This winter the 19-year old rookie from Finland, Enni Rukajärvi took the snowboarding world by storm by appearing almost out of thin air and dominating the top slopestyle events. Fresh from finishing high school, she begun competing a few years prior at her home mountain and it became clear that she had a talent. With her textbook style and fearless mind Rukajärvi cleaned up almost every slopestyle title she tried for this winter, slowly climbing the TTR ranks and growing stronger also in the halfpipe. At the nail biting tour ending 6Star event, the Roxy Chicken Jam US, her efforts were rewarded and she was crowned Swatch TTR World Snowboard Champion 2009/2010, earning herself $50,000 USD and automatic invites to all major TTR events for the 2010/2011 season.
In the fall of 2009/2010, Rukajärvi began to stir up the noise outside her home country making international headlines with her win at the 4Star Horsefeathers Pleasure Jam 2009 in Austria, beating the likes of former TTR World Champion Cheryl Maas (NED). Carrying over an end-of-season bonus, from a World No. 46 position in the 08/09 TTR season, she jumped into World No.43 with her first result and caught up with the pack who had got a head start at the southern hemisphere TTR events.
The big bang on her career came along with her slopestyle victories at the 6Star Roxy Chicken Jam in Saalbach, Austria and the 6Star Burton European Open in Laax, Switzerland. By this point it was clear that she was no one hit wonder, but a serious contender for the Swatch TTR top spot. After the two 6Star events, she had climbed into World No. 6 and spoke about her experience at the BEO explaining; “I was really nervous in the semis because I wanted to get to the finals, but once I got in I was able to just ride”. Her determination showed in the finals where she reached top scores with her second run consisting of a 50-50 Boardslide to Fakie, Cab 360 Slide, Cab 270 Boardslide, 50-50 on Downbox, Stalefish Frontside 360 Indy, Backside mute 540 and a stylish Cab 720.
After her success in January, Rukajärvi made quick calculations and came to the conclusion to include a 5Star event in her schedule to allow her a few more crucial results for her Swatch TTR ranking total. She accepted an invitation to compete at the 5Star Burton Canadian Open, despite her original plans to only do a few events this year. Her efforts paid off and once more she shone on the top spot of the slopestyle podium, and also showed that she could stomp a solid run in the halfpipe. Sitting in World No. 4 prior to the 6Star Burton US Open allowed Rukajärvi to relax a bit and she returned to her home mountain to regain her focus. At Stratton she walked away with another nice result, barely missing the podium with 4th place in slopestyle and 15th in the halfpipe and was awarded the Burton Global Open Series title. Now in the Swatch TTR ranking lead Rukajärvi was in a great position for the Roxy Chicken Jam USA, however, with seven other contenders able to overtake her rank she was still in for a tight battle. She managed to hold her own and place 6th in slopestyle and 21st in halfpipe. “I feel awesome. I am so happy and stoked and also surprised. I did not expect to be Tour Champion at all at the beginning of the season.” Rukajärvi has certainly showed that one can make her way through the various Star rated events on the TTR Tour and participate in the open events to make a success story and we can expect to see a lot more of her in the future.
The Swatch TTR Top 3 of season 2009/2010 were rounded up with Sina Candrian (SUI) in World No.2 and Sarka Pancochova (CZE) in World No. 3. The men’s Swatch TTR Tour Champion, Peetu Piiroinen (FIN), was crowned at the Burton US Open. More information and videos of Enni Rukajärvi’s 09/10 World Champion Title are available on www.ttrworldtour.com .