MVP Saku Tillikainen. Photo: James North
Vans have been running their rootsy, style-centred Hi-Standard series for several years now and, after Chamrousee and Grindelwald played hosts last winter, this year it was the iconic 55000cm of Awesomeness at Talma, Finland that welcomed the crew in Europe.
The concept is simple, yet guaranteed to get everyone – riders, onlookers and judges – stoked: Jam format, no spins over 720, cash-for-tricks, free registration. With an emphasis on rewarding style and creativity over anything else, the Hi-Standard always brings together the local scene for an onslaught of tweaked-out hot lapping and the Talma edition was no different. If anything, with the resort’s long history of producing some of the most stylish riders in the game, the event found its spiritual home on this 55m hill close to Helsinki.
With conditions close to perfect, a host of riders and spectators turned out for a full day of sick riding. Cash for tricks was the order of the day, Vans rewarding each rider that pushed their limits and demonstrated creativity for the assembled onlookers. And while every rider who showed up played their part in creating a memorable spectacle, a few stood out and were worth of special mention.
The MVP is the award dished out for the best overall rider, and there was no doubt that this day it belonged to Saku Tiilikainen who spent the day pushing boundaries with über-styled back rodeos and a bonkers array of tricks on the rails. As MVP, Saku deservedly bagged an all expenses paid trip to the grand-finale of the Hi-Standard in Sierra-at-Tahoe to battle it against all other MVPs from the tour’s other stops.