Snowboard Pro Eero Ettala turns Helsinki into a night time urban playground.
Eero Ettala is a tour guide like no other.
When Helsinki’s traditional tour guides had packed up for the day and the Finnish city dwellers had gone to sleep, for one night only their countryman used some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks as a backdrop for urban snowboarding at its finest.
The result, in a film entitled Helsinki Transitions, was a night on the town unlike any other, this particular tour beginning – perhaps aptly – at the Helsinki Ice Hall, where Ettala did a wallride on the colossal bas-relief statue in situ.
The rails outside the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma was the next play thing for the former X Games winner, while Helsinki Cathedral, arguably the city’s most famous landmark, also played a starring role along with the so-called Cholera Basin.
Following what is a first for urban snowboarding, Ettala, who planned the whole backdrop and the tricks he performed, explained: “I wanted to present Helsinki in a new way and show people how different architectural locations can be transformed into snowboarding spots. Your average Joe sees places differently than us snowboarders.”
To create his platform, as the city street lights switched on, he shovelled snow to create the perfect kickers, all the while a camera crew following his every move.
And as a resident of the city in question, he knows it like the back of his hand: “I could never imagine living anywhere else than Helsinki. I’ve got everything I need right here.
“The amazing architecture and the possibilities presented by it, as well as the tolerant attitude of the authorities towards snowboarding are a fantastic combination.”
It meant that despite a night like no other, Ettala and his crew were left to their own devices to snowboard next to some truly iconic landmarks.
No stranger to starring on the biggest stage – his previous X Games Big Air title a testament to that – he is also no stranger to being in front of the camera as the star of a host of snowboarding films.
But throughout each and every venture, he has been a stickler for detail: “The kickers have to be exactly the kind that I need, the landing has to work and my knees need to handle the landings.
“So if anything happens, there’s only myself to blame. Building kickers is not rocket science – everyone has their own opinions about kickers, what they should be like. My kickers must have my kind of profie that is just so.”
The major problem for the crew was that their star proved to be capable of getting it just right first time only to be forced to repeat often tricky moves to get that perfect camera angle.
Jyri Paajamaa, the film’s producer from Pablo Films, said: “Eero is super pro in everything he does. What makes it challenging for us is the fact that we don’t get to test the different angles until Eero tries the trick for the first time, and he usually lands it on that first try.
“We then have to go and ask if he wouldn’t mind doing it again! On the Market Square for example, Eero jumped across the Cholera Basin on the very first go, and we did have to ask for a re-jump so that we could get all the camera angles right.”
It was a repeat this particular night owl – totally in his element – did not mind.