In the last month alone, 17-year-old Mark McMorris has spent a single night sleeping at his parent’s home in Canada, and the rest of the time he’s been on the road competing in world class snowboard slope events and collecting podium finishes everywhere from the Dew Tour, to X Games and European TTR events. It’s only his first season competing on the Dew Tour and he’s ranked second overall with a shot at the Dew Cup heading into next week’s Toyota Championships in Snowbasin. Alli caught up with the Burton and Red Bull rider to get his thoughts on the Dew Tour and to spend a few minutes in the mind of snowboarding’s next big thing.
You’ve been collecting podiums all season, including at both stops of the Dew Tour. What are your thoughts on your first season on Tour?
It’s really cool. Just to do good in the States is really big for me. Last year I podiumed quite a bit, but everything was in Europe or Canada. Now I did good at the first two Dew Tour stops, and then got podium at X Games and fourth in the Big Air. It’s been really cool. I just want to win something now. I’m still pretty young and learning so hopefully I can put it together at Air and Style. It should be fun.
Have you noticed any difference with the exposure your getting on the Dew Tour?
Yeah, for sure. This year I have a totally new line of sponsors and that’s really helped me out with them just pushing me, and doing different events than I was doing last year. They’re all really pumped. Dew Tour exposure in the States is really important and big for my name for sure. I think a lot of people are getting to know my name from the Dew Tour and that’s pretty cool.
You’re in second overall behind Torstein Horgmo and if he falters, the Dew Cup could be yours. What do you think about potentially winning the Cup in snowboard slopestyle?
I would really like to win the Dew Cup. It’s something in the back of my mind. It’s going to be really hard to beat Torstein if he keeps riding the way he is. I think he needs to get sixth or under and I need to win. I’m going to try not to worry about the Dew Cup and just try and win in Snowbasin and ride the best I can. It would be nice to win the next Dew Tour stop, but second overall or first overall would be cool to me.
You’ve done a lot of TTR and other European events in the past, and now the Dew Tour this year. What do you think of the Dew Tour courses?
I like the Dew Tour courses a lot better. I like how Gunny and his crew do stuff with SPT. They always make a fun course for us and I’m pretty excited to see how only two jumps work at Snowbasin. But I’m sure if the two jumps are really good, then the riding level is going to be good. It doesn’t really matter what they give us though, with the riding level now it’s always going to be crazy.
You’re only 17, same as Sage Kotsenburg, and guys you compete against Chas Guldemond on the Dew Tour, who’s basically a snowboard veteran at 23 years old. What do you think of how far the sport has come just between generations?
For the older guys, when they were growing up they didn’t always have the best snow parks or rails or pipe, and when we grew up it was totally different. Well, not necessarily for me because I’m from Saskatchewan and my home resort only has like three boxes on it. But we used to take family trips to the mountains and when I was growing up the parks were a lot better and bigger than say when Chas was growing up. We’ve had it a little easier and that’s why we’re active at such a young age because we could see what they were doing and basically watch videos of them and say, ‘Ok, now I’ve learned all the tricks they can do.’ That’s what happened, and it’s pretty cool.
Are you going to school still?
I was going in the Spring and Fall, but this is my job and now I have the opportunity to make a lot of money. Maybe some older people don’t understand because they think you need to go to school when you’re young. But that’s not necessarily the case when you have an extremely high paying job when you’re this young, you know.
What do you think about the triple cork that Torstein just pulled at the X Games? Is that something you want to do?
Yeah, maybe I’ll do a triple cork sometime, maybe in the Spring. It all depends on the jump. But I don’t see the sport going that way for the next few years. I don’t think it needs to come to that yet. The jumps just aren’t safe enough or big enough. Personally I didn’t think it was a sure thing and I know Torstein didn’t either, but it was good for his name and his image, and I’m pumped for him. That was pretty crazy that he did that.
You’re off to Innsbruck for the Air and Style comp and then it’s straight to the Dew Tour finals in Snowbasin. Are you going to do anything special to prepare?
No. Some people go to Breckenridge to prepare and train, but I just keep doing contests and keep working on my tricks and try to land new stuff and just go into Snowbasin like it’s another contest. I don’t want to take it any different.
What are your plans after the Toyota Championships in Snowbasin?
I’m going straight to Arctic Challenge after Snowbasin. It’s going to be crazy for the next two months!
Check out the video highlights of Mark in the Finals Recaps from the first two stops of the Winter Dew Tour