In early December Antti Autti bailed hard while riding the pipe in Copper Mountain, Colorado. He had been preparing for the Olympic qualifying Grand Prixs when he hit the coping with his torso. He broke a couple of ribs, did some damage to his lung and spleen and has been pretty much screwed over the past few weeks. As he is currently forced to basically do nothing all day long we thought it was about time to catch up with him for a few words...
[This interview was done prior to Kevin Pearce's serious injury - Ed.]
Hi Antti! Sorry to hear about your injury. How long will it take for you to be back on track?
I hope to be able to ride end of second week of January. But we’ll see how things start going. Im not gonna go back into business before I’m sure that everything is 100% fine.
You are talking about a ‘recovery blog’ on your website anttisworld.com. What’s that about?
Well, I wrote a little piece what happened to me there and now that I’m able to start doing more things in gym etc. I just want people who visit the site know how I’m doing and how things are going.
Up until your accident you were trying to make the Finnish Olympic team. What’s your take on the eternal snowboarding should/should not be part of the Olympics debate? What role do the Olympics play in our sport?
I guess it’s good and bad in some ways. Creativity doesn’t play that big part of the Olympics as in TTR for example. And I think it’s even harder to do such good events as the US OPEN and X-Games. They have actually all the best pipe riders in the world. You know, in Japan and States they have a bunch of good shredders and in Switzerland, too. Only four guys of each country will get into Olympics. This surely means that each country will send their best but there are still about 20 dudes who won’t make it and they could still get on the podium on a good day. But in the end Olympics are the biggest sport event out there and I don’t see it as bad a thing for snowboarding as some others might. Surely it makes snowboarding more mainstream but I think it’d be mainstream without Olympics anyways. I like the TTR more but to me it doesn’t matter which contest I’m doing: When I do it I focus on it 100%!
Who (but you) do you see as favorites for gold in Vancouver?
I think Shaun White and Louie Vito are riding strong and it’s not that obvious anymore that Shaun is the number one pipe rider in the world. Ryo Aono is really strong too. I’m hoping that Finns will do good too...
Do you think that the evolution of pipe riding over the past five months is something that could not have happened without the Olympics? And where do you see yourself in this development?
Olympics surely made people throw down new moves – which is great. But I think it is not the biggest reason. You know, people always want to push the sport further. To be honest I freaking hate bags and foam pits. I think it’s cheating but in the end it’s also pretty damn sketchy to go for tricks such as double corks in the icy pipe. It’s all about commitment... But I would rather try my tricks straight on snow. I think some guys just use bags without commitment and without thinking about the tricks enough. I can figure out the trick in my head and then I’ll just have to find the right time to try it on snow.
Some people might see you as a ‘contest machine’, because this is what you do a lot. What do you have to say about this?
I don’t care how people see me that much. Hopefully I am just the funny guy who likes shredding. The only thing that matters is what I like to do. I love filming, too and you know I always get quite a lot of pics and footy done as well. So I guess I see myself more as an allrounder. That’s the way I like it.
Speaking of contests: What kind of experience was the Air&Style in Innsbruck for you? Any stories you’d like to share? Haddaway??!
I don’t think the format is right. I mean KO is good to watch and all, but there should be some kind of qualifier for the top 16 down to the 8 and then KO. It’s sometimes not that fair. But A&S is the best contest that I have ever been to and people throw down and the atmosphere is great. I love the event and I think that’s why to me it’s among the top three biggest events I have ever been able to take part in. Yeah, and I just had to take a photo with Haddaway. [Antti met chintzy 90s musician Haddaway at this season’s Air&Style aftershow party - Ed] I hope to catch up with Dr. Alban next year... Truly I don’t like their music but hey - What is love?
In an interview earlier this month, A&S winner Marko Grilc told us that inner city contests have become the best place to see the progression of snowboarding. Would you agree?
I agree... everybody is riding well and if a jump works new stuff goes down and more riders get amped to try harder.
Tell us a little about your A+ / Nidecker snowboard project. How’s this going for you so far?
Things are rolling good. I wasn’t able to use my own ideas that much with FLOW so I wanted to go ahead start something on my own. I love it. It means more work but it’s also nice to get to know the business side of things even more.
What other plans do you have for the season: Contests? Filming? Creating yet another brand?
Get healthy, shred, film and do the biggest contests... and I wanna get more footy in Anttisworld.com!
Thanks for taking the time and best wishes for your recovery from the entire Onboard crew!