Three Days With Paavo Tikkanen: May 23-25

I remember walking into a hotel room in New Zealand once and seeing Paavo Tikkanen lying on the bed with a two-liter bottle of cheap white wine balanced on his chest watching How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days. I couldn’t help but laugh outloud-at him, not with him. Nothing “tough” or “cool” about that scenario. The next day I watched him march up the hill and wing off one of his signature, amazingly tweaked spins. Nothing “stock” or “predictable” about it.

The truth is, Paavo is one of the weirdest, most stylish riders I’ve ever encountered. He loves fun and having fun-sometimes at the expense of others. He’s a devilish little Finn who’s always smiling, but you’re never sure what about. However, even the most carefree shred-elf out there has something to worry about, and for Tikkanen, it’s an unrelenting spree of injuries that has left him on snowboarding’s sidelines more times than seem fare. Take a peek through a three-day window into the life of Paavo, which, as unjust as it may seem, ends in yet another injury. Thank god for summer recuperation time.-Jennifer Sherowski

What were you working on during this time?

My video part for Whiteout Films. I was at Alpine Meadows in Tahoe with Devun Walsh, Eero Niemela, Iikka B ckstrà®m, Chris Dufficy, Chris Wilson, and Jesse Fox. This was the last film trip we did, so it was the last chance for everyone to get the tricks we hadn’t landed all season. I was hurt a lot through the year, so I was really excited to go ride! I had some tricks in my mind that I wanted to do-a frontside 900 and Cab 900. I got the Cab nine on a double line, but I fractured and dislocated my right shoulder doing the frontside 900-booo, boring! All in all, the trip was good, and we had a lot of fun in the sun. I was actually one of about nine people who got hurt that trip!

What were you listening to?

We were listening to a lot of hip-hop, like Eminem, 50 Cent, Mike Jones, Tony Yayo, The Game-G-Unit! We also listened to lots of dance music, like Shapeshifters, ATB, Uniting Nations, et cetera. I like to listen to a little of everything, from A to Z, but I don’t usually listen to music while I’m riding, ’cause I like to hear the snow and everything around me. I think you have better balance when your ears aren’t covered.

Did you have any goals for this season?

My goals were to stay healthy and film as much as possible. I wanted to kill it this year, but it didn’t really happen like I’d planned. Injuries, bad weather, lousy snow conditions in Whistler and on trips, and just some pure bad luck prevented me from achieving these goals. But I still had a fun season with lots of good days that made up for the bad ones. I made sure that the days I went out and was healthy, I accomplished my goals.

What was making you happy last season?

Really nice days in the backcountry with the best crews, like Walsh, (Tadashi) Fuse, Dufficy, Niemela, and B ckstrà®m. Riding with these guys is the best! Everybody is pushing each other and having lots of fun at the same time. Having Devun take you around in the backcountry is awesome, too, ’cause he knows so many good spots. Another thing I was really excited about was making another good pro model for Endeavor. I spent a lot of the time I was hurt working on that.

What was stressing you out?

It’s the same as always-having one or two spots in your body that are hurt or aching when you’re riding. I’ve had to be hesitant and careful with that-it’s always in the back of my head. Last year it was my ankle I hurt in Utah that put me out for most of the season-I came up short on a Cab nine over a table. This year it was a twisted knee I got in the backcountry overshooting a jump doing a frontside 900, and then my shoulder from this trip on another frontside nine-weird … hahaha.

What number was dialed most often from your cell phone during those three days?

It was 604-553-42 … just kidding. I probably called my girlfriend the most, ‘caause most of my friends were with me on the trip. I love my cell phone and text messaging-best thing ever! I tried not to make too many phone calls, ’cause it gets really spendy!

Do you ever miss home during the winter?

I still think of home as Helsinki, Finland where my parents live, even though I’ve lived in Vancouver and Whistler for the past two years. It’s always nice to go home for a little bit, but I prefer to go to Finland in the summertime, ’cause winter is so gray, dark, and cold. I don’t miss home because I like the winter in Canada and the States, so it’s great to live there then. It’s way better for snowboarding-better mountains, hills, backcountry, and snow! Also, most of my closest Finnish friends live in Canada and the States, like Iikka, Eero, and Joni.

What are some of your other recent obsessions besides snowboarding?

Lately, I’ve played a lot of golf with Iikka and Eero. I’m actually starting to get the hang of it and am liking it a lot. It’s super hard, but as you get better, it becomes really fun. It’s kinda a thing that you wanna learn before you get too old, ’cause you can use that as a perfect excuse to get away from your wife and kids for a good four hours and just relax and clear your mind. Hahaha-not that I know what that’s like! I still love to skateboard, though. I started skating when I was seven years old, and that’s been my favorite thing to do since way before snowboarding. I like it because it’s so technical and hard. You aren’t strapped to the board, and it gives you so many more options to do tricks. Plus you can do it almost anywhere-hotel rooms, parking garages … just use your imagination! I like to skate transitions the most-airtime is always good.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in life so far?

I guess to be open-minded and nice to other people, and if they’re not nuts, they’ll be nice back to you. I think you can get pretty far that way. Also, try to live every day-not like it’s your last, but use them wisely! I have lots of fun and laugh, too, ’cause it makes you live longer, and it’s an easy ab workout!

What are the top five things you spend your money on?

Electronics: computers, cameras, cell phones … everything that works with power-I love it!

Traveling: all over the world! I still have many undiscovered places I’d like to go.

Food and drinks: I like Indian and Finnish food, and I drink San Pellegrino orange soda and some alcoholic beverages-raspberry vodka and soda is my favorite.

Phone bills: They’re huge! Too many long-distance calls in Europe and Finland. When you travel and use the same plan all over the world, it gets really spendy. It sucks!

DVDs: I’m kinda a freak about them-a collector. I have about 350, mostly comedies and romantic comedies.

When was the last time you thought you were going to break under the pressure?

I believe it would be in ninth grade reading a French book in front of the class. I sucked at French then, but now I rule at it! Also, every time I go through customs into Canada or the U.S.; I always think I’m in trouble because of how they talk to you-even though I have nothing to worry about!

Do you have bad karma or good karma right now?

I think I have both, and I believe everybody has both. For example, I think I have bad karma because I get hurt so often, but at the same time, I think I have good karma because I’m still here and able to do all the things I’m doing! I guess I have pretty good karma … I mean, look at me.