Skip navigation

Behind the scenes at the first ever Match Made in HEL

Article published
12.11.2014 at 07:30
Seven pro skaters at Helsinki airport.
In October, we did something new and exciting. Something that hadn't been done before. Something that wasn't even possible before and will probably never happen again.

We let a bunch of top international skaters loose on Helsinki Airport's famous parquet, at apron level, in the baggage-claim hall, and at the Finnair hangar – Finland's largest building.

Skating at an airport is every skater's dream. And when the force behind the event, Arto Saari, is one of the best-known skating legends in the world, it's no wonder the exhibition proved a huge success!

Applications from over 50 countries

Saari's video invitation spread quickly to 100+ countries via the Internet. Applications in the form of skating videos, ranging from awesome to more awesome, were uploaded to from more than 50 countries.

The buzz became stratospheric in social media: the opportunity to skate at an airport with Arto Saari was something the skaters could hardly believe was real.

Saari brought his own US duo, Curren Caples and Louie Lopez, with him and selected Canadian Matt Berger and Japanese Hiroyuki Matsuo to receive a golden ticket. Invitations went also to Finland's Kasperi Kropsu, Andreas Larsen of Denmark, and Russia's Gosha Konyshev, on the basis of their applications.

Our guests arrived in Helsinki on Saturday, raring to go and take over the airport for a few days.

The feedback was great throughout, and Kropsu's Instagram message 'The greatest three days of my life' perfectly describes the feelings of us organizers too.

An impressive set-up

We were on the move from early morning to late night.

The skaters were accompanied by a production group with a few dozen members, together with builders and press representatives. The airport's security regulations and the safety of all participants were the most important considerations from the organisation angle.

At Finavia and Finnair, we're lucky to have no shortage of courage, open-mindedness, and people ready to throw themselves into any project. All this enabled us to pull off something virtually impossible. We also made good use of the features of MS Excel, which got a good workout.

The next episode of Match Made in HEL

Under Finavia and Finnair's Match Made in HEL concept, experts and specialists in various fields gather at the top of the world, here at Helsinki Airport, to do and achieve things together.

At the same time, these events offer participants an opportunity to experience how travelling with Finnair to Helsinki Airport and then onward looks, feels, smells, and tastes. 

The skating event in October 2014 was the first occasion showing this concept in practice. Now we'll all have to wait and see what kind of gathering the next such event brings Helsinki Airport.