Learn to Pronounce It: Pekka Hyysalo

Comments by Steve Hemphill/

What are you thankful for? On this "Thanksgiving eve" we want to remind everyone how blessed we are to have the ability to slide on snow, enjoy the mountains and hang out with friends.

In our second installment of "Learn to Pronounce It," we bring you a story that is much bigger than simply skiing. We all know that skiing is a high-risk sport and at times can even be life-threatening, and no one knows this better than Pekka Hyysalo.

If you were to have asked any skier last year who they should watch out for, they would have mentioned the Finnish star, Pekka Hyysalo. While filming for Flightlight Films shortfilm, Hello, this past spring, Pekka suffered a life threatening injury, over-roatating a switch double flip in Yllas, Finland. With doubles becoming more and more common, the perils become exponentially higher.

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Pekka at the 2010 Jon Olsson Invitational

Now, months after the injury, Pekka is relearning to do some of the most basic daily functions we all take for granted. Sidelined by an unfortunate accident, possibly one of the most talented skiers to come out of Finland chatted with us about how he is doing, the little joys in life, how you can stay safe when riding, and where Santa Claus is really from.

Personal Info

Name: Pekka Hyysalo
Age: 20
Hometown: Turku, Finland
Sponsors: Volkl skis, Volkl Outerwear, Sweet Helmets, Dalbello boots, Dakine and Phil Park.

Q&A

Freeskier: How is the recovery coming?
Pekka Hyysalo: It's going pretty well, although I'm still having difficulties with my memory and balance among other things. After five moths of hospitals and recovery center, I'm happy to be home.
 
FS: After being injured has your outlook on skiing changed at all? Do you have any anger or animosity towards the sport?
PH: I wouldn't say I have any anger towards the sport, just a lot of disappointment and frustration since I'm not able to do what I love the most. Also, since my future as a skier is very uncertain and it will take a while until I can get back on skis I've come to appreciate just basic skiing a lot more than I used to.
FS: What advice would you give kids in terms of staying safe while riding?
PH: Always, ALWAYS wear a helmet. That saved my life. A back protector is also a good investment, it saved me from becoming paralyzed. Also, if the weather or setup feels too sketchy, think twice before jumping.

FS: Do you think the skiing is "progressing" to fast?
PH: Yes, a little, but that's the way it goes when you have a lot of talented guys pushing it harder than ever. I just hope it doesn't get to out of control and everybody stays safe. I would hate to see this same thing happen to somebody else.
 

FS: Changing gears, what is up with all you guys from Finland? Finland skiers are killing it. Who should we be looking out for?
PH: Yeah, there are a lot of guys killing it. I think anyone who has seen a Nipwitz episode or Hello! knows that Finland has a lot of talent in skiing and filming. Antti Ollila is definitely a name to remember, this young talent has a lot to show!
 
FS: In a ski battle of the Euro nations, who do you think would win Sweden, Norway or Finland? Why?
PH: Unfortunately, I would have to go with Norway. But just for now, my little bros are gonna take over in few years.

FS: Who is your favorite skier?
PH: Bobby Brown, he's just so talented.
 
FS: What is one thing people should know about Finland that they may not know?
PH: That Santa Claus doesn't live in North Pole, he lives in FINLAND!
 
FS: Any shout outs?
PH: To my girlfriend Reetta who has been the biggest support ever, my family and friends who have helped me through rough times. Thank you so much!
Editors Note: Big thanks to Pekka for taking time to talk with us. Everyone at Freeskier wishes you the best.