Ruka Lapping With Tommi Ollikainen

Ruka Lapping With Tommi Ollikainen

Interview by Colin Rivers

Our Finnish hombre Tommi Ollikainen recently had the pleasure of catching a couple of laps at the legendary Ruka park. For most of us stuck at home in the Southern Hemi all we can do is live vicariously through those in the North. We had a chat with Tommi to help make dreaming of hot laps a little easier.

Yo! I read somewhere that Finland was ranked #1 as the happiest country, can you tell us a bit about Finland and the snow scene over there?
Finland is so dark at this time of the year. Today happens to be the darkest day of the year - here in the south the sun rises at 10 am and sets at 3pm. If you go further north you won't be able to the sun at all in weeks. A great time to embrace the darkness and listen to black metal. I live in Southern Finland in a city called Tampere with my girlfriend Heini. We moved here because of the skateboarding scene: there are some of the best parks in Finland here, and we also have the largest indoor bowl here for the winter time. They just finished the new street section for the indoor park, so the setup is crazy good. The skate scene in Tampere is really active, there's always people to go skate with and a bunch of events going and bands playing. The music scene here is good too. The Finnish snowboarding scene is tiny. Feels like all the boarders know each other. It's still early season here and not all the resorts are open. Most park riders are riding in the north at Ruka or Levi or at Talma or Sveitsi in the south.
What’s Ruka like to ride? The clips that come out of there make it look like a snowboarders heaven!
Ruka is 10 hours north from Helsinki in the Eastern part of the country. It’s a long drive, but well worth it. The park is so fun, party laps all day. Super fast lift, long park and so many homies. I have gone there on solo missions twice this season, and you just keep lapping the park and joining different crews of friends for a few laps. The best is when you just ride the park top to bottom as fast you can. You get so many hits in such a short time, such a work out haha. And then the lift takes you up in four minutes or so. It’s pretty safe for snow as well, and on a good day you can get some decent pow laps. I decided to get a pass there this season now when it seems the borders might be closed all winter.

Tommi FS Blunt - Photo: Siv Knudsen

Tommi Ollikainen, Ruka - Filmed By: Dean Bercovitch - Music: Hieni Luotola

Tommi FS Blunt - Photo: Siv Knudsen

Whats the go with the saunas? Mitch said when we was there you guys jumped in a frozen lake, that sounds hectic. Do you guys do that all the time?
Lol It was a good time! I am stoked I got to show Mitch and Singo how proper sauna & ice swimming session is done. I actually have really gotten into the ice swimming thing this winter. I mean I’ve done it before every now and then but this season I’ve been going three to four times a week. There is this really nice public sauna in Tampere called Rauhaniemi. It’s super hot, 120 celsius, and it will get you steaming hot. The sauna is located right at this big lake, and they keep a hole in the ice even when the lake freezes. So when you get too hot in the sauna, you go to the frozen lake (the water is 1 or 2 degrees), and stay there for as long as you can. It’s so cold it hurts haha. I stay in the sauna for like 10-15 minutes and 30 to 60 seconds in the ice. Then when you get up, you feel really warm and nice even though it’s minus degrees and you are naked. If you feel like it you can have a beer. Then you go for another round and repeat the steps as long as you like. When you do that like three times your skin goes all red and you get a little light headed when the blood is really pumping in your veins. It’s really good for the circulation and relaxes the muscles and helps your immune system. Haven’t been sick in a long time!
So you and your girflriend made the track for your clip!? What can't you do haha. How long have you guys been playing music for?
I have been playing guitar or bass in bands for maybe 15 years and so has Heini. Two years ago I decided to buy a synth, a drum machine and a looper. And of course we also have our old electric guitars and bass guitars and microphones and amps. With that equipment you can basically play all the instruments of the band yourself. When we moved to Tampere a bit over a year ago we haven’t joined or started any bands yet, so we have started to play more together at home, making our own songs. We are both into post punk and different kinds of dark and minimal electronic music. Maybe you might expect to hear something along those influences in the future. We want to keep our music pretty minimal, plus the all-analog equipment has its own limits. We both play all the instruments, and we take turns. We haven’t really recorded anything yet, but decided to make a quick song for this little Ruka clip.
Cheers for your time legend! Are there any last words you like to add?
2020 has kind of sucked but trust me, better times are ahead!

'The best is when you just ride the park top to bottom as fast you can. You get so many hits in such a short time, such a work out haha'

- Tommi Ollikainen -

Follow Tommi and friends:

Rider: Tommi Ollikainen @lakupaavi, Park: Ruka, Finland @ruka_park, Photos By: Siv Knudsen @knudsensiv, Filmed By: Dean Bercovitch @deanberco Music: Hieni Luotola @hlutola,


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