Coming from Lapland, the northernmost province of Finland, situated mostly north of the Arctic Circle, Martti Maatela competed at two major international tournaments during his career. Maatela made his international début at the 1958 World Championships, where he surprisingly led after the ski jumping phase, but dropped to fourth after the cross-county. He was 23rd at 1960 Winter Olympics. Maatela also won the Nordic Combined at Ounasvaara in 1958, 1959 and 1961, at Puijo in 1959, was third at the Lahti Ski Games in 1959 and fourth at Holmenkollen in 1959. Maatela won his only national medal, a silver, at the 1959 Finnish Championships. His younger brother Markku was an international level ski jumper, competing at the start of 1960s.