Anton Smirnov runs the ’Motul Smirnov school’. Not your ordinary school though, as it is located high up in the rough Mountains of the freezing cold Siberia. As one of the trendsetters in Russia, Anton is performing big air jumps with Snowmobiles and is now teaching his skills to other people. And yes, even to absolute beginners. As temperatures drop below 30° Celsius, we grabbed our comfortable snow boots and thermal clothing and had a talk with Anton Smirnov about his absolutely unique project.
Anton, what is the Motul Smirnov school exactly?
It all started a few years ago. When I discovered the sports for the first time in 2005 on the red square in Moscow, I was impressed and started practicing myself. I have a history as a freestyle MX rider, and since a few years I am also a professional snowmobile freestyle rider. Which means I’m performing big air jumps and stunts on snowy hills while controlling a snowmobile in the air that weighs over 200 kilograms.
When did things really took off for the school project?
I met the people from Motul and explained my future plans. We are only a few freestyle snowmobile experts in Russia today, and I wanted the sports to grow and to pass on the skills I learned. That’s how the idea for the school got launched. Motul was willing to support the project in terms of Organization, logistics and, of course, lubricants for maintaining the snowmobiles. Because of the excellent collaboration, we baptized the project the ‘Motul Smirnov School’ and opened the school last April 2019.
Is the school open for all participants and all ages?
Yes, we are open for all levels of participants. Going from entry level riders who want to discover the sport, to professional riders who want to improve their advanced skills. Of course, you need to have some riding experience and enough muscles to control a snowmobile. But basically, we can train everybody to learn how to jump. Most important though: we learn to perform jumps in a safe way. The safety of the riders combined with riding pleasure while jumping are our key priorities.
How many days takes it to learn this?
A basic course takes three days and is divided between theoretical and practical lessons. For the jumps, we work in stages, going from small to medium and really Big Air jumps and speeds. After every practice session, we have a theoretical review where we share tips, tricks to improve the skills of every rider separately. The end result is always a safe jump and landing. The last thing we want is an accident to happen.
What period of the year is the school open?
We are located way up North in the Siberian Mountains. We mostly have snow from November to May or June, depending on the season. We are in a small town small village Priiskovy, far away from big Cities. So that’s almost all year through.
Is this a full-time profession?
Absolutely. And we have plans to grow. We would like to open an extra school in Russia and maybe one in Scandinavia too, we are thinking at the North of Sweden or Finland. During the summertime, I have a ramp and we practice often. My objective is to open up the sport to a new World Champion level and for me personally to reach the X Games in the end. But let’s wait and see what the future brings! Meanwhile we keep on flying high!
Discover the Motul School here: