Now it's time for the Women. First up is one of the world's most stylish riders, Enni Rukajärvi.
Often quiet snowboarders are described as someone who lets their riding do the talking and Enni is a perfect example of that. In what is a typical Finnish character trait, Rukajärvi is a lady of few words and happy to sit and allow a conversation to carry on around her. This shyness doesn’t transfer on the mountain though as she is one of the most explosive Snowboarders on the circuit, with a standout style that often blows the competition away.
Enni hails from Rukajärvi (which is how she got her surname), close to Kuusamo, way up in the Finnish Artic circle. An idyllic hometown which has it’s own local resort, Ruka. If you have ever ridden in Finland you will know that it’s icy, not your typical European resort icy but bulletproof hard snow.
These solid parks can work in a Finnish riders favour though as no matter where they end up riding in the World, the conditions are always softer than back home and if you watch the Ruka locals in action, you will notice that like a cat, they always land on their feet. This prevention method is a defensive mechanism that can save them from potentially dire consequences.
The runs in Ruka are short, allowing the riders to quickly lap the parks and with the slopes all being floodlight, it’s proved the perfect place for Enni to perfect her riding skills.
Rukajärvi is a graduate of the Sotkamo Sport School, which is a snowboard specific school that has produced an advanced pedigree of riders such as Peetu Piroinen, Roope Tonteri, Markus Malin and Saku Tiilikainen. With an opportunity to develop her skills in such a way and with Finland’s Snowboard megastars as her fellow students it was evitable that Enni would also become one of the names the school is proud to mention as their former pupils.
The 2009-2010 season was when Enni started to win major contests. In one season she won the Horsefeathers Pleasure Jam, followed by a win at the Roxy Chicken Jam. A day after the Roxy Chicken Jam she not only entered the Burton European Pipe, she entered the Slopestyle and walked away with the top spot. Three days and two 1st places to show for her efforts. Rukajärvi followed this up with a Win at the Canadian Open for Slopestyle and consequently ended up becoming the 2009-10 Overall TTR Champion. Enni has had some impressive results since and is currently 5th in Slopestyle and 2nd Overall in The World Snowboard Tour rankings.
This season Enni was given the opportunity to film her own show Ennitime for Redbull. The mini web series followed her throughout the World and for the first time we got a chance to see different aspects her riding such as street rails and urban features.
Watching the footage It’s clear that she could have a future in filming a full rounded part once she hangs up her riding bib. For now though her focus is on competition and with the Winter Olympics around the corner it could easily be a chance for Finland to get a Gold Medal in Slopestyle.