Catching Up With AJ Kemppainen

Catching Up With AJ Kemppainen

While Sweden and Norway continue to produce freeskiing talent left and right, but Finland’s Antti-Jussi Kemppainen has been making quite the name for himself. The pipe and slopestyle specialist has been gaining steam, using his flawless style and technically superior ability to place well at X Games and beyond. Here, the young Finn talks about his summer and his love for the US.

Freeskier: What’s up AJ? Where are you right now?
AJ Kemppainen: I’m good, thanks. I’m in Kuusamo [Finland], which is my hometown, it’s next to Ruka ski resort. I’m about to take a plane to Helsinki tonight to go skateboarding for a few days.

Freeskier: Taking a plane to go skating? You’re just living large over there aren’t you?
AJ: Haha, no. I’m going to stay there for a week, that’s why.

Freeskier: Does all this skating mean there isn’t too much summer skiing in Finland?
AJ: There is no snow at all. That’s good though, I love to take some time off and do different kinds of stuff than in the winter time. Then, when the snow comes, I’m a lot more stoked to go shred again.

Freeskier: Always nice to take a break. What else is on your summer palate?
AJ: I just got back home from a little wakeboarding trip, which was awesome. It’s very warm over here these days, so the water is warm, too. I don’t really have any plans… I just go with the flow because this is the only time of the year I’m able to do that.

Freeskier: Will you be dropping in on the fall big air competitions?
AJ: I really really hope so! Last year I went to Freestyle.ch and it was a good time! I want to do that again for sure. And I think I’m going to New Zealand later on the summer, so I can ski a little bit before the comp to get the touch back.

Freeskier: You had a pretty dialed year last year, hoping to build on last year’s success?
AJ: Yeah, last winter was great! A lot of good memories! I feel super motivated at the moment so, I believe next winter is going to be even better.

Freeskier: Is it tough coming over to the states all year by yourself?
AJ: For sure it is tough because you are all alone. But on the other hand, I love it becase it’s always fun to make new friends and see how you guys are living over there in the States.

Freeskier: What’s your favorite thing about the US?
AJ: Sun and warm weather. There is also a bunch of other good things in US… mountains, people, snow…

Freeskier: Finland isn’t so warm?
AJ: If I was at home in January, I’d have to wear a puffy jacket and mittens all the time! In the US I can hang out on my surfshorts in January! So, the warm weather is something I love.

Freeskier: You should just move here.
AJ: I would love to! But I need a place to stay…

Freeskier: Take all your Euro money and move to Boulder or SLC like all the other skiers…
AJ: Oh man, that sounds awesome. Actually, I have been thinking about that a lot, because if I lived in US, I didnt need to travel that much to come back home.

Freeskier: And your English is way better than most US people I know, so you’re set. And all the ladies love AJ. So you’re set there, too.
AJ: Haha, haven’t heard about that.I would love to say that I live in US. And I’m pretty sure it will happen someday.

Freeskier: Well the US would love to see more AJ. Any other big things going on right now?
AJ: Hmmm, nothing really big… a bunch of small things. I fell in love with skateboarding very badly a couple years ago, so I have been skating everyday and I feel I’m getting better, slowly but surely.

Freeskier: Quite the precocious young skier. Any big shout outs you want to give?
AJ: I really want to thank all my old school friends because I’ve had an awsome summer hanging out with them. It’s great to see all those faces again that I’m not able to see at all in the winter time. But, I have also the same feeling in the fall, when I get back to my friends from skiing scene. It’s great to see those guys again after a little break. I’m just super happy that I have so many good people around me.

Freeskier: We can’t wait to see you this fall either, AJ.

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