Vans Hi-Standard returns to Europe and seems to have found its spiritual home in Talma, Finland. A reminder of why we love Snowboarding; Vans Hi-Standard brings together the snowboarding community, rewarding style and creativity in a galvanising jam format. No spins over 720. Free registration. Style is what counts. Hi-Standard, like snowboarding, is for everyone.
Perfect conditions brought the riders and the spectators out for a jam-packed event with a full day of incredible riding. Cash for tricks was the order of the day, rewarding each rider for pushing the limit and demonstrating creativity for the crowds looking on. Whilst every rider played their part and helped create an incredible occasion, a few stood out and were worth of special mention.
The Vans Hi-Standard MVP is the award for best overall rider and there was no doubt that this day it belonged to Saku Tiilikainen who spent the day pushing boundaries with incredibly stylish back rodeos and a ridiculous array of tricks on the rails. As MVP, Saku deservedly earns an all expenses paid trip to the grand-finale of the Vans Hi-Standard in Sierra-at-Tahoe to battle it against all other MVP’s from the other stops.
Ville Jukola was identified as the Most Improved Rider for a series of incredible frontside sevens and a relentless assault on the park that never stopped throughout the day. Judges were in agreement that this guy was one to watch for the future.
The Van Doren Best Rail Trick was an incredible demonstration of typically Finnish finesse, with Kalle Jarvilehto standing out amongst a ridiculous level of riding to win with a huge back 360 50-50 font 180 out on the donkey rail. The under 16’s were riding in and amongst and showing the adults that they were coming for them sooner rather than later – Annina Perhovaara took home the Under-16 Van Doren Best Rail Trick award for a perfect frontside boardslide on the up rail.
As the Hi-Standard spirit took over, riders were pushing themselves all over the park. None more so than Jaame Saatinen who claimed Best Slam with a huge over rotated backflip late 180 and paid the price as a result, not that it stopped him from killing it for the rest of the afternoon.
Finland is renowned the world over for the incredible level of snowboarding talent it produces and Talma gives an insight as to just how and why. It’s not just the incredible freestyle facilities that make this possible but the fact that snowboarding is so well-loved amongst the Finns. It is for this reason the Vans Hi-Standard was suited so perfectly. Helsinki-raised snowboarding legend Heikki Sorsa is a living, breathing example of this and was happy to join the panel of judges in his own back yard. (alongside fellow Finnish snowboard legend Joni Malmi and current Vans rider Benny Urban). He summed up the overall vibe perfectly with is closing comments-
“Talma is where I grew up so really awesome to see so many talented kids to come here. The riding level was sick, I was judging and it didn’t even feel like it because it was just so awesome to watch.” – Heikki Sorsa
All photos by James North