The Malmi And Oksanen Invitational
Joni and Jussi bring back the glory days of Finnish snowboarding.
Finnish pros Jussi Oksanen and Joni Malmi put together their own little contest to be held at none other than Talma ski area just outside Helsinki, Finland—this is their hometown resort, as well as the base of the now-famous Trulli Clan. Malmi and Oksanen’s idea was to get together all their friends while they were home for Christmas. Being pro snowboarders, most of these guys travel the entire year and can never seem to catch up with each other to hang out and ride all at once. The Invitational gives them a chance to throw a little party and relive the old days, when all they had to was ride Talma every day.
Talma, by the way, is more of a ski hill than a resort. It has six lifts accessing two small hills, one of which has a snowboard park that would be tiny in comparison to the ones we’re used to seeing in North Amercia. This little park, however, has produced some of the best pro snowboarders in the world—Wille Yli-Luoma, Heikki Sorsa, Paavo Tikkanen, Iikka Bà¤ckström, and the list goes on and on.
The inaugural event was last December 21, a beautiful and sunny day—even if the sun was only up for five hours. The wind whipped hard, though, making it difficult to hit the big kicker. Instead, all the riders started dorking around and sessioning a tiny jump at the bottom of the hill. I’ve been to plenty of events where the pros complain about the conditions of the pipe or kicker like little babies—but not this one. Damn near every big name in Finnish snowboarding hit this ten-foot tabletop like they were twelve years old again. I guess if you put the right group together anything is possible.—Chris Owen
TWS: With all the events packed into every winter, why did you and Jussi decide to do your own?
Joni Malmi: It’s just a small get-together with all of our friends before Christmas—nothing too serious. It’s pretty much made to stoke out all the little kids and have fun ourselves, too. There’re like a million little rippers in Talma.
What kind of format did you give the Invitiational?
We had a pretty improvised format last year because the weather happened to be shitty—hurricane—and the slope was hard as concrete. We had 500 bucks for the longest boardslide—the rail was a 90-foot round bar on flat ground, and the only one to make it that day was Paavo Tikkanen. The money was well spent in the bar.
Then we had a freestyle tweaker session on the eight-foot kicker and we were giving out 1,000 dollars to people who had the best tweak, biggest spin, wackest style, et cetera. Some guy did a 1080 on the eight-foot ice table. I think Joni Makinen got the best tweak. After that we had a breakdance contest, a freestyle rapping contest, and an up-the-hill running contest for the kids. Overall, the session was hilarious, and I think everyone was just having a good time.
What’s up for this year?
We’re getting a bit more serious by giving away two wild cards to the Burton European Open and one to the SB Jam in Davos, Switzerland—all travels (expenses) included. We want to give the young kids a chance to make it to the bigger events. Also, we’re holding the contest at a bigger resort called Porvoo—Aleksi Vanninen’s home area—where we can have a big jump or a double line. We’re talking with the Ticket To Ride people about maybe including the Invitational as one of their events in the future, too.