The strongest grip wins
Playing soccer in the snow – at the Nokian Tyres Snow Soccer World Championships in Finland on 6 – 7 February 2010 is something different. The hardest and most funny tournament in the world on 50 centimetres of snow in Ukkohalla with 1000 players and 70 teams. Very crazy, but so cheerful. This new snow soccer is extreme fun: exhausting, difficult and adventurous. The players who have the best grip and skill, will win. A match ground with so much deep snow in normal soccer would be unplayable. To fall into the snow is fun and part of snow soccer.
The Finns like hard demands in arctic conditions. The companies of the country work also with this attitude. The Finnish winter tyre specialist Nokian Tyres, main partner of the Snow Soccer World Championships for several years, tests its tyres in the most extreme conditions on snow and ice in its own testing centre 300 kilometres north of the polar circle with over 700 hectares. Testing centre is located in the town of Ivalo in Finnish Lapland, 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Temperatures fall to minus 40 degrees over there.
Especially in difficult road conditions the car needs the best possible tyres with excellent traction. “In the challenging conditions of the North we develop and manufacture safe tyres, which provide firmer snow grip und stronger contact on ice to stop early enough while braking and to prevent skidding of the car. Mastery of northern conditions can be both seen and felt in every Nokian tyre,” explains Antti-Jussi Tähtinen, Vice President Marketing and Communications of tyre manufacturer Nokian Tyres. “Like the „Hakkapeliitta“ – the strongly fighting cavalrymen from Finland in the Thirty Years’ War – the players get through the hardest demands. Like you come through with our premium tyres even in extreme situations. We want to help people have adventures in a safe and cheerful manner. This is why we support the snow soccer world championships.
Snow soccer demands much more power than normal soccer but is a unique experience: You forget your everyday life und surpass borders. “The leg muscles are trained well by the soft ground and the tendons are not put too much under stress,” argues Dr Harri Hakkarainen, Director of the Finnish Sport Institute Vierumäki.
In the challenging Nordic conditions the will to win and team play are important. Never give up. “This is also valid for tyre tests. Nokian tyres are again and again test winners of the leading car magazines,” assures Dieter Köppner, Business Director Central Europe of the premium brand manufacturer. “This underlines their excellent performance”. No wonder, the winter tyre specialist has over 70 years of experience in the manufacturing of tyres for extreme conditions and invented the first winter tyre in the world already 1934. The famous winter tyres called „Hakkapeliitta“ have been in the trade since 1936, and car drivers in more than 50 countries could convince themselves of the safe and outstanding qualities of the Hakkapeliitta tyres. Nokian Tyres is the only tyre manufacturer worldwide which focuses on car driver needs in northern conditions.
The rules of the fun sport differ from the well known soccer. There is no offside rule. For the penalty the player drops the ball from his hands to his foot, the same for corner and throw-in. No restrictions for the number of substitutions or substitutes. Each team has only six players, the match time is 2 x 8 minutes. “The matches have kicked off despite the temperatures falling 20 degrees Celsius below zero,” tells Director General of the Ukkohalla resort, Kimmo Kyhälä, who hosts the World Championships.
“Nokian Tyres shows with snow soccer that we can live in harmony with nature and sometimes even defeat the hard conditions of the North,” substantiates Tähtinen.