Kalle LeinonenIt’s now official – Kalle Leinonen has joined 4FRNT and we couldn’t be any more excited about that. Some of you know who Kalle is and some you, undoubtedly, are scratching your head. If you are one of the latter, let me tell you that Kalle may be the best skier you’ve never heard of. I’ll also make a bold prediction: you are going to hear a lot about this young Finnish star in the years to come. Great things are in his future. Check out the interview Matt Sterbenz did with Kalle in Whistler here.

When I first me Kalle, I was reminded of a quote from The Devil’s Advocate. In that movie Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino play high powered lawyers and at one point Reeves, who played a young rising star, asked Pacino, the experienced veteran, how he always wins his cases. Pacino responded with “Son, the trick is to never let them see you coming.” I don’t know if Kalle has ever seen this movie or heard that line, but that one sentence, more than any other, describes our newest rider.

What do I mean by that? Well, if I told you that we had a rider that finished in the top-5 in competition over 80% of the time, you’d think Tanner Hall or Jon Olsson. If I told you that this rider stood on the podium at competitions 9 times in a single season you’d probably think about TJ Schiller or Simon Dumont. You wouldn’t change your mind when we told you that he beat out more than 10 X-Games competitors throughout the season or that he finished second overall in the World Cup standings or that he won his country’s National Championship and was named Freestyler of the Year. In fact, you’d probably bet a fair amount of your bank account when I told you that you weren’t even close. But, that’s exactly what this young phenom did this past season – at the ripe old age of 18. Didn’t see that coming, did ya?

2007-08 Competition Results
Event Location Result
Fabulous Ruka Slopestyle Ruka, Finland 1st
Austrian Freeski Open Slopestyle Mayrhofen, Austria 1st
Nippon Open Halfpipe Joetsu Kokusai, Japan 1st
Finnish National Championships Ruka, Finland 1st
Tignes Airwaves Hip Jump Tignes, France 2nd
FIS World Cup Halfpipe Inawashiro, Japan 2nd
FIS World Cup Halfpipe Valmalenco, Italy 2nd
FIS World Cup – Overall Halfpipe   2nd
Tignes Airwaves Halfpipe Tignes, France 3rd
Nippon Open Slopestyle Joetsu Kokusai, Japan 4th
European Open Halfpipe Laax, Switzerland 4th
Newschool Picknick Big Air Zauchensee, Austria 4th
US Freeski Open Halfpipe Copper Mountain, Colorado 5th
FIS World Cup Halfpipe Les Contamines, France 7th

Kalle LeinonenKalle’s profile has remained low, which is where he likes it, despite his successes for a few reasons. First, he’s from Finland and even though there is an incredible amount of talent up there, the Finns as a group have not drawn a lot of attention — yet. Second, he was overshadowed in the US a bit by fellow countryman AJ Kemppainen who captured the US Open Pipe championship this season. That event, however, was 1 of only 2 events in which Kalle did not finish higher than the US Open champ this season. Finally, Kalle is too modest to let you know just how good he is. Whatever the reasons, Kalle has done a fine job of not letting the competition see him coming. How did we find him? Well, that will have to remain a secret, but let’s just say that it wasn’t by chance.

As many of you already know, 4FRNT isn’t just a brand or a company or a team of riders. 4FRNT is a family made up of the owners (almost all of whom are professional skiers), sponsored athletes and those of you who chose to ride 4FRNT. Today, we all have something to celebrate and we couldn’t be happier to welcome Kalle as the newest member of our family. Feel free to welcome him yourself by sending him an email at [email protected] and keep your eye on him this coming season. Better yet, come on up to Whistler and meet him in person at Camp of Champions. Check out the interview Matt Sterbenz did with Kalle in Whistler here.

Remember, his signature trick is to never let you see him coming.

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