Name: Wille Yli-Luoma

Age: 23
Country of citizenship: I have a Finnish passport.
Sponsors: K2, Volcom, ThirtyTwo boots, Dragon, Active Ride Shop
Stance: Goofy. Eighteen degrees front, minus-three back, and 21 and three-quarters wide.
Hometown: Stockholm, right now.
Home mountain: Talma
Years riding: 10
U.S. arrival: For snowboarding, 1996.

What was your first setup?
A Sims Blade 151 with soft bindings and hard boots.

How did you get noticed?
I think the local dudes like Joni Makinen or Ami Voutilainen saw me ride, and they just gave me a board. No contest-just my home resort … average day.

Who did you ride with back then?
Joni, Ami-these are the known pros I started riding with. Nowadays, I don’t get to ride with my friends back home, so I ride with Jussi, Joni Mak, Malmi, and the other guys on the Robot Food crew, and I’m having so much fun.

Who were your heroes as a kid?
Bruce Lee, and you know, all that action bullshit.

Are you highly recognized in your home country?
No. But Heikki had his own meal (named after him) in McDonald’s (laughing).

What American riders do you like watching?
Jamie (Lynn), Nate Cole, Peter (Line), Travis Parker, Shitlake (Scotty Wittlake), Mikey LeBlanc, John Jackson, and there are some more, but just can’t think of their names.

What were your first impressions?
I had just started to get snowboards from Silence, and then Airwalk said if I wore their clothing they would pay for my trip to Mt. Hood. I was traveling with Ami. We stayed with Blaise (Rosenthal), and I probably was a pain in the ass. I was lost. I had no idea what to do, so I was hanging after Ami and just going where he would go (laughing). It was not what I dreamed, but it was good.

Was it a struggle to adjust to landing tricks in powder?
Yes, I still don’t think I have it wired.

What gets you motivated to learn?
I think it’s the fun of learning the trick and just my friends around me. I get new ideas for a trick from watching the old videos (laughing).

What really bothers you about the States?
The laws, Customs, fake people, drugs, and the cops.

Do your friends feel betrayed that you split for the U.S. to shred?
I don’t think so. They know that I should not pass up the chance to ride all the good places.

How is the scene now in Finland?
Well, I call my friends, and whenever I’m home we try to go out, talk about the good old Talma days. Most of my friends are studying hard, don’t have time to snowboard, and some are working. Talma is not the same. There is a new younger scene now.

Who are your picks for up-and-coming Scanners?
Iikka, Eero, Eero, Lauri, and the other ones I can think of are already known. Back off, you little chuckers!