Despite his young age, Waltteri has been involved in winter sports for a long time, his love for skiing was born when he was very young. "My parents took me to ski-jumping school together with my older brother when I was 4 years old and that's when I got interested in the nordic combined". - says Waltteri and mentions how Rovaniemi's excellent training conditions also influenced his choice of sport. "Rovaniemi has top conditions for combined practice, which I sometimes take too much for granted." -says Waltteri.
Karhumaa brothers have toured the same competitions for a long time and Waltteri believes that big brother competing in the same sport has only been a positive experience. "We've trained a lot together and he's had a big impact on my choice of sport and where I'm at the moment." - describes Waltteri.
What is the charm of a nordic combined and what kind of qualities it requires from an athlete?
"Nordic combined is a challenging sport that requires balancing in terms of training and everything else in life. It is fascinating how two sports that require completely different characteristics can be combined into one interesting combination." -Waltteri inches.
"The most important qualities required from the nordic combined athlete are endurance and speed. In addition, it is important to have good mental stability, as race performance requires as neutral mind as possible." -says Waltteri.
The combined training is largely based on skiing and ski jumping, but it also includes various gym workouts to bring strength and speed, especially to the legs. "In the summer, I use as many forms of endurance training as possible, alternating between running, cycling, roller skiing, swamp walking and swimming, for example." -says Waltteri.
We asked Waltteri which is his “better half”; skiing or ski jumping and how many kilometres he will cover with skis each year.
"At the moment, skiing is stronger for me, but in recent years both disciplines have varied a lot and also my physical condition of the day has a high impact on my performance. It is quite difficult to calculate the kilometres of skiing, as it depends on the number of races and whether roller skiing kilometres are included. I would estimate about +-100km of skiing per week, depending on which area the training is focused on." - answers Waltteri.
In addition to training, the right nutrition plays an essential role in competitive sports. "In ski jumping, weight control is really important and precise. During the race season weight needs to be as low as possible, however, it can’t go too low in order to avoid any negative effects on the training. When training and competing, the consumption is so high that usually, it is not necessary to follow an overly strict diet. Rather, you should eat about the amount of food that corresponds to your energy consumption during the day." -says Waltteri.
Photo: Jesse Väänänen
Successful start for the season
The first snow competition, held in Rovaniemi, was a strong start to Waltteri's season, as he ranked 9th as the best Finn. "My physical state was good, particularly in skiing, and this gave me important indications for the upcoming competitions." -comments Waltteri.
"Since then, I have participated in domestic competitions in Taivalkoski. In the coming year, also World Cup venues will hopefully be possible if I am in good competitive shape." -says Waltteri.
In addition to touring the World Cup in 2023, Waltteri’s goal is to qualify for the World Championships in Planica with the Nordic Combined Team of Finland. "It would also be nice to get good top 10 performances from the Continental Cup." -lists Waltteri.
When asked for the most memorable competition memory, the answer is clear;
"Definitely the gold medal from last year's Youth World Cup in Zakopane with the relay team". -states Waltteri. In Zakopane, Waltteri also successfully ranked 4th in the mixed team competition and 8th in the individual competition. Other notable achievements include the Finnish under-20 Championship gold medal and the 8th place finish at the Youth Olympics. From the Continental Cup, the best individual ranking is 14th.
New winds are in store for the current season as Waltteri has switched from junior competitions to the men's national team of nordic combined. "After finishing high school, I can now focus solely on the nordic combined and invest in it with 100% intensity." -says Waltteri.
Training and competitions keep Waltteri busy, but as far as there is free time, he also likes to follow sports such as skiing, ski jumping and biathlon, as well as football.