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Interviews

Hans Kestilä – 2017 Part Tease and Interview

Finnish ripper and vanlife enthusiast Hans Kestilä is dropping his full part tomorrow. It’s full of solid Scandiboarding so check out the teaser for a taste of what’s in store.

We caught up with Hans to find out more about him, his part, the state of Finnish snowboarding and RV life. Check it!

Hey Hans, how’s things? Where are you now?

Hello! Life’s good back home in Helsinki. Already waiting for the snow to drop and making plans for the upcoming season.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure thing! I usually introduce myself on these occasions as a part time professional snowboarder. For the past eight season I’ve ridden for Rossignol International and their support has made it possible to concentrate on pure riding during the winters. During the summers and falls I’ve been studying and working, and on December 2015 I finished my Masters in Industrial Engineering and Management. Besides riding my snowboard I love skateboarding and surfing. Surfing’s quite new to me, I picked it up only three years ago. With snowboarding and skateboarding it’s been more of a “the last 20 years” type of a deal.

Where did you mainly shoot for this part?

All of the shots are filmed in Scandinavia. Most of the stuff has been shot in Norway – in the south part in the midwinter and north part in the spring time. All the rail shots are from Rovaniemi, Finland. And some spring riding in Swedish and Finnish Lapland.

Here’s Hans’ part from last year for your viewing pleasure.

We saw quite a bit of what looks like Riks in there. What do you like about the terrain up in northern Scandinavia?

I’d say Scandinavias strengths, terrain-wise, are versatility and reasonable distances. Lapland, especially during the spring time, is pretty magical, with long sunsets and good mountain-terrain. Then there are lots of hilly cities which provide good urban terrain. One surprising thing that I’ve learned over the past couple of seasons is that there’s such awesome mountain terrain in southern Norway, too. Right at the latitude of Helsinki, a couple hundred kilometres inland from the Atlantic coast, Norway’s mountains get a huge amount of snow during the midwinter. It’s not quite the way Japan is, but it has some of the same characteristics.

We’ve also seen some stuff of you and the boys RV living. Was that a big part of your past winter?

Oh man, I really dig the RV snowboarding trips. It’s been one or two trips a season since the first one (about three years ago), and for me; the more the merrier. Last winter we did only one trip, but that one lasted for two week. Of course people need to get along pretty good to kind of “make it through” the trip without hassle, but usually everybody’s just as psyched on the RV trips as me and everything goes really nicely. One distinctive part about the RV trips that you usually end up with a lot of strong and good memories, different type memories that from a usual trip, if you know what I mean. I’ve been RVing once in Japan, too, and that is definitely something I’d recommend for everybody (at least once) who goes to Japan for powder seeking. I can’t really come up with things I wouldn’t like about RV tripping. Maybe the small fact that it’s usually a bit of a challenge to try to dry stuff there when it’s full of stuff and people. But that’s just part of the game!

 

Hans Kestilä. Pitted! Photo: Ville Lahtinen

Back in the day Finnish riders were so hot. Then it became hard to be a Finnish rider because there were so many good ones. Now it’s dropped off a bit and, well, it seems Norwegians are the new Finns. How’s Finnish snowboard scene in general these days?

I’d say the scene and vibe is rather good and youngsters are still progressing in the same style as earlier. Maybe the hard winters – the lack of snow – have made some negative impact, at least to managing small resorts. And I feel that when I was young there were a lot of young riders compared to nowadays, maybe that’s the same thing all over Europe, I dunno… At the same time the parks have gotten a lot better though over the last 10 years and resorts seem to devote more and more space for different parks, which is dope! Nowadays there’s maybe more junior skiers than snowboarders typically at the slopes, but I’m not worried. Just take a look at 292 Crew or some other finnish crews, they’re killing it!!

Who else was involved in making this project?

This winter I wanted to use some of my friends footage in the part too, that was important to me. Saku (Tiilikainen) and Juho (Haapalainen) were on onboard on the RV trip too and they scored some really good stuff there and I’m happy I got to have some of their A-shots in my part. Also, the main guys behind camera, Janne Koivistoinen, Anssi Tiusanen and Ville Vappula (photo) are good friends of mine and the editor Mikko Keskinen too, and it’s always nice to “work” with good friends. Of course my fiancé Mari was involved, being a big support and being compassionate about my absence from our home during the winter time.

What’s next for you?

November and December I’ll try to ride as much park as I can, maybe hit some streetspots too. Then in January I’ll head to Japan to shoot for some powder and hopefully continue on the powdery course back here in Scandinavia too. Maybe a short surfbreak (a week or so) at the end of midwinter before the spring really kicks in, that would be neat! And at Easter, we’ll organize an “creative parkriding” event for the second year in a row with my one of my best riding mates, Joel Lahti, in Sappee Ski resort. That’s about it, hopefully I stay in one piece all the way untill next summer.

Cheers for your time. Have a good winter man!

Thanks a bunch Onboard crew for making this possible, and thank you for reading and checking out my videopart!

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