Making his adventures sustainable is a major focus for Antti now. © Jaakko Posti
Winter has nearly arrived in Lapland, where Finnish splitboarder Antti Autti is preparing his body and mind for a year long adventure project – in collaboration with Suunto – that will test his limits.
In a week’s time, the long polar night will arrive, leaving only two hours of daylight every 24 hours. That’s not stopping the 34-year-old freerider and filmmaker from heading out into the inky blue night to do what he loves.
“The polar night is not dark in my opinion,” he says. “The Arctic has incredibly changing light; each season is different. The winter here is really magical.”
Exploring remote areas of Lapland requires careful planning, Antti says. © Jaakko Posti
Antti has completed the first part of his new adventure film project, Roam, in which he and his friends explore new freeriding territory in Lapland in each season of the year. With the autumn adventure behind him, a 10-day winter trip comes next.
“It's a great challenge for me as a professional freerider and I could not be more excited about this collaborative journey I am about to share with Suunto,” Antti says. “No matter if I’m out running trails or searching new lines to ride over winter, Suunto helps me to reach my goals and to move safely and smartly through the wilderness.”
Antti was born and raised in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, and his family home neighboured Ounasvaara ski resort. As a kid he tried team sports, but says he didn’t fit in. Out skiing one day when he was nine, he watched in awe as a snowboarder performed impressive tricks. When Antti tried snowboarding a year later, he was hooked. “I discovered I could explore anywhere I want if I had the speed,” he says.
When he was 13 Antti entered his first competition, and while still a rookie earned a place on the Finnish national snowboarding team. While on the team, he won the world championships, X Games and nearly all the biggest competitions world wide.
“In 2010 I felt like I needed to do more and not what everyone expected from me,” he says. “I wanted to ride powder and learn about mountains so I quit competing and began freeriding.”
Antti lives only 200 m from his family home and continues to find new terrain to freeride. He and his friends, for example, rode new lines on remote Svalbard Island, located halfway between the top of Norway and the North Pole. He does epic tours through rugged terrain in northern Sweden, Finland and Norway. “The whole of Lapland is an amazing place for adventure,” he says.
His new adventure film project has an important difference to his previous projects; it will be conducted mostly under human powered steam. “The key point of the whole film is to spend the whole winter in the north, to throw ourselves out there, and hopefully to inspire people to leave motorised vehicles out, and to instead use human power,” Antti says. “I really want to focus on doing things in a way that respects nature.”
Getting physically and mentally ready for the coming winter adventure is Antti’s main focus now. Strength training, long aerobic zone one and two workouts and interval sessions help him maintain the base fitness that long distance tours through deep snow demand. This makes his adventures more enjoyable, and safer.
“The best way is to stay safe in the north is to have a motor that keeps on going and doesn’t stop,” he says.
Lead images: © Jaakko Posti