Exposed to snowmobiles from childhood, Olavi Kiiskinen has over 40 years of experience riding through Finland's expansive winter landscapes. A retired Finnish Frontier Guard, he loves to ride at full speed and enjoys using his Yamaha RX-1 for hunting and ice fishing. A dedicated Yamaha enthusiast, Olavi has owned over a dozen Yamaha snowmobiles and is looking forward to the next generation of Yamaha 4-strokes.
At first sight
On a frozen Lake Inari in June 1984 during an unusually long winter season
In the winter of 1962, the first snowmobile in Scandinavia was brought to Inari, a small village in Lapland where most people were reindeer herders, fishermen or lumbermen. That snowmobile was owned by Eino Kukkonen, a local teacher, and a young Olavi Kiiskinen was so excited at the sight of it, that he ran out of math class to look at it-and was subsequently punished his behavior.
In the late 1960s, snowmobiles began to find a place in Finnish families. It could be used for travelling to country cottages, for ice fishing in the wilderness, or just for some winter fun with the whole family. As a police officer in the northern municipalities, Olavi's father Lauri bought his first snowmobile in 1963. His father was very meticulous with his snowmobile and after every outing the sled had to be serviced, cleaned and precisely parked. The Kiiskinen family's fun started in early 1969 when Lauri bought a Yamaha SL 351 and the family has never owned any other brand since.
The Yamaha man
Olavi's youngest daughter smiling on an Easter Day in 1993 on one of his favorite Yamaha snowmobiles, the VMax4
After starting a career in the Finnish Frontier Guard, Kiiskinen bought his first Yamaha snowmobile, an SL 300. The biggest reason for his first snowmobile purchase was for travelling to work at the Frontier Guard station near the Russian border. At the time, there were no roads leading into the wilderness where the station was located so snowmobiling was a perfect solution. It wasn't much time until snowmobiling became the most important hobby for Olli. For him, snowmobiling has always been a good way to train his physique, clear his mind and relax.
Sometimes he rides with his two sons, girlfriend or friends, but most of Olli's snowmobiling is done alone. When his children still lived at home, he used to take his family out on a sled many times during the winter out to lakes in the wilderness for ice fishing and making food. In challenging conditions, he sometimes works as a guide for local winter safari companies as well. For the ten years spanning 1988-1998, he was the snow cross team leader, trainer, mechanic and support for his son Tapio, who now works for Yamaha Finland.
In his 27 years as a Finnish Frontier Guard and 40 years of active snowmobiling, Olli has become one of the most experienced snowmobilers in the world, having owned 25 different Yamaha snowmobiles. On top of that, all of them were short-tracked, top-of-the-line sport machines of their time.
Olli out having a blast on his RX-1
The next generation-4-strokes
When speaking of the RX-1 and 4-stroke technology, Olli says he got an opportunity to test the RX-1 in 2002 and he was sold. The looks, sound, engine and especially awesome power that he had never experienced before made such an impression that he ordered one immediately. There was no going back to 2-stroke snowmobiles anymore. Now in 2011, he's once again impressed again by the Yamaha Apex with EPS and how it changed the world of snowmobiling. After a few test rides on the Apex, he's sure to get himself one soon!
In the end, Yamaha snowmobiles are a lifestyle for him. Olli bought a Yamaha because of its reliability, fit and finish and the finest technical innovations. These reasons are still important to him after all his years of riding snowmobiles.
The riding location
In 2010, there were more than 121,000 registered snowmobiles in Finland, with 45,000 of them located in the largest and northernmost province of Lapland. Winter spans for almost half the year, bringing snow to the land and village of Inari that Olli comes from. With a population of around 7,000 people, Inari is situated near two national parks and a large lake that shares its name. With the long winters and long distances, professional outdoorsman like reindeer herders began using snowmobiles in the wilderness and changed how snowmobiles are used in Finland.
Rider profile: Olavi "Olli" Kiiskinen
Olli began riding snowmobiles mainly for use in his career as a Finnish Border Guard in the 1960s, buying his first Yamaha in 1972. Since then he has done over 400,000 kilometers in mileage and owned over 20 Yamaha snowmobiles. Despite being around 60 years old, Olli still loves to ride at full speed on rough trails. He also enjoys taking his Yamaha RX-1 out to the wild to hunt and ice fish.