Caught Up With Eero Niemela:
Eero Niemala appreciates snowboarding. Not acrobatics, not who’s in first place, but actual snowboarding-in the mountains, with friends, in deep snow. These types of riders are becoming a rarity in today’s world. But they’re still there, and thankfully we got to sit down and talk with one.
So you live in Southern California for the most part. Where exactly in So Cal do you live?
I live in Encinitas, California. I like it out here because I have to deal with so much bad weather during the wintertime. It’s just so awesome to come back and recharge the batteries in the sun. You never have to worry about weather when you’re planning your day because you know it’s always going to be sunny.
How long have you lived there for?
I’ve been out in Encinitas for five years.
How often do you get to go back home to Finland?
Man, I seriously don’t get back very often. I try to go for a week or two in the summer, and spend Christmas with the fam, but I really haven’t been home for a while.
What do you do to not get really homesick? Because I can only guess that Encinitas is pretty different from Finland.
Well it works out that I have my best friends from growing up-Iikka Backstrom and Lauri Heiskari-out here. They’re around me all winter too, so it just kind of feels like I have my family with me all the time.
Is So Cal where you travel out of, or do you have another wintertime spot?
In the winter I spend most of my time up in Whistler, in Squamish. That’s where I spent most of my winter this year filming with the People crew, working on the new video, Good Look. I was up there with Shaun McKay, and Eric Jackson for most of the winter. And when I filmed a little bit with Travis Rice, for his movie [The Art Of Flight] I went to Revelstoke.
You’re known as a video part kind of guy, what’s your take on the contest scene these days?
Man, it’s gotten crazy with all these kids doing crazy tricks. But honestly, I don’t really follow it too much. I like to watch backcountry snowboarding. That’s what I am into, that’s what I like to follow.
What do you think about the whole “double cork” trend that’s happening right now? Do you think that to be a pro snowboarder you should be able to do them, or do you think that just because you can double cork, it doesn’t make you a good snowboarder?
I think it’s a trick, that as a pro snowboarder, you don’t need to do. But it’s one of those tricks that’s heavy. Like if you’re on the top of your game, you should be able to do at least one of them. But at the same time, I don’t necessarily think I’ll ever see Devun (Walsh) do one, and I really don’t care if he ever does. But I do know that if he was to ever do one, it will be done with amazing style. I just like to watch snowboarding with good style. It doesn’t have to be a double cork, or a 1080, or a 1260-just good tricks with good style. I’d rather see a nice 360 with good style any day.
Do you think it’s still possible in today’s game to come up solely as a rider who may not have the hardest tricks, but has amazing style?
Oh yeah, absolutely. People just get way too carried away and try to do the gnarliest tricks right off the bat. You see people nowadays who don’t even really test a jump. They just straight air it, and then go right into double corks. They don’t do 360s, 540s or 720s; it’s just straight to the hardest tricks that they know how to do. People forget there’s still a style element to snowboarding.
Do you think that some up-and-comers are starting to skip steps? Like a lot of them forget about mastering the basics before they move on to the next step.
Exactly, that’s exactly what’s happening. It’s weird, but I guess that’s where it’s going. But I don’t really know-I just know that I’d like to see more straight airs and more stylish riding rather than really crazy tricks.