Olympic Snowboarder Mark McMorris Is Ready to Stand on the Podium Again
olympic snowboarder mark mcmorris oakley week interview

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MARK MCMORRIS IS the epitome of chill, seated next to me on the balcony of his hotel room which overlooks Whistler Blackcomb, the setting of Oakley Week: Summer Edition. The brand’s first sun-soaked iteration of their annual event brings athletes from all over simply to remind us why they’re so goddamn good at what they do. Although saying someone like McMorris—a three-time Olympic bronze medalist— is “good” at what he does just wouldn’t be giving the 28-year-old enough credit.

“I snowboarded for the first time when I was 5,” he says of his start. “I played all kinds of sports, and by the time I was 10, I was competing and taking it more seriously. By 16, I was competing and making a full-on living. It was so cool.”

But after standing sideways for all these years—snowboarding, surfboarding, skateboarding, you name it—McMorris has finally been able to recognize when he’s reached the point of all work and no play. To avoid losing that level of pleasure in a thing he’s loved so dearly for over a decade, he emphasizes how important that time off the powder truly is.

“A lot of people would say they love [snowboarding] so much that there is no separation, but I think over time that line gets a little blurred,” he explains. “I live at the beach in California. I’m Canadian and I have a place here, but I spend all my downtime there so I’m excited to go back to the winter. I try to separate myself fully to get reignited. You need to have a good balance or you’ll run yourself into the ground.”

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As for McMorris’ motivation for getting on and off the snowboard, there’s one thing—after all is said and done with his athletic career—that he’s hoping to achieve.

“I just want to be a recognizable figure in the whole action sports community,” he tells me. “I have a lot of respect for everyone and everything, and I’ve been so lucky to have so much success in snowboarding, but I feel like with that comes influence in other things. Yes, I have the accolades from the contests, but there’s still so much growing in the pro status.”

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He mentions names like Eric Koston, Kelly Slater, and Tom Brady as professional athletes that inspire him (they’ve all managed to keep their careers going as entrepreneurs and authority figures in their fields). But let’s not forget that McMorris is a mere 28, almost 20 or so years from being where the men he looks up to are in their lives. So when you’re already sitting with titles that don’t come to just anybody before age 30, what’s next? After you achieve such high praise, what else is left to deliver that same type of satisfaction?

For McMorris, it’s simple: “progression.”

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“I like the feeling that kind of scares you,” he says, casually letting me know that he’s been riding Alaskan mountains via helicopter as of late. “When I ride my best at contests, that’s one of the most satisfying feelings—to be on the podium. It’s such a hard thing to stay near the top when there’s such a small invite list. And then to win it [X Games] again, for the 5th time or whatever, I was like, ‘Holy shit, I still got this.’ And to go to the Olympics and get another medal, i’m still motivated in that sense. I don’t feel like slowing down at competing. It’s fun when you’re doing well.”

After getting a better sense of who McMorris, the snowboarder, is, he went on to name a few items—from skincare to his pick when it’s time to suit up—to give us a better feel for McMorris, the laidback, relatable dude from the prairies of Canada.

“Over the last 3 years I’ve lived in the Eye Jacket Redux, made famous by Michael Jackson. I have a couple pairs. These are the ones that are in the marketplace right now, people are loving them. It’s a super fast, speedy shade.”

Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane

“Something I try to use all the time is face moisturizer. Men just aren’t prone to taking that great of care of their face. I’m always trying to improve on that, and there’s a lot of rad things for us men. I would say the guard is changing and more of us are trying to take care of the skin on our face, at least in like in my culture.”

“I’m always in a pair of Nike Dunks, High Top Jordans, or a SB Dunk. That’s my favorite shoe. In the gym, I’ll wear a different shoe, but when I travel or skate, I always like to wear the dunks.”

“Music is always involved for me. I’ll always listen to it in practice and figure out my line, but sometimes in a contest run I’ll be like, ‘Should I have my headphones in?’ This year, I’ve been really into riding with music. Hip hop is the go-to for me there, it gets me the most amped.”

San Diego Padres Brown Fitted Hat

“I’m a big hat guy. I like more of a sporty, curved beak hat. My neighbor is the GM of the San Diego Padres so I go to a lot of games now. I have a real MLB hat, and I really like the fit on that.”

“I have a bunch of nice suits. I had the pleasure of being nominated for 4 ESPYs in my career. I’ve won one, and it was always fun getting dressed up and working with a stylist for that. Nowadays, I’m in those more flexible suits that are cozy for summer weddings when it’s really hot. I got this really rad one recently, I think it’s Armani. I just like dressing up dapper.”

Black Orchid Eau de Parfum

“Tom Ford Black Orchid, all day, baby.”

“I’m going anywhere snowboard related, this is it. I just have the classic Burton, the biggest rectangle bag they make. Their bags are so sick, you see them everywhere. Lifetime warranty, they’re dope.”

“After the first Olympics I got a really nice Rolex. I actually have two now, and I never thought I’d be that guy. It’s just like having any nice shoe.”

Sean Abrams is the Senior Editor, Growth and Engagement at Men’s Health.

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