Peetu's podium prospectus
You won't catch Peetu Piiroinen amidst a throng of screaming girls or in front of Terry Richardson's lens stoking a burning snowboard, but you will, however, almost always see him on a podium.
A silent killer and self-proclaimed antisocialite, Piiroinen finished in the top three nine times this season with first place wins in both slope and pipe at the European Open, first place at the Arctic Challenge and an impressive Silver medal in Halfpipe at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. His cumulative contest results also earned him the Burton Global Open Series crown for the second time in his young career and the Swatch TTR World Tour title for a historic second time in a row.
With his historic season winding down, we caught up with Piiroinen after he claimed his titles, along with a cool $103,000 (he also took an easy $3000 for Best Trick in the halfpipe), at March's U.S. Open.
ESPN.com: Peetu, the season is over and you just took the TTR and BGOS titles to add to your Olympic Silver medal. How are you feeling?
Peetu Piiroinen: I'm feeling great. It's been a long season for me and a great season with the Silver medal and two titles, it really couldn't go better. It's the best season I've ever had.
Before the season started, did you set specific goals for yourself and work toward those goals -- did you have a strategy?
My main goal was the Olympics this year and yeah ... they went pretty good. And the TTR title, I wanted to win it again, but the Global Open Series thing was kind of a surprise for me. In New Zealand last summer, all the U.S. guys were doing double corks and all of the Finnish guys just said 'Damn, we can't do double corks,' so it's been a lot of training to get them. This whole season has been about learning those new tricks, but it's been pretty hard to do those double corks on jumps and in the halfpipe. Now I just want to ride everything bigger in both slopestyle and halfpipe. I'm so stoked I have learned those new tricks and can show them in the contests and win.
Did you have any help from your sponsors (read: private pipe sessions) that helped you learn doubles?
When I saw the U.S. guys doing the double corks I said, 'Dude, we have to try those tricks.' So the first time I tried the double cork was in New Zealand. These days you have to push your limits if you want to be on the podium. You need to train harder and harder. This year we had a few airbag sessions -- a Nike one in Saas-Fee -- that one helped a lot. It's really good to try a trick like that on an airbag first, because you know if you will be able to do it or not. Then we had another airbag session before the Olympics and that helped a lot, too.
Would you say this year was the most progressive year you've ever seen in snowboarding?
Oh yeah. I really can't believe that the riding level is where it is. Last year everyone was pretty much doing back-to-back 10s and now it's back-to-back double corks and three double corks in a run, so I don't know how it's going to be next year!
Do you think Shaun White deserves the credit for the majority of the progression this year?
He pretty much started this double cork thing. He was the first guy with an airbag and he got a really good chance to boost his riding level even higher. Now it's all about the double cork.
Speaking of White, especially in the U.S. but all over the world he has a presence that's bigger than snowboarding. You are arguably on the podium as much as he is -- do you also want to grow your personality outside of the sport?
No. Actually I just want to do this. Just snowboarding. It's my thing, I don't really like doing interviews and all that stuff, I just want to snowboard and have fun.
Do you feel like you've made history this season?
I know I was the first guy who has won the TTR title two times in a row, so that's kind of history, yeah.
Do you ever think about how, 40 years from now, no one else may have won back-to-back TTR titles, and kids growing up shredding will know your name for having done it?
Yeah, it's pretty good, but I think now that the Olympics are done, most of the riders are going to focus more on the TTR. Shaun and the other U.S. guys just focused on the Olympics this year; they hardly did any TTR contests, so we'll see. It would be nice to keep the record. And of course next year I'm going to go for it and try to win it three times in a row. We'll see.
What about the $103,000 you won at the Open for TTR, BGOS and Halfpipe Best Trick, any good plans for that money?
I haven't thought about what I'm going to do with all that money. I will probably just save it for the future.
I'm just pretty much the quiet guy. It doesn't matter if I'm hanging out with Finnish guys or anyone else, I'm always the quiet guy.
Do you have any shred plans for the summer?
I'm going to rest. I'll do some filming with my sponsors Burton and Nike, and then for the summer I'm just going to chill and relax. I'll take it easy for a while then start my season in August in New Zealand.
Do you skate in the summer?
I used to. I think I may start again, but these days I'm mostly playing golf or tennis.
Will you spend any time with your sponsors working on product or marketing over the summer? I pretty much just like to snowboard. I'm not the most social person -- talking to lots of different people and stuff like that -- I just like to ride. I'm just pretty much the quiet guy. It doesn't matter if I'm hanging out with Finnish guys or anyone else, I'm always the quiet guy.