and really enjoy it, not go there unprepared. I was thinking about this just yesterday, because I saw a lot of things about the places we wanted to go before COVID19 and I realized that our crew was actually not ready to do it this year, so in many ways we are in a phase to rethink some of the plans that we had set for this film as well.

How you got into snowboarding as a kid?
I did a lot of team sports as a kid, a lot of coaching, and I did not really fit into that mold so nicely. Snowboarding looked in a way radical. People were wearing jeans and they had this sort of attitude I had neve seen anywhere else. It was sort of the style. Snowboarding looked cool. That attracted me, and the tricks, of course! I was skiing back in the days and nobody was doing any cool tricks with the skis, but with the snowboard everybody was doing them in their local resort, jumping over cars, hitting rails, and they had all that cool stuff that nobody else had. I guess the freedom of it was very important. That drew me in. If you learn how to snowboard you can go with it everywhere, you can know your own abilities. That is something I have been trying to remember while doing my projects or if i have the feeling I can do something, I will try to go do it because usually cool things can happen.

 

What is your favourite terrain when splitboarding?
I think I like couloirs. We do a lot of couloirs in the north but It is not like “I want to do only that” thing. I really like the terrain that has a lot of features, wind lips and stuff I can jump off, Those are the best. Stuff that allows me to do a few turns and an air or something like this. Playful terrain is what I like the most, I think.

 

Because of your background?
Yes, definitely. I really like mountaineering style riding as well, but that is not the only thing I want to do in my snowboarding. My focus now is only splitboarding, but I want to do it with a playful style.There are times where doing a huge cool air or huge line comes in a place, but if you are only focusing on doing that you are missing a lot of fun stuff around them. I want to have a mixture of my past in this new thing that I am doing. This is a good combination I feel.

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