Last winter, I was lucky enough to spend a snowy week in Finland. The aim of my trip was to head to Backyard Park for their Annual Rail Jam. However, to get to the almost mind bogglingly remote town in which the park is set up, I had to find a ride. One way or another my driver ended up being Paul Mikkonen who has the ender in the Neli Pictures short you hopefully just watched. We'd never met, but on the snowy drive he told me about the project he was working on and asked me along to their shoot later on that night. Of course I accepted, partly because I had no means of getting from the middle of nowhere back to Helsinki where I was staying without Paul, but mostly because I was intrigued.
Finnish urban crews Nipwitz and Real Skifi are two of the very few urban crews outside of North America to gain any kind of recognition so checking out an up and coming crew from Finland seemed a great way to get ahead of the game. The first spot we hit up was the massive gap which opens Paul's part at 06.55. Honestly, I don't think the shot does full justice to how gnarly the spot was. Not only are you fucked if you come up short, of the railing, you're also in serious trouble if you land on the wall which forms part of the 'landing' which you can see in the second shot.
With that in the bag, we moved on to the massive wallride in Kepe's part (01:55). By this time it was 2am and stupidly cold. Despite wearing every item of clothing I had with me in Finland, I was shaking and my boots kept freezing to the ground when I stopped moving. Setting up took a couple of hours, somewhat hindered by Paul taking a street sign to the head and having to go to A&E. He came straight back from A&E to the spot, and was immediately put on second camera duty, much to his credit and my relief given my complete lack of camera skills. Once set up, the shot itself took just a few minutes to bag. The hype when we got it done was warming enough to cut through the bitter cold and send everyone home hyped.
I finally got to see the whole short a few days ago and I was blown away, of course by the level of riding, but even more so by the quality of the filming and editing. It took 2 years to make thanks to a complete lack of sponsorship funding and terrible winters in Southern Finland. The whole thing feels more like a filmmaker's short rather than a ski edit but with more than enough ski porn to keep you interested. Perhaps I'm biased thanks to being a tiny part of a couple of the shoots but the combination of the skiing with the incredible shooting and editing makes it one of the best watches of the winter for me.