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Normally, Antti Autti would be anywhere but sitting in front of a computer. Especially during the spring when the light in the Nordics takes over and vast mountain ranges and lines are unveiled for those that are willing to earn them. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Antti, like most others has had to change focus. A new normal exists. While we wait to get back into nature, we caught up with Antti to hear about what it’s like for him during this time between the peaks.
First off, how are you these days?
I’m well, taking it on a daily basis. Keeping myself active. All in all, looking at the situation where the world is, we are doing quite good up in northern Finland where I live.
How has Covid-19 and everything surrounding it affected your season?
It has had a major effect on my season. Basically, everything is now on hold until further notice and most likely many things will be postponed until next winter. Prior to the pandemic my crew and I were in a good phase creating material for my upcoming short film ROAM which is a splitboarding and mountain film that we are working on in the Nordic mountains. But once things started to move in a bad direction with covid-19, we decided to put most things on hold because it just got to a point where doing things we’d like to do would not be responsible anymore. I mean, in general doing things that have a bigger risk level are not good at the moment and I felt that I simply cannot continue making a film that I would release in autumn where I would have done most of the activities during this pandemic. Especially while people are really struggling in the world.
What are you doing to keep busy since you can't be in the mountains?
The first couple weeks were quite difficult because this crisis would probably mean that my whole season could potentially be over or at least the most important part of it. So it took a bit of time to get my head around this matter and organize things the way that I can start creating a new normal during the time when I’d normally be in the mountains. Once that got sorted, I’ve been trying to do a lot of basic training that relates to activities I would do in the mountains and I have also been focusing on thinking of new ideas for the future. It has been actually quite nice to realise that I’m able to slow down a bit during this crisis and rethink many matters and ideas I’ve been wanting to do in my lifestyle.
Also, the fact that we can move free in our home county is helping a lot. You know, For the past 10 years I’ve been away from home during the spring. The longing to go always away from home to go climb and shred the best lines possible has sort of created this illusion that my home is only a place to rest in between the trips during the winter. But because of this crisis I’ve been forced to go focus on small things at home and I have started to see the beauty of spring in southern Lapland again. This has given me a lot of new appreciation to this area where I live.
What’s your new normal?
Most importantly I’ve been able to hang out with my fiancée Ella which is usually a very rare thing to do for us during this time of the year.
On a normal day at home I take the dog out, go hike and ride the local hill. If the weather is good, I do a day trip to nearby fjells. Nothing risky. Just touring and keeping the mind relaxed. Also doing more work on the computer lately to plan things. I’ve also started this online business school to learn more about the possibilities and ways to define my own goals better.
Then finally, I’ve decided that I should have at least 1 to 2 hours a day to just dream about things I want to do because that is something where the best ideas always come from. This is so important for me because it helps me to get inspired and create goals. I usually have this time in the summer and during winter when I’m trying to achieve these goals I’ve set. Because of Coivd-19, I have sort of this early opportunity to adjust my current plans and dream of things I want to do.
Have any opportunities or experiences presented themselves to you because of this?
A positive through this negative time? Yes, I have had time to really think about my mental approach to my lifestyle. For such a long time I have been taking it for granted that I can just go to the Nordics or other countries for bigger mountains. However, since the borders closed and governments started to limit our free movement, it hit me very hard when I realised that my headspace during this time of the year had been formed to only work one way, which is going to the mountains and to be there. When that was taken away for the greater good, it was very difficult to first accept this. But understanding this also led me to feel very relieved because I understood that there is a big part of my mind that needs some training. And I like training, growing up and stuff. Physical struggles in life when you are healthy are so easy for me. However, when it comes down to working on your mental skills to simply stay put and be home, well then I have to admit I have some work to do on that matter...
What has been the most surprising thing out of all of this so far?
I’ve found myself thinking about my approach towards responsibility and social media much more.
To me, social media is a source to tell about my adventures and projects that are aimed to inspire people to go outside. In my lifestyle ‘social distancing’ is a norm. During this time, it would be easy to encourage people to go practice it the way I do it.
But is it ok?
Perhaps not because by doing this it can create anxiousness in people who share similar passions but are simply stuck in an area where they cannot go on even the smallest hikes and rides.
I mean, why should I as an experienced athlete be above this all and be allowed to go to mountains to do radical things when we have simply been requested to put things on hold in most parts of the world? By doing that, I would basically erase everything I’ve always stood for when it comes to inspiring people.
I think that in general, this pandemic is a great opportunity for many of us to really think what kind of stand we want to take on this matter and how we should perhaps also change the ways we want to present our lifestyles. Like, why do we want to put out a photo about that latest perfect powder turn or why is it so important for someone to share the photo of them climbing up a mountain even though it’s safe but considering the current situation it is simply not a responsible act to show.
This current situation in the world is a test for all of us who want to be responsible in all aspects of our lifestyle. It’s up to each individual to think whether they want to take this test or not.
How do you see upcoming adventures? Will they change? individually/group wise?
I hope this crisis will challenge us to really evaluate our adventures before making the call of going for it. To me, this has been a great time to really think about all the small shortcuts I’ve taken and try to understand how I can remove them to create even better experiences in my lifestyle.
What are you looking forward to/missing the most?
I’m definitely waiting to go back to higher mountains. Set goals that I want to achieve and challenge myself. Also, I want to share some great mellow runs with old and new friends!
How do you stay motivated during these times?
I like to plan and dream about things. I want to set new goals for myself. This is something that I’ve been doing a lot lately and by doing that I’ve found motivation to focus more and more about details that I want to adjust in my life in general.
Have you been listening to any podcasts recently? If so what?
Yes, my friend started this podcast called Arktiset Linjat which relates to Arctic Lines. it’s a Finnish podcast about freeriding and freestyle culture. Also, I’ve been listening fnrad podcast which tells stories about many snowboard legends.
Have you picked up any book recently, if so what and why?
I’ve been reading This is Marketing by Seth Godin and picked up my two favorite books in use again. These are Training for Uphill Athlete and Training for New Alpinism.
Any tips for staying motivated and finding inspiration? Documentary, etc?
I recommend to watch any artistic movies. Now is a good time to watch more detailed things. I’ve also been watching many mountain films.
Usually our gear is meant for outdoor performance. However, now as we are situated indoors more, is there any gear you are wearing more than usual?
I love the L.I.M Fuse shorts and H Crew Neck. They are my go to Hang out gear at home. In general, I’m a big fan of any L.I.M products because they are exactly what works great in the spring and summer adventures!