Crossfire - Jukka Erätuli.

[Photo: Sami Tuoriniemi.]

Your questions came in thick and fast for this month’s Crossfire, Finnish all-rounder Jukka Erätuli. Sit back, relax and check out what he had to say.

Hello Jukka,
It was Crepel the first year, Shaun the second, so who do you reckon will walk home with the TTR crown this year?
Thanks
Seamus

Hmm. It is so hard to tell. There are so many really good riders who don’t do that many comps to end up on a good ranking spots. On the other hand it is really hard to do well in contests if you ride mostly powder and concentrate on filming. The guys who do most of the contests like me are riding different parks all the time and getting so safe on their best tricks they are hard to beat. The new generation of Finnish riders are really good and they will do well for sure, and if they get a chance to be invited to the bigger comps I’m sure they will end up being on top. Thanks Seamus.

Easy now.
How come Storbis aren’t so gay anymore? The teaser looked like you guys had gone all serious on us. Please bring back your gayness of old.
Gay Dan

Heh heh. There will still be funny stuff on it, at least we think so. But anyway we got better equipment and new skills so we try to combine quality and our crooked sense of humour. Ride on, Dan.

I’m from Germany and a new daddy too. I was wondering how you cope with your family obligations and your pro career. Do you have to make a plan or do you just go with the flow?
Thomas, Nurenberg

Thanks to my lovely and understanding wife Susanna, I go where I need to go and she takes care of the kids. We knew I was going travel a lot when we started having kids but we wanted to be young parents and it is lovely. This really getting on my nerves sometimes, but is totally worth it. I guess I would travel more if I did not have family back home but I’ve also became more effective and organised in my snowboarding career. I love having great family life with some adventures: they give me the strength to be a more harmonious dad. I can even go riding with my son now since he is six years old already and into shredding as well.
Best wishes to you and your family, Thomas.

I’m coming from Sweden and so I’m always happy to see so many Scandi names in snowboard magazines. But don’t you think it could actually be a problem to have too many Scandis on the scene, and that people can’t identify them any more? And why do you think it’s like that?
Niklas, Gothenburg

Yes, Niklas, I think it is business as well so it would be way easier for some talented Scandis to have other nationalities. But they wouldn’t probably be as good if they came from somewhere else.

Is it harder to stand out as an individual in the snowboard scene when (to an American at least) your name sounds like every other Scandinavian name? Is that why Lauri Heiskari wears those stupid hats?
Johnny Rad, LA

I’m sure it helps if your name was Mike Casanova or something easy to remember. But we cannot do much about it. The whole package has to be working and if nothing else fits the market, you just have to be an amazingly good snowboarder.

What trick did you find hardest to learn when you were growing up and what was the key to finally nailing it?
Sylvain, Geneva

I remember I really wanted to learn frontside boardslides some years back but I didn’t dare to try. Then I just used a file to blunt my edges and that day I learned them switch as well. After that I always rode with slightly blunted edges, except in the pipe.

What tricks can you still not do?
Hans, Berlin

I have been thinking about trying double corks in my own way for a long time but have not dared to try them yet. And I always wanted to do basic McTwists in the pipe but never learned them. I always do just backside spins a little corked when I try it.

I read in your blog on onboardmag.com that you tore your ACL and meniscus in spring 2006. Did the injury limit your riding last season? Are you now more cautious if you’re sessioning big drops and jumps?
Lisa, Zürich

Yes, that happened and it took really long to recover for some reason. It was painful last season and it started to get better just at the end of the winter. I’m more cautious and think more about what I do. I used to do stupid stuff. I still have it sometimes when I think something is going to look really good in the pictures and I can see the great photo on my mind. That still makes me do stuff that I would never do if someone was not shooting it. Cheers, Lisa.

I heard that Scandies like to shave their whole body. Is this true?
Melissa, London

Yes, Melissa, otherwise it gets too warm in Scandinavia. Even polar bears do it.

Which kind of music do you listen to in order to get yourself in the right mood for a park, rail or powder session?
Alex, Salzburg

I do not listen to music while riding. I need to hear what is happening around me to feel like I have control. But otherwise I’ve been listening a lot of rock’n’roll and electronica lately. I just got an Omnimotion album. They’re a Swedish band and I’m pretty stoked on their music. I listen to a lot of punk as well. There is this Finnish punk band called SBSociety and they are great too.

As far as I can see in the magazines, it seems there’s now more and more like 2 mainstream tendencies in snowboarding: jibbing and backcountry kicker riding. Do you see a new direction for the snowboard evolution?
Pascal, Paris

Yes, Pascal, I really respect the guys who jib with style in the backcountry and combine good tricks with the fat lines. So in the future, freestyle and freeriding will go even more together.

What do you think about this comment I recently heard: “Most of the jibs on snow are gay – jibbers are just frustrated skateboarders”?
Eric, Bourg St Maurice

Well, Eric, I love jibbing with my snowboard and I think that is such a great thing in snowboarding that we can play around and have fun wherever there is even a little bit of snow. It is perfect to go skateboarding in the summer and snowboarding during the winter, and not to get frustrated at all.

Hey Jukka! How do you deal with the fact that you have two hungry kids and a wife that depend on your income, and how does it affect your snowboarding? Does it make you try even harder or does it just get you depressed to be on the road all the time and not be with them?
pat

Hey, Pat.
I have learned that the less I’m stressing the better everything goes, and everything has gone really well so far. I have been able to do what I most wanted, and have been able to feed my kids and get an idyllic place to live in as well. It is hard to be away for long but shorter trips are fun. It would be really hard if I was travelling away from my family for some job that I did not love as much as snowboarding. It is really heartbreaking, though, when I’m going away and my kids are sadly telling me that they don’t want me to leave. And it often takes some days to get a good connection with my kids and especially with my wife after I’ve been travelling for a while. And if I just visit home briefly, it is hard for everyone. They have learned to live by themselves and I’ve learned to just take care of myself, and it’s a culture shock when I go home. After I’ve been staying home for a week I do not really want to leave, but when I leave it’s fun again. So it is conflicting but beautiful. I’m sure we all are really eager to do something, and if we learn to listen ourselves better and dedicate doing what we want, we’ll find a job that doesn’t feel like a job. And if we can get rid of stupid spending and wanting habits we can live happily doing stuff that we love.

Dear Jukka,
2003 and 2005 were two big years at the snowboard championships for you. What about 2007-08? We miss seeing you rocking on stage, dude! And also any movie projects: Storbis? Who with do you prefer shredding and where?
All the best to you,
Fabien

Thanks, Fabien.
Last season I had a knee surgery and that took quite a while to recover from. Now it is better and I’m sitting on the plane flying to New Zealand. I’m really happy to be riding again and I feel like doing more photo shoots and our movie Storbis than contests in the future. I’ve been competing for the past 14 years and I feel like doing something else now. I want to concentrate more on being creative, seeing more inspiring places, riding more powder and getting good shots for the mags. Snowboarding has been my dream since I was a kid and I want to keep it that way by doing it the way I feel good.
I love to shred with all the good riders who are really enthusiastic, fun to play around with and who push each other to do new stuff. I’ve met a lot of nice people in snowboarding and I’m thankful for that. Even with all the travelling I’ve done I’ve still probably had the most enjoyable days ten minutes away from my house in a resort called Talma.
All the best.

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Knut Christoffersen.