Monday, December 7, 2009

Finnish Alpine Skiing Stamps

Another lovely postcard sent from Pori, Finland. Thank you so much, Johanna!This postcard depicts a beautiful painting of Finnish painter, Albert Edelfelt (1854-1905). It shows snowy Helsinki in 1894. Nowadays, it is becoming a rare sight in south and coastal Finland according to Johanna.
On 24th January 2008, Finnish post issued a special minature sheet, never before seen on Finnish stamps. Entitled "Alpine Skiing", the sheet has an illusion of movement thanks to the imaging and printing technology used. When you turn the sheet in your hands, the picture comes to life.
This makes Tanja Poutiainen speed downhill on the slalom stamp. The stamp is in the lower right corner of the miniature sheet. The picture is from the Finnish round of the slalom World Cup in Levi. The 27-year-old skier from Rovaniemi is also shown at speed next to the stamp, on the edge of the stamp sheet. Tanja Poutiainen's achievements also include a silver medal at the Turin Olympics in 2006 and numerous other victories and high placements in world cup championships over a period of years.

The stamp dedicated to snowboarding features a stunning performance by Antti Autti. The stamp, on the top right of the sheet, shows a series of stills in which Antti Autti performs a cab 540° roast beef in a half-pipe. Among Antti Autti's triumphs are two gold medals in the World Championships of winter 2004-2005 and the prestigious XGames half-pipe competition in the same season.

The two other stamps on the sheet depict freestyle skiing, which includes several types. The upper left of the sheet shows Matti Räti, a 19-year-old exponent of new school skiing and a student at the University of Kuopio. The stamp shows a 'drop'.

The stamp on the lower left shows Tapio 'Arska' Saarimäki on powder. Saarimäki now lives year-round in the village of Verbier in the Swiss Alps, where he practices cross-country and downhill biking in addition to Alpine skiing. In freestyle, helicopters are sometimes used to take skiers to virgin slopes, and this explains the chopper on the upper edge of the stamp sheet.

The production process used for the miniature sheet is called MotionPrint imaging. The Alpine Skiing miniature sheet is the most advanced print job ever done with this technology. For example, it simultaneously uses both animation and a 3-D effect for the first time.

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