[Enni Rukajärvi at the annual Vimana Band Camp in Fonna. Photos: Carl Østberg.]
The third-placed spot in our women's European Rider of the Year Awards goes to a girl who's has had a long career at the pinnacle of park ripping, and more recently has started to show she can take it to the streets and pow with equal aplomb...
“Rides really solid with good style and shreds really well in powder too."
– Seppe Smits
If there’s one thing that kept coming up when we asked voters why they chose Enni Rukajärvi it was that word:
The 27-year old from Kuusamo has been on the scene for nearly a decade now but there are still few riders that can make their tricks look so natural. 2017 was something of a comeback season for Enni in terms of contest results, with three slopestyle victories and no fewer than four podiums in Big Air, including first place at the Innsbruck Air & Style – the first time women were invited to compete at this historic event.
“We’re hitting the same jumps as the guys and we have been for a good many years," she said at the time, with typical Finnish understatement. “It’s good that we finally get to be here too."
On top of all this, Enni found the time to put out one of the strongest women's video parts of the year in the Vimana movie, TWO, mixing those trademarked lofted spins in the park with some creative handplants and legit street rails.
“She’s the most stylish girl out there," says Tom Kingsnorth from Transform Gloves, “and she’s still killing it in contests and on film."
Back in 2014 Enni landed silver at the Sochi Olympics despite, by her own admission, still struggling with a knee injury. Could she go one better in Pyeongchang this February? With two events to aim for, don’t bet against her. And beyond the contest constraints, we have a feeling that whatever facet of snowboarding she chooses to apply herself to in the future, she's going to kill it. With style.