Wappulounas might be the best thing that has ever happened to Finnish snowboarding. It’s a snowboarding festival where there’s always something going on 23,5 hours per day: you have obstacles that enquire imagination, epic commentators, best afterskis and superfun gigs. And no matter if you’re a rookie, oldie or pro you can ride everything there.
I was 13 when I had my first Wappulounas. This year was my 17th. I wanted to go there a year earlier, but my dad wasn’t too happy about it. So the next year we went there with my dad watching after us. It was amazing to ride with the best riders of Finland, I did my first 900 and I was stoked as the older guys gave me respect. Back then I didn’t know a thing about afterski, but it wasn’t long before I got introduced to it.
For me, Wappulounas was first just a way to get to ride with the best riders. Now it has a place in my heart. There I get to ride with all those friends I don’t see during the winter, but still there’s a whole lot more. It’s hard to explain how special it is. If you look aside you might get a glance of the joy all the near 100 riders have as their waiting for their turn. It’s rare to have such a feeling.
I think that some people might have a different view on Wappulounas. If you’re riding hard and partying hard you’ll be happy but tired after the event, and you might just wish you had Wappulounas every weekend. And if you’re there just for the parties, you’ll still be stoked. But I think that if you’re not taking the whole experience by riding, shaping or participating in some other way, you won’t get the same bond. That’s why I recommend to step off from your comfort zone and let it go.
This year I decided to approach Wappulounas like it was my first – and just focus on riding. It was nice to shred every day full throttle, although I think the whole experience calls for afterskis, gigs and side events. Those are the things that make it so unique and communal. Still I’m glad to say after 17 years it was nice to do something different. I’m 31 I have to admit that if I want to enjoy my riding I can’t enjoy that much the night before.
There’s no better indicator than Wappulounas to tell that Finnish snowboarding is doing better than ever. You can’t measure it from the count of medals or video parts. Our small country will always need such events where rider’s status means nothing: events where just a group of riders are shredding and partying together and wishing The Rautavas would be playing every day.
That’s why my love to Wappulounas is neverending.