He won bronze at his Olympic debut in 2012, suffered a nearly fatal snowboarding accident in 2017, and then beat all the odds by taking home a men’s slopestyle bronze medal at PyeongChang 2018.
But there is more than “just” snowboarding to Mark McMorris. We had the opportunity to catch up with McMorris to discuss his recent ventures in surfing, golfing, filmmaking (!), and the exciting things coming up for this Canadian treasure.
McMorris is 100% #Careergoals
At only age 24, two time Olympian Mark McMorris has thrown the first pitch at a Blue Jays game, acted as the Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal, and played in the RBC Canadian Open Pro AM. But his most recent accomplishment? Screening his documentary, Unbroken: The Snowboard Life of Mark McMorris at the Toronto International Film Festival. The “first-time TIFFer”, as he put it, partnered with RBC to host the screening of his documentary and held down the fort at RBC House, an experience not many professional athletes have under their belt. “This is a definitely a good way to experience TIFF for the first time – to get some eyes on the documentary and partner with RBC to do some cool stuff”, said McMorris.
McMorris himself declares that snowboarding has opened doors for him that not even he could imagine, “I definitely have some weird epiphany’s here and there. I think about how me riding a snowboard down a mountain has brought me to these weird places – to TIFF, the Calgary Stampede, the RBC Canadian Open – or just doing the most bizarre things that you would never think snowboarding would get me to”.
Despite the fact that the career path to pro-snowboarding isn’t traditionally taught in schools, Mark knew he wanted to compete professionally from a young age. As Mark made his way to larger hills and more intense competitions his dream started taking shape. “I just wanted to be a pro snowboarder, I never really thought I would ever be one of the best guys, have a fan base like I do, or have the stories that I have. I feel very lucky for the life I lead,” he continued, “I definitely have to pinch myself sometimes”.
The Life of A Pro-Snowboarder Is Not Always Glamorous
The saying goes: “find what you love and let it kill you”. Mark McMorris took that phrase to new heights in 2017 when he almost lost his life during a snowboarding accident in the Whistler backcountry.The unexpected event changed the direction of his documentary from a chronicle of his path to the comeback story of a fighter. “It’s a pretty bizarre story,” said McMorris, “We’d been documenting my life for the last, I don’t know, eight years….but we had no clue the storyline would become this thick and crazy”.
Overcoming his accident and getting back to competing was at times a mind over matter struggle for McMorris. He recognized that everyone has to break through their own mental barriers to reach success and that his situation is not unique. He overcame moments of self-doubt in his recovery by leaning on friends and family in those dark times. His advice for those fearing failure while taking a “jump” in their career? “surrounded yourself with a good crew and just go for it”.
An RBC Olympian, the official premier party for the film took place at RBC House where Morris was in attendance alongside his parents Don and Cindy, brother Craig, fellow Olympians, and close friends. RBC House has been the place to be for film junkets, celebrity panels, star-studded parties and music performances during TIFF 2018. So what is next for this modern day renaissance man? McMorris is striving to become a role model while leaving a legacy through passion projects he’s involved in on and off-the-hill.