It’s hard to take anyone seriously when they’re wearing purple skinny jeans and ski boots. It’s even harder when they’re also making super G turns up a golf course, or juggling tennis balls while sliding a handrail in the Finnish suburbs.
But, after watching the high-consequence hijinks in Real Skifi’s 16-part webisode series, it’s almost impossible not to.
It’s also impossible to not smile or want to go skiing. The crew, made up of Finnish skiers Juho Kilkki, Ilkka and Verneri Hannula, and filmer/director Janne Korpela, have spent the past five years putting together some of the most quirky, fun and creative segments out there. They are so bizarre and impressive they require their own genre: “Skifi,” or “ski fiction,” a play on “science fiction.”
Real Skifi’s urban antics include standard rail slides, roof gaps and airs, but other clips are harder to describe. Back-flipping onto and off a trampoline with skis on. Clicking out of skis intentionally, midair. Dropping cliffs onto sand or foliage landings. “Ski fiction” stretches the definition of skiing to include anything performed with skis on—or off, depending on the trick.
Jyväskylä isn’t a classic ski-movie mecca. With minimal snowfalls, elevation and sunlight, wheels seem a better medium than P-Tex, and yet it does have an impressive urban snow history. Many of the town’s features were pioneered by local crews like the Tikut Gang snowboarders. Fittingly, Real Skifi drew inspiration more from Fancy Lad skateboard edits and Think Thank snowboard films than traditional ski films. This unconventional terrain management is obvious when watching any of their episodes. The only thing as remarkable as someone intentionally skiing into a fence to front flip off a parking garage is the thought process that went into the idea in the first place.
“There is a decent brainstorming process behind most of the tricks,” Janne says. “Some we might come up with on the spot, but usually they are things we’ve been considering for a couple months and just trying to find the proper feature.”
It’s a punishing method, and one that can take literally hundreds of attempts and multiple hours to make happen. And while things may look a bit silly and the boys are definitely having a good time, sometimes it’s easier to push their creativity further than their bodies can handle.
“Juho has torn his ACL twice,” Janne says. “Verneri broke his wrist, but he wasn’t filming with us when he did it. A guy who was shooting with us our first season broke his collarbone completely, but that’s probably the worst thing that’s happened during Real Skifi shoots. A lot of scratches and bruises, but nothing serious.”
These days Verneri, Ilkka and Juho live in Jyväskylä, and Janne is currently attending university in Brisbane, Australia, which takes up a large chunk of his winter. That might be a problem for a different film crew, but Real Skifi aren’t bothered by seasons—Episode 16 was shot almost entirely during the summer, using longboards, water, grass and sand as their mediums. Filming for Episode 17 will begin in January, when Janne has a break from school. No matter how otherworldly the next chapter of ski fiction may be, one thing is for sure: they won’t take a moment of it seriously.