Two edits from Ruka, Finland: Antti Ollila and 9-year-old Eelis Heimonen
I spent a large part of last week with some skiers at Keystone, Colorado. One of them was Maude Raymond who, although snakebit by the injury bug, has shown to be among the most stylish women skiing today. Her full interview—or at least more precisely transcribed thoughts—will be in Freeskier magazine this fall, but here’s the broad explanation of her view point: technique trumps size. I know, I know… it sounds dirty. Get over it and think about this argument: if a diver can do a four and a half on a ten meter platform, the organizers don’t make a 15 meter platform so more people can do that many spins. Instead, they wait for the divers to get better so more of them can do the trick on that size platform.
More explanation to come, but follow the line of argument for a second. It would be easy to dismiss this edit from Antti Ollila because it’s all park rails or boxes and (relatively) small jumps. But, wow, the dude has his tricks on lock. Technique? He has it. Who knows (I don’t) if he can do those tricks on a street handrail or on a big ol’ Level 1 size kicker. But there is no denying the range of tricks in his edit or their execution.
Watch it. Enjoy it. Question the Finnish park features at Rukatunturi (1,500 vertical feet, 500 miles north of Helsinki). Question my opinion. Just don’t question the skiing, ’cause it is damn fine ski shreddin’.
Oh, and if you wonder how you get to be this good at skiing, it doesn’t have anything to do with the Olympics or hiring some washed up skier or mysterious old man to be your coach. Just start practicing, skiing, jumping and sliding rails as soon as you can walk. Do it every day and when you turn nine, maybe, just maybe you can put out a season edit like this one from Eelis Heimonen. Or maybe you have to be from Ruka, Finland to ski like these two.
About the author:
Nate Abbott is a photographer and man of mystery. Most likely to be found in Boulder, CO or New York City, he spends winters chasing skiers and snow around the world with hundreds of pounds of cameras and lights in tow. During the production season, Abbott is Freeskier’s Senior Editor and photo nerd. Check out his work at nateabbott.com.