Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Hey Pekka, how's life?
It's pretty damn good of course.
What did you get up to over the summer and fall?
Pretty much just writing my book and working my ass off (laughs).
Have you been skiing yet this winter?
Just once. It went pretty okay, except I was borrowing a pair of my friend's skis, and I didn't really like them (laughs).
As many people saw, you launched a new video series last month called Fight Back, which is going to document your recovery and create an open discussion about the potential dangers in the sport. Tell everyone all about it.
Well Fight Back is basically a video project of my rehabilitation and recovery process, and it's filled with positivity, because if you're not positive you might as well quit trying. And I will never do that.
Fight Back Episode 1
How many episodes are there going to be?
We're planning on doing around six.
Fight Back Episode 2
In addition to the video series, I know that you've got some big news to announce in relation to Fight Back, because it's much more than just a video series. Tell us all about it.
Yeah for sure it is. Go check out fight-back.eu, which has and will have all of the episodes of the video series, and in the future there will be a line of Fight Back branded products from my sponsors and other companies, including t-shirts, hats, beanies, electronic accessories, poles, helmets, goggles and so on.
When are you planning on having those products available?
Around the end of January there should be some headwear available like beanies and hats, and then we're planning on having the t-shirts available closer to the spring, and we're currently working on the rest of the stuff.
And the idea behind all of this is for Fight Back to act as a foundation and fundraising tool for your recovery correct?
Yep. It currently supports my recovery, and if it goes well, then we will start supporting other injured skiers who don't have any insurance, and if it goes really well, then we'll branch out to other sports and offer to help to other athletes who get seriously injured. Earlier this month, I went to my Mother's accountant with her to found a join stock company called Fight Back, and went into the meeting at 12pm as an injured rehabilitant, and walked out of it around 3:30pm as the CEO of Fight Back. There is a ton of work to do, but I am more than happy to do it for this good cause. I injured myself really seriously, and the predictions varied from me being a total vegetable, to a patient who could never live alone or work. Fiight Back will help me get back on my feet, so you won't have to look at me standing alone.
What's the overall goal of Fight Back, and what are you aiming to achieve with it?
The overall goal is to make it a foundation that starts a fund to help athletes who have to go through the same situation I went through, and along with getting my own profession out of helping others.
Pekka with Kai Mahler, Roy Kittler and Joss Christensen at last year's Austrian Freeski Open.
You mentioned this at the beginning of the interview, but tell everyone about the book you're writing and what it's all about.
I'm pretty stoked, because I just finished writing it last month, but it of course still needs to be proofread. It starts with my crash, and then will go over what people were doing while I was in a coma, and then the book really begins with a chapter called 'The Beginning', which is when I opened my eyes. From there it will go over my rehab and everything I went through during the first year after my accident, and will end on my 22nd birthday.
What's the book called?
The Fight. And once it's done, depending on how it sells, I'd like to continue the story by writing another book called The Back, along with multiple other interesting topics.
I know there's also a documentary film in the works on your story, so tell everyone about that.
Yeah. It's going to be called Pekka, and it's being produced by Flatlight Films, who are good friends of mine and pretty damn talented. We're aiming to have it out sometime this spring, so stay tuned for more info.
Nice. Most importantly of all, how is your recovery going?
It's going pretty damn well in my opinion, which is nice to be able to say, because when I first started my rehabilitation all of my doctors were saying it was going well, but I felt it was going shitty. So it's nice to feel the way I do about it now. But there are still so many things that are annoying me with my recovery process, mainly my speech, but I'm working on it.
Any last things you'd like to say?
Well of course I want everyone to use a helmet, but I think that's so obvious that I'm not going to bother saying it again, especially since you're a total idiot if you don't use one. So I'd just like to say thanks to everyone for their support, and to please keep your eyes on fight-back.eu along with checking it out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (Fightback1), and supporting it in any way you can.