Joni is not just a nice guy from Finland. He is also the guy:

-who leaves three inches of water on your bathroom floor after his shower and laughs when you step in it.

-who calls a McTwist a Mac Twist, because his accent borderlines on a mumble.

-who is the quiet one, whose style makes his statement as he leaves the lip of the take off at full throttle.

-who will out-shop any other tourist.

-who’ll throw his dirty laundry out into the hallway, and then crack a smile to remind you what a cool cat he is.

-Kurt Heine and Cintia Schutt

Joni Malmi

Interview by Ami Voutilainen (Assisted by Timo Hypponen)

Okay, let’s start with the basics. What’s your name, when were you born, and where do you live?

Joni-Oliver Malmi; I was born in Helsinki, Finland; 1979; and I live in Helsinki.

Describe Finland.

Finland is laughs in Europe. The climate is kind of like Canada; there’re lots of lakes and all that regular stuff. I think the Finnish culture is really Americanized compared to rest of the Europe. It’s a pretty safe environment. It’s so small and easy to know everything. It’s different in the States, just thousands of freeways going nowhere.

You’re still in school-where are you with that?

In the end, I’ll be out before Christmas, before you even read this.

Has going to school been important to you-have you ever just thought about quitting?

Well sure, I haven’t been able to go snowboarding as much as I

could have, but I thought about it, made my decision, and I’m happy with it. It wouldn’t make sense to quit in the middle of it. It’s not smart to do things halfway. It’s good to have something else, too, not just snowboarding.

What’s the last book you read?

I’ve been reading my physics book for school. The only book I can remember is Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Have you read it?

Yeah, it was pretty good. I liked it.

He was quite a bird.

How about your family-who belongs to it?

My family is my mom and my grandparents. In a way she’s my mother even closer ’cause I just have one parent. I don’t think I’d be so close with two parents as I am with my mom.

Did your parents get divorced?

Yeah, I haven’t seen my dad for about, I don’t know, maybe I was like four years old.

Does he know how and what you’re doing now?

Probably not-wouldn’t think he’d be interested. He hasn’t really been in contact.

Tell me about your girlfriend?

You know her.

Yeah I do, but this interview is not for me.

Her name is Penni, we’ve been going out for a while now.

Last summer you and Penni had a couple car accidents. What happened?

I fell asleep at the wheel. I was driving her new car, started to get tired, fell asleep, and then there was a big crash. The car got totaled, but luckily I didn’t get hurt. It made me think about stuff though. Then she did almost the same thing, coming back from Europe with her sister-wrecked another car, but they were okay.

Has that changed anything in your life?

I’ve certainly become more aware of how fragile we are.

How about death-are you afraid of dying?

I haven’t really thought about dying too much, but I don’t think I’m ready to die yet. I just don’t have any idea what would happen after you die. I guess if you think about it enough you can accept it, and then you can die.

You don’t seem to ever really hurt yourself riding, even though you ride like a madman. Why is that?

I don’t know, nowadays I just try not to get myself into those kinds of situations.

What’s the worst injury you’ve had?

Probably just some stretched ligaments from skating. I’ve coughed up some blood, too. When I was a kid, I had this white beanie my mom knitted laughs. An older friend of mine had driven down this cliff with his bike and was psyching me to do it, too, saying it was so easy. So I tried and slammed with my bike ser hard. I hit my forehead to the ground. I just remember the beanie was all red after that. I was always cutting my head open when I was a kid.

Which came first, skating or snowboarding?

I got my first skateboard when I was six; I was in Singapore with my mom. Pretty much been skating since that. I’ve had some long breaks every now and then, but lately I’ve been skating a lot. Feel like I got over a threshold or something.

How about snowboarding, how did you get into riding?

I skied first. Then the first snowboards came to City Sokos

department store, maybe in the late 80s. I was stressing so bad to get one. Then a year or two later I got one for Christmas. It was a true longboard, a 165 centimeter Atomic laughing with hard bindings.

Laughing With ski boots?

Yeah, yeah. It was so big I could only use the toe edge, couldn’t

even turn, just sideslip down the hill. Sometimes I’d straight-shoot it, but then I’d usually ended up scorpioning a few-hundred feet later. I knew it was cool, though, my board was just too big. I managed to trade it in for this Burton 135 centimeter Cruiser, or whatever it was. It was like heaven, I learned pretty quickly with that-toe-hell method grabs and stuff.

Did you want to try it because you saw those boards, or were your friends into it before you?

Paavo Tikkanen had tried a rental board at the Alps somewhere, and he got a board about the same time as me. Actually, the very first time I snowboarded was with a snapped skate deck on the backyard cliffs after it snowed like ten centimeters four inches.

In the city? Laughing How did that work?

Well, you could stand up for like five meters fifteen feet, and then you ate it.

So after you got the hang of it, you started doing contests like every other kid in Finland. Were contests an important part of snowboarding?

Well, they were kind of important, ’cause if you did well, it worked as a little springboard. It was a good way to see all your friends and ride together. Go to Serena a tiny resort near Helsinki at like 7:00 a.m. laughing, before anybody was there so you could get some runs. Yeah, it was never that important in the begining, then the contests just started to go pretty good.

How about your sponsors-how did they come along?

Well, one good trip was when we were at Riksgränsen, the year when Ingemar did that big backside air. I met a lot of new people there.

So they just saw you ride?

Yup. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time

and had my stuff together.

Okay, who are your sponsors right now?

Special Blend, Forum, Oakley, and Active Ride Shop.

I heard you couldn’t use the “Oliver” in your name anymore because of one of your sponsors.

I don’t even know. I guess it’s so Americans wouldn’t get confused. I don’t really care, it doesn’t matter to me, but if I were Wille Yli-Luoma I’d be pissed, losing half of his last name. Just too much politics.

Are you satisfied with your part in Decade?

No.

Why not?

Well, it’s all filmed in like three days-just park footage. Then I went to Tahoe for the first time to film for couple of days, and I rode like shit.

Was it powder?

Yep, powder.

Was it weird to go from icy Talma to Tahoe powder?

No, not weird, just stupid. I would’ve just wanted to get some stuff footage that I’d like myself, you know be really stoked on it. Doesn’t matter if it’s park or powder, just stuff I could look back to and be stoked. The stuff footage I had is mostly something I could do all the time. Not really pushing it.

Can’t really ride too much powder in Finland.

Yeah, that’s why I want to go back for a longer time this winter,

and get my act together.

It seems like everything is happening in the States nowadays. Europe only seems to have a bunch of contests. Do you mostly spend your time in U.S.?

Yeah, you kind of have to if you want to get something done. Things don’t really go down in Europe. You should know, those guys in the United States have it all-magazines, videos, brands, but next year we Forum were thinking of going to Europe.

That’s cool. So many cool places and good terrain.

And not so much f-king psyching other people. You know, not so many guys telling you, you can’t do this and you can’t do that. It’s more free in Europe. For example, at Mt. Hood everybody’s just stressing all the time about little things, tight-asses yelling and throwing stuff at people. In the European summer camps, people just take hits laughs; in Europe anybody can just go and ride.

What’s your attitude toward drugs and alcohol in the snowboard scene?

You do it if you want to. I’m naturally messed up enough, so I don’t need anything else. I just drink once in a while, on an occasion.

Sometimes lots, sometimes less.

When do you think you’ll quit snowboarding?

When it gets boring, when I feel like I have something else to

do in life. I’ll just feel when it’s time-perhaps after achieving something, who knows.

Want to thank anybody?

I want to thank mostly my mom and all the rest of the crew.

Kiitos, Joni.o if you want to get something done. Things don’t really go down in Europe. You should know, those guys in the United States have it all-magazines, videos, brands, but next year we Forum were thinking of going to Europe.

That’s cool. So many cool places and good terrain.

And not so much f-king psyching other people. You know, not so many guys telling you, you can’t do this and you can’t do that. It’s more free in Europe. For example, at Mt. Hood everybody’s just stressing all the time about little things, tight-asses yelling and throwing stuff at people. In the European summer camps, people just take hits laughs; in Europe anybody can just go and ride.

What’s your attitude toward drugs and alcohol in the snowboard scene?

You do it if you want to. I’m naturally messed up enough, so I don’t need anything else. I just drink once in a while, on an occasion.

Sometimes lots, sometimes less.

When do you think you’ll quit snowboarding?

When it gets boring, when I feel like I have something else to

do in life. I’ll just feel when it’s time-perhaps after achieving something, who knows.

Want to thank anybody?

I want to thank mostly my mom and all the rest of the crew.

Kiitos, Joni.