V16N03 – Scanners 3: Joni Malmi

Name: Joni Malmi

Age: 23
Country of citizenship: Finland
Sponsors: Forum, Special Blend, Oakley, Circa, Makia, Active
Stance: Regular. Seventeen degrees front, minus-eight back. Width, I go with the feeling.
Hometown: Helsinki, Finland
Home mountain: Talma, when home. Snow Summit.
Years riding: 10-plus
U.S. arrival: ’96

Describe a winter’s day at your home mountain.
You drive to Talma, which is 30 minutes outside of Helsinki. It’s about minus-ten degrees Celsius outside and the jumps are freshly groomed and hard-packed. The hill consists of just one jump and a couple of rails, which is perfect. You can do about 30 laps per hour, until you get sick of it and go home.

What was your first setup?
Atomic 165 cm with hard ski boots and a leash. It was so huge, I couldn’t turn-just pointed it until I hooked my edge and scorpion-ed.

How’s sponsorship for amateurs in Finland?
Pretty small business, ’cause Finland doesn’t have that big of a market for snowboards-mainly just free product and maybe some travels to middle Europe.

How did you get noticed?
I got hooked up by Ami Voutilainen, one of the first Scanners. Then I won the Junior World Championships in halfpipe and did well in other contests where Peter (Line) and the Forum guys saw me ride.

Which past Scanners have influenced you?
Sebu Kuhlberg, Ingemar Backman, Johan Olofsson, Terje Haakonsen, Daniel Franck, Sami Hyry, Juha Tenkku, Paavo Tikkanen.

How has the scene changed since the first two waves of Scandinavians?
It has mellowed down a bit. Back then it seemed like you only had to be from Scandinavia, and you instantly got hooked up by a foreign company. Nowadays, the whole continent of Europe produces good riders, and you have to work more for the hype.

Are you highly recognized in your home country?
No. The big public doesn’t really follow snowboarding, besides Olympics, which is good.

What American riders do you like watching?
Jamie Lynn and Peter Line.

Any crazy travel stories from visits here?
The first time in the States, I came to chill in L.A. for a week with Jesse (Hyv ri) before going to Chile for a photo shoot. Jesse and me stayed at Raul Ries’ house, ’cause Jesse was riding for Special Blend back then. I fell asleep on Raul’s guest bed with bubble gum in my mouth-pretty much f-ked up his sheets, it was funny. I was just stoked to get to travel and snowboard. It was my dream.

Did the language barrier scare you?
I guess I didn’t talk that much back then. I was just the typical shy Finn-it didn’t have to do with the language barrier. You know, we speak good English, but the problem is that Finns only talk when they’re wasted.

Was it a struggle to adjust to landing tricks in powder?
It’s a never-ending task.

What do you see as the main differences between U.S. and
The U.S. is ahead of Europe. Here we still try to pretend that we have culture, but you guys just don’t give a shit anymore.

What really bothers you about the States?
It doesn’t really bother me, but most of the Americans think that the world evolves around them.

Do your friends feel betrayed that you split for the U.S. to shred?
No, they just tell me to leave them my car-good luck.

How is the scene now in Finland?
I’m still in touch with old friends from my school and the neighborhood. Finland is a country of pretty high economy, so most of my friends work for advertising or technology companies.

Do you still reside in Scandinavia?
Yes, in the summertime-because that’s where I feel at home, and that’s where most of my family and friends live.

Who are your picks for up-and-coming Scanners?
Lauri Heiskari, Iikka B ckstrà®m, Eero Niemel , and Heikki Sorsa.