See Roope Tonteri’s crazy ice park project

In the darkness of long, northern winters, creative ideas are in abundance, and magic never far off.
By Isak Kullman

Roope Tonteri finished seventh in the Oslo X Games big air competition last weekend and is at the moment competing in the FIS World Championships in Spain, looking to get his fifth medal from the championships.

Even if Roope has been busy competing this winter, he has also had time to realise one of his crazy ideas of building a park made out of ice.

Roope is no ordinary snowboarder. When not competing, he loves hanging out at his cabin, located in the middle of the pristine Finnish landscape, next to a lake.

There, in the last few years, he's built some memorable skateboard setups, including a mini suspended in a tree and a floating ramp.

We caught up with Roope to ask him some questions about his newest project and his DIY-mentality.

Portrait of snowboarder Roope Tonteri
Roope Tonteri © Teemu Heljo / Red Bull Content Pool

Hey Roope, what’s up?
Hey! Not much, just packing my gear for some afternoon riding.

Sounds good, how has the winter been so far?
It’s been good. No injuries, some good competition results and also been able to realise a few cool projects.

How did you come up with the idea for the ice park?
As with all the other projects, I was at my cottage in the woods. You know when you're sitting in your cabin you have time to think and then you come up with stuff. I think I initially got the inspiration from the NYE-edit from KBR, where they used one block of ice as a rail.

You seem to be eager to build stuff yourself. What do you enjoy about these projects?
I really enjoy it as a counterweight to competing. The projects I do are not about doing triple corks etc. It’s about having fun and doing cool things. Creating something that people haven’t seen before and can appreciate.

I really enjoy being a part of the project from the beginning to the end, all the way from building the obstacles to riding them. It's really something else from just coming to a readily built location and doing a triple cork. You really can see that you accomplish something when you build stuff. And the feeling of riding stuff that you have built yourself is really great. You absolutely enjoy it more.

Had you ever ridden obstacles made out of ice? How was it?
Actually no, never! It was cool to try it out. Ice is a bit softer than metal, so it was perhaps a bit more risky and I needed to be a bit more careful. Then again they were also super-slippery so it worked really well in my opinion.

Tell me more about the park?
I don’t know if people understand, but the park was built on the ice of the lake. So beneath the park there is around 6m of water. And the ice blocks we cut out of the lake with a chainsaw, a few metres from the park. The park is just next to my cottage, so it's kind of in my backyard. 

How long did it take to build it?
Haha, tricky question. I think I was building it for around six days and then my dad helped me again. I think he worked on it for around 10-12 days. 

Any funny stories from building the park?
We built everything by hand! The only tools we used were pretty much a chainsaw, an axe and a pair of logging grapples. There were for sure some late and cold nights while building the park! At one point we dropped the log grapples into the lake and needed to pick them up from a depth of a few metres in the cold and dark water. 

Roope Tonteri on an ice rail
Roope Tonteri on an ice rail © Teemu Heljo / Red Bull Content Pool
Roope Tonteri cutting ice in the dark
Taking his time © Teemu Heljo / Red Bull Content Pool

How much ice did you lift up from the lake?
Loads! We actually calculated the amounts and it’s around 6.5 tons of ice. So we got a good workout while building the park.

How was the ice sauna?
It was really humid, but good as well. You did for sure not freeze inside the sauna even if it was made of ice!

What about ice swimming, how often do you enjoy some icy baths and enjoy the sauna?
Pretty much every day when I’m home. It's a part of my daily routine. It’s good for the body to go to the sauna and swim in the icy lake. Also, you have something to do when you warm up the sauna.

What kind of tools did you use for building the park?
A chainsaw, some grapples and an axe. And of course some manpower!

Some other projefcts cooking already?

Anything else you want to say?
Thanks to everyone who helped realise the project! My dad, Teemu Heljo, Elias Markkula, Luumäen VPK and Veijo Oinonen.

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