Back from the Break, Mark McMorris’s Femur Feels Strong

McMorris talks snowboard rehab and the music that gets him stoked.

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After snapping his femur during a "freak accident" on the bumpy landing of the LA Air & Style last February, Mark McMorris is back to full strength less than a year later and throwing triple corks like it never happened. But before the new season truly starts, he must first manage an incredibly busy preseason.

Upon his return to the States from a quick, corked out trip to The Stomping Grounds private park session in Saas Fee, Switzerland he is clearly back 100 percent and before he grabbed third at the World Cup big air in Milan, Italy, McMorris made time for a two-part question and answer session sandwiched around a physical training session.

Telling all about his broken femur recovery, plans for his return to competition, and his video game project that is sure to stoke out the masses, McMorris breaks it all down for Dew Tour.

(Mark McMorris landed a third place podium at Big Air in Milan this weekend by stomping a backside triple 1440)

How's the recovery been going since Air & Style? What happened and what have you been doing while on the mend?
I broke my femur at Air & Style in L.A. It was a freak accident, but the builders did a shitty job maintaining the jump. There were bumps all over the landing. I got bucked by a bump, caught my edge and snapped my femur randomly. You know, you don't think you could break your femur like that, but it happened. It really sucked. I lived in Vancouver for five months and rehabilitated there. It seemed to get a lot better because I was working with a really good trainer at a really good facility that had underwater treadmills and stuff. It helped me learn how to walk and run again. I'd go there for like four hours, six days a week because I was super bummed to be hurt and not have any hobbies that didn't involve using my body—it sucked. But now I'm back doing what I love, and happier than ever.

In a way, I think it was probably good for me. Since I started having success in snowboarding, I haven’t had two or three months off since I was 15. I'm 22 now, so it's been a pretty fast seven years. It also felt good to overcome it, and then not just return to snowboarding but to return at the level I left at. I don't think about my leg, I feel super strong. My passion for snowboarding is at it's all time high. I feel like I'm like 12 again when I snowboard. It's really, really fun.

Has skateboarding played any kid of role in your recovery?
For sure, it did. I was skating for transportation pretty early after the injury, keeping it on the ground. I was in the gym and I was like "holy shit I could actually probably do some ollies, and skate a bit." And then yeah, when I was home actually I started skating again. It was crazy at the start of the session, thinking, maybe, I could do anything. Then, by the end, I could really almost do anything. I just needed to trust my leg, you know? The bone is healed, just a little weak in the muscle. It's a pretty big muscle group around the femur, but it started to come back. I worked my ass off until August to make sure I could go snowboarding. That made me enjoy it so much more.

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Ripping his way down the course during slopestyle Semifinals at Breckenridge 2015. Photo: Kanights

I was stoked to see your clips in Switzerland. It definitely looked like you're back to business as usual.
Yeah, it was crazy. I was able to do all the tricks I was doing before. Everything felt the same on the take offs, in the landings, and through the air.

That's awesome. Will Dew Tour be your first event since the break or is there anything before that?
I'm going to compete quite a bit before Dew Tour. I'm going back to Europe [November] fifth, Big Air in Milan, for sure doing Air & Style in Beijing, the test event in Korea for the Olympics Big Air contest… then Dew Tour.

“MY PASSION FOR SNOWBOARDING IS AT IT'S ALL TIME HIGH. I FEEL LIKE I'M LIKE 12 AGAIN.”

Tell me about Infinite Air, the video game you have in the works.
I got hit up by my agent who was like "I have this really rad gaming company out of Canada that wants to do a physics based snowboard game with you." They made some amazing golf games. It was kind of a no-brainer, but at the same time I was a little worried because after [EA] SKATE came out that changed action sports games—if it isn't SKATE then it ain't shit, so to speak. Right? So that was my biggest thing—I'm gonna do it, but you guys need to agree to make it a lot like SKATE if we want it to succeed. It needs to be like that.

For me, that was a huge thing and they were on board. I was like, "frick yeah, let's do this thing. If you guys want to make it the way I would really like to see it, then I'm in." It's been going on for two years now. It's about to come out and I'm really proud of what these guys have been able to do and create.

They love snowboarding, but it's a lot of back and forth. Like, "that's not cool" or "that is cool" or "you can't grab there" or "you don't want to be straight-legged here." So many little things. So many details that are so technical for those guys to change. They're so smart. People that build video games are the smartest humans on the face of the Earth. It's amazing what they can create, and the graphics ,how digital Danny Davis really looks like Danny Davis. I never thought we were going to be able to make everything this rad.

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Eyeing up his run during Slopestyle finals at Dew Tour Breckenridge 2015. Photo: Baldwin

I noticed on Instagram you posted a Charles Bradley album, and at the ESPYs you posted with Chance the Rapper. What kind of music are you listening to these days?
I've been listening to the new Travis Scott, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight—I really like that album. There's also a couple songs not on that album I really like. Chance the Rapper's new album, well, it's not too new anymore, but I really love that one and listen to it a ton. Some of Tori Lane's new album, I really like. I listen to a shit ton of hip-hop.

During my rehab, I remember, I listened to Bryson Tiller's mix tape a lot. I listened to a lot of blue grass, too. Like, I listened to Trampled by Turtles, and Jack Johnson a lot. I'm hoping he comes out with some new stuff soon.

I'm either incredibly mellow or hip-hop. I like old hip-hop, and I like new hip-hop, I like crazy hip-hop, I like more enunciated hip-hop. I've always been a huge Drake fan because I like how he can enunciate everything, and how you can really make out what he's saying. I wasn't as stoked on his last album as I have been with others, but his music is definitely a lot of people's motivation, including mine.

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Photo: Blotto

For competition, does it make a huge difference when you have the option to select the song for your run?
Yeah, for sure. I definitely will keep the song that I really want ready for right before I drop in, and listen to it in my chest pocket. A lot of times-before I discovered that my Skullcandy Airraid speaker fits perfect in my chest pocket-I would have headphones in and listen, listen, listen, listen, listen until they were like, "alright Mark, you gotta go" and then take them out so I could hear everything.

Catch Mark McMorris throwing down in both the Dew Tour Pro Competition two-part slopestyle and the new Team Challenge, December 8–11 in Breckenridge, Colorado.