Sometimes I hear people say how easy it’s for Antti to do stuff because he’s so gifted. This really amazes me, because it’s really not true. I’ve never been the most gifted rider – on the contrary.
As a little kid, I was a terrible rider. I remember when we were riding halfpipe at Levi resort and my dad was filming. I pulled small over-lip air and when I watched the clip I was wondering why I just can’t get higher. That was the first time I realized that I could not get better if I’d keep doing things the way I had done. From that point on I did everything I could to make myself a better snowboarder. I started following the riders at the local hill & kept skipping friday’s gymnastics, so I could start the weekend earlier on a slope. There was nothing more important than snowboarding.
When I got to the junior national team I still was just an average rider, and I was never praised. However, my dad was able to encourage me. He said that I shouldn’t worry – making it as in rookies doesn’t mean you’re the toughest kid. He encouraged me to ride at the men’s series, because there were all the best riders. So I began to compete against older riders, and then I really started to get better.
My perseverance got me far. I found myself in a contest where 45 000 people were cheering me after a 1080. I got to the top and won many contests, but I still wasn’t satisfied. When you reach the top and you feel like your goal is somewhere else, just thinking about stepping off scares the hell out. And you can’t know what it’s like before you let it go.
I’m sure I wouldn’t made that far without knowing my strengths and weaknesses, without wanting to get better and knowing exactly what I wanted with my career. Although I was terrified to make the leap from contests to backcountry I knew that was what I wanted, and my inner voice has always been right.
In the end We all are good at something – and poor at something else. We all just need to find out what they are and concentrate how to develop our talents. I think that if a person puts his whole mind into something, he’ll get far with his own efforts.
I have never been a quick learner. Rather I’ve been good at looking forward and taking small but determined steps. I’m calculative and I always think how to get better in a long run, and I learn better from my failures than from my success.
I’ve seen a lot of talented riders that have been celebrated too early. When you’re a kid it’s hard to handle, and eventually your riding suffers. The ways of acting when you’re young will follow with you far and to change them is not an easy task.
When a really gifted rider is celebrated and others ignored, those others want to show what they’re made from. I got that feeling, but hey – I’m stubborn. Some that are ignored can loose their confidence, and those riders should be encouraged.
So here’s some encouragement for you: you don’t have to be an extremely gifted to become a professional. What is more important is to like what you do and understand to use you strengths. Also being able to see what to do, how to do it and keeping the fire burning is way more important than to advance quicker than your friends.
So go ahead, hit the slopes and show everybody who you are. In the end riding is the greatest thing ever and that’s what it’s all about!
And to let you know, it haven’t got any easier for me and never will. No matter what I do or ride, I still have to think a lot.
Welcome to the new age of Anttisworld. From now on I will talk monthly about things I have in my mind. Earlier my page has been mostly about videos and travel blog, and they will not be forgotten, but from this day forward my page will be wider than ever.
This is Anttisworld.