WOP Presents “Hiace”

In this age of endless digital information, those once mysterious figures seem rare as we now know so much about…

WOP Presents “Hiace”

In this age of endless digital information, those once mysterious figures seem rare as we now know so much about…

April 25, 2021
Words By Jon Stark Full length

In this age of endless digital information, those once mysterious figures seem rare as we now know so much about the specificities of peoples’ lives. Well, the story ain't the same for WOP. We can’t help but be curious about these individuals, especially their newest addition to the crew, in this ongoing video series providing an intimate view into their peculiar Finnish snowboard scene. Their films have notoriously created a racket among the room whenever you throw them on due mostly to Dr. Luti’s absolutely insane spot selection. Now throw in Niels Schack, Venla Mustonen, Sparrow Know and of course Sami Luhtanen himself, this video comes at you when you least expect it, right when the northern hemisphere is heating up for summer.

Sami Luhtanen (Dr. Luti) on Life and Snowboarding

Interview by: Niels Schack

For the people that don’t know, where are you from and how old are you?

I’m from Finland and I’m 27 years old. 

How long have you been filming with Tobbe?

I started filming with Tobbe in like 2012/2013 and at that time we were filming for the KBR crew. I only filmed for a couple of weeks with Tobbe that year because I was also filming with the Pirates guys. After two years of filming with Pirates I decided to move on and start filming with Tobbe full time. Now we’ve been filming more or less since we made our first movie in 2014/2015.

A few years ago you seemed to have disappeared off the radar of snowboarding, where were you?

Yeh, sometimes there comes a time when you don’t have another choice but to work on making your life better. It was a big step for me–I was trying to buy my brother's house that he was in the process of building. In the end everything went smoothly and the house is nearly finished. A decent home for my family and a good place to spend time. I never had the feeling I had a home before. It's cool that I am able to put energy into creating and I can work with my hands. Still have almost all my fingers left. Last, summer I only lost the end of my ring finger when I was fixing my Harley Davidson. All good.  

What makes you most happy? 

Snowboarding and skateboarding mostly. But also the smaller things make me really happy these days. Happy to go drink coffee and see my grandmother tomorrow!

What’s your approach when it comes to picking spots to snowboard on?

Spots pick us most of the time. If you have that feeling, you ride and try and have some fun. And if I have a feeling that it’s not right then we move on to somewhere else. 

Are you currently on Capita?

It's cool that they send me boards to film on. I am really grateful for all the help. I would like to snowboard more going into the future.  

 How did Niels get hurt this year, can you run us through the situation?

Destiny, he was trying to achieve his dreams!

How was filming this year, what was Covid like in Finland? 

It was slow and took a long time to wake up the body. But I really can’t remember any bad days in the end. Covid really wasn’t much of an issue here. But nice to be out with good people. 

Take us back to the Water Slide shot from 2015, what went down to make that happen?

"Tiger”—oh he is my old friend, thank god NEVER again. Long story short, the waterslide found me a long time ago. It's right next to our local hill, I used to snowboard there a lot. For many years I knew the time was coming when I would have to ride the Tiger. We were filming a street part with Tobbe and we needed this spot. All I knew is that I was riding for Ride snowboards for 10 years and they found me right next to this slide when I was 11. Thought it would be a good way to make it legit. 

The first day I was trying it, everything was ready, but then people who worked there didn’t let us try it. I told them I need the Tiger or I couldn't put the part out. But they didn’t understand. They didn’t understand why I would wanna do it in the first place. So I had to snake it when the resort was closed. I was at home for about two weeks just trying to make this happen. Sometimes busted and then the snow started melting really fast. So there was no snow left to make the landing or the in run really. Just this little pile in the parking, and we built it with two trash cans to move snow around. The same guy who kicked me out comes back, but this time I told him I was doing this grass gap and he was cool about it. He left just saying from his window, “Remember don’t touch that waterslide” haha. I was still smiling when I put the snow at the top of the Tiger. Went there 6 times to 6 tries that one evening.

 What’s next for you and WOP?

Pretty much trying to feed my soul with woodworking and skateboarding. Last few weeks I’ve been cleaning my yard, cutting apple trees, and starting to build a terrace next to the ramp. Now the weather is getting a bit colder again so I have to wait until the sun comes out to paint my house one more time. Also I’m going to therapy for a bit. When I’m not able to snowboard things can be hard at times. My head is sometimes too much and it’s really hard to focus on anything. But I have many projects going on now and I’m really trying to find all the energy from the present time. I’m making new coping for my ramp and tomorrow and I'll turn on my wood cutter to make a decent deck for one table. And when the summer is over and winter is coming we hope for the best. Bring the family back together and see what happens.