[Wallop! Antti Autti fires up a good un in Laax. Photo: Luca Crivelli]
Ahead of the imminent release of season two of Antti Autti’s powderphilic web series, Statements, we hit up the Finnish contest-kid-turned-backcountry-specialist for a good old chinwag…
In the earlier days of your career, you were a pretty damn successful contest rider. Are you naturally competitive? Did you enjoy the contest environment?
For sure I have competitiveness in me. I grew up doing lot of different sports and through that I learned how to deal with pressure, so being in competitions was never a problem for me. I fully enjoyed being in the contest gates before my run and it gave me this feeling of not being scared of doing stuff. Like that extra energy you need when you want to do something cool with your snowboard. But what really sparked the fire for competitions early on was just to go see how everybody else was riding in Finland. In Rovaniemi, where I’m from, the snowboarding scene was super small and going to competitions was really the way to get better. Since I started doing well early on I got picked up by the national team and from there on it was a very natural way to move forward with this side of snowboarding.
When did it start to lose its shine for you?
I remember it very clearly. I was in X Games 2009. Prior to that I hadn’t been doing so well in competitions that season, even though I was feeling good about my riding. I felt like there was something missing – like there was no emotion in what I was doing. But X Games always gave me that extra motivation to do well and in that superpipe contest I got third, right after [Shaun] White and [Kevin] Pearce. I pretty much rode the best I’ve ever ridden in X Games and after the award ceremony I was happy, but it did not feel like I had done something special. You know, that really big YEAH was totally missing – that feeling you get from learning a trick, riding a line or doing well in competitions was just not there anymore for me. I still enjoyed snowboarding so much, but I knew that I was not going to be doing competitions for the right reasons anymore if I kept doing ’em. Of course, this was super difficult because it was an Olympic qualifier year. So I pretty much just rode that season by doing competitions for everybody else except me – even at the start of the 09-10 season I still was doing it because moving away from something that I had done for so long so well was very scary, and all my sponsors were expecting me to try to qualify for the Olympics. However, in December 2009 I ended up having a quite severe injury in Colorado and during my recovery I had time to think about stuff. In the end the final call came down to early February 2010 when I was in Japan riding pow and Finnish national team coach called asking if I would want to ride in the Olympics. I said no and decided that it was time to move on and focus fully on freeriding.
“I still enjoyed snowboarding so much, but I knew that I was not going to be doing competitions for the right reasons anymore if I kept doing ’em.”