POV podcast transcript: Mark McMorris

The Saskatchewan Snowboarder enjoys a chill chat half way through his Beijing WInter Olympics. Player's Own Voice podcast host Anastasia Bucsis gets Mark rolling on music, gen z competition, Saskatchewan breweries, and staying healthy at 28.

Player's Own Voice podcast Feb 10th 2022

Player's Own Voice podcast transcript: 

Chilling in China  with Mark McMorris 

Feb 10 2022

Anastasia: Slopestyle snowboarding is a young person's game, so it's got to be pretty sweet for Mark McMorris, who just landed his third straight bronze medal. He's hit the Olympic podium every time since the sport debuted in 2014, a decade older than the competition. No problem. That's just 10 more years of trophies in the cabinet.

It's Player's Own Voice- I'm Anastasia Bucsis


It's my great pleasure to talk to a sasky boy.

Mark McMorris:    Well, hey, thank you. I like the intro of a sasky boy because I guess that's who I am, and that's great.

Anastasia: I'm from Calgary, so I got to admit I do cheer for the stamps, but my folks have a farm just outside of Dinsmore, Saskatchewan.

Mark McMorris:    Wow. Okay. Yeah, we were. I don't. I'm not too familiar with Dinsmore. We were more like around Lewvan, which is where our farm was. But I don't know.

Anastasia: Closer to Saskatoon

Mark McMorris:    You? OK. Yeah, we were much closer to Regina.

Anastasia: Have you gone fishing in Lake Diefenbaker?

Mark McMorris:    I haven't, but I know about it. That's somewhere I know. But I never went up there.

Anastasia: Every time I go to Saskatchewan, I've got to pick up Bohemian and Calgary beer. Because you can't get it in Alberta.

Mark McMorris:    Seems like an oxymoron. You have to go to Saskatchewan to get Calgary beer. But yeah, my brother drank that a lot in high school. I always thought it tasted pretty bad, but I liked the vibe of it.

Anastasia: That's what I've heard, though. People are like, You drink that? And I'm so proud.

Mark McMorris:    I think if it's got your hometown on it, I wish there is a Regina beer. We have beers that are made in Regina, but nothing is just called Regina. Well, someday, maybe, maybe our next idea?

Anastasia: That maybe your next business venture?

Mark McMorris:    Yeah.

Anastasia: your brother's got to be one of the nicest people I've ever met my entire life.

Mark McMorris:    That's good to hear. He's a pretty nice guy. Um, I don't get to see him so much anymore, but he's definitely got the gift of gab and it's been super fun, any snowboard event that I'm not in,  I'm definitely tuned in and listening to what he has to say. And then on top of that, rewatching anything I do compete in, just hearing what he has to say because he's always being so silly.

Anastasia: Do you guys talk about how he calls you or runs at all?

Mark McMorris:    No, I think he's very professional about it in that sense. Of course he's pulling for me, but he calls it like anyone else in the field. It's quite funny. I don't know if I'd be able to do that for him, but he really like snaps and two announcer mode, I think, and fully plays his role.

Anastasia: How competitive were the both of you growing up?

Mark McMorris:    Craig and I were extremely competitive. Anything, if it was just racing to the pantry to get Welch's or if it was playing mini sticks, bouncing on the trampoline, snowboarding, skateboarding, playing on the water in the summer, everything like if he would learn a trick. I couldn't go to sleep that night unless I learnt it and vice versa. We had a real give and take like we were pushing each other so much as young kids and literally we would be nowhere near where we're at without each other. Straight up,

Anastasia: you just won your third Olympic medal. How does that feel when you hear that?

Mark McMorris:    That's pretty insane. I mean, a lot of years go by in between the Olympics and to go to a third and have consistency in what they claim is a short-lived career sport, and a young man's sport, feels amazing. I've had crazy good longevity and I'm super proud of that. And yeah, it's definitely a good feeling. It's got a nice ring to it. Three time Olympic medallist Three Olympics, three medals. That's pretty cool.

Anastasia: What do you attribute the longevity of your career to?

Mark McMorris:    I think my love for snowboarding, my love to get better at it. I always talk about like, that's the most fun thing about snowboarding is progressing and getting better and doing it with your friends. And so many, so many things I love about snowboarding. But pushing myself and getting better at the craft is really what I love to do, and I also do love competing still. lt feels so good when you land, when it matters and you get a result and. I think it's just my my favourite thing to do. Competing on a big stage is so fun. Wow.

Anastasia: You do it well too my friend. Thank you. Do you ever feel like, Oh, I'm getting a little bit older? I mean, all through all the surgeries and ups and downs.

Mark McMorris:    Definitely had a lot of ups and downs in my career, but I think it's made me into who I am and the. Persona him and the snowboarder I am and has made me appreciate what I get to do for a living. Definitely. I think about. My age, but then as soon as I strap in, I feel so young and I work really hard at the physical aspect and the fact that I can even use my body as good as I can after those injuries and, I honestly, I'm feeling like a fine wine these days, I'm feeling great. I'm definitely feeling better than I was in 2017 seventeen, ridng better, taking care of my body way more. But I have to as I get older.

Anastasia: Do you ever think like, wow, though, these kids on Tik Tok like they're getting so young.  Gen Z!

Mark McMorris:    Gen Z is a scary place. No, I'm just kidding. Those kids are super on it and we actually were on the bus down from the mountains yesterday and we were having a serious laugh going through Tik Tok. There is some funny stuff on there right now. My girlfriend's brother, Mason Ho, his girlfriend, was like, Mark, you have to go look at your name on Tik Tok right now. It's the most savage thing ever. You should  look at it. It's really funny. There's a lot of like funny, funny memes and stuff. Um, kids are so creative on that platform. It's incredible and it's a neat platform, speaking of China.

Anastasia: yeah, yeah. Yeah, I don't even have it on my phone here, to be honest. 

Mark McMorris:  Really? Oh yeah,   Well, yeah, it's a wormhole. Be careful.

Anastasia: The bat, the board flip?  Was that  a little ode to Batista?

Mark McMorris:    Honestly, it crossed my mind after I did it, like before I saw any sort of memes as like, Oh. Well, that was not anything planned. I was just so thrilled. And I've never done that ever after a contest or on anything, I just flinged my board in there. I was just so stoked. Yeah. So but now that I think about it, it's pretty cool because that's a pretty special, crazy moment in Canadian sports history. And yeah, let's pay some homage to Joey B. That's cool. I was stoked that all those shares happened and like Blue Jays were all over it and loving it.

Those are kind of some neat moments that people love about sports. They love the result, but they love the other stuff too and the personality that comes along with the results. So I'm stoked that that that all worked out as well. Board is in great shape still, too.  I only have five more. Oh yeah, I only used one board the whole week it was doing it. I don't usually switch them out too much, but I like to keep them fresh. But. Anyway, go ahead:

Anastasia: When would you switch them out then?

Mark McMorris:    Not too often, but like sometimes certain rails or material can mke the base a little funky or depending on the material on the rail, it can chip the base a bit or, if you hit a rock riding down, depends on what venue you're at, where you are in the world. Sometimes you're riding pow (der snow)  and you nick something, whatever it may be. But I just like when I'm competing. I like to keep my board as fresh as possible, as snappy as possible, and the newer they are, the more like snap they have. And then when if speed's an issue, you don't want any blemishes in the base, you just want it to be a speed demon.

Anastasia: That's how I would keep my speed skates.

Mark McMorris:    Exactly. You got to take care of em! 

Anastasia: Fine polish. Yeah. Why do you think people love snowboarding so much at the Olympics?

Mark McMorris:    It's not so…. Not so square. It's fun, it's cool, it's youthful. And it's actually just spectacular to watch. And it's something people do on the weekends or during the week. Yeah. You know, I'm so happy that the Olympics have us because it's exciting and I think people really like those sports and like, it's just there's a lot to be respected in a lot of those older sports in the games and things like that. But I think people really do enjoy watching these new, more creative, youthful, fun sports. I don't know. That's what I think.

Anastasia: No, it's true. And even watching it on TV, you're like, Wow. But seeing it in person, it literally takes your breath away. What you can do with your body.

Mark McMorris:    Yeah, it's pretty incredible. The level it's came to. You know, snowboarding. Isn't that old, you know? 1977 is when Jake Burton started Burton, and he was one of the earliest people. I mean, people were standing on planks of wood and going down. But like since it was accepted into ski resorts and from just the start of the competition, how small the jumps were and rails were so foreign and like people would jib picnic tables and then half pipe sort of like four foot, six foot walls. And now that's a twenty two foot pipe. And the jumps at the smallest are like fifty five feet into the sweet spot and from 1998, the first half pipe event and then 2014, the first slopestyle event in the Games, it's just progressed so much and it's so neat to be a snowboarder as there's such a career to be made in it, not just by the Olympics.

It's like we have a full sport. Our sport was booming before it ever came into the Olympics, and it's just been a super fun thing to be a part of. And I think it's grown so much and people have grown to love it as well. You can do it on a super high level. You can appreciate watching it on a super high level and it can be fun to do on a super high level. But it's also really fun to do as a recreational participant, too.

Anastasia: That's the problem with speed skating. It's hard to enjoy it if you're out of shape.

Mark McMorris:    if you're out of shape, if you don't know how to freaking, crossover… do you crossover in speed skating?

Anastasia: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mark McMorris:    I feel like Canadians, so many people play hockey and all that, and everyone's grown up skating. It's pretty impressive, especially just for Canadians that know how to skate. How like, Pristine and perfect, the technique is and how powerful speed skaters are. I'm not saying I follow it too closely until I watch the games, but it's pretty bad ass.

Anastasia: Thanks. I mean, I'm totally out of shape, so I'm not.

Mark McMorris:    Do you skate anymore?

Anastasia: Sometimes, I mean, I'll play a game of shinny. I mean, you can do that and be huffing and puffing and have a beer and enjoy it, but speedskating oohyea..

Mark McMorris:  If you're doing it at a professional level, it's very, very hard. Yeah. Yeah. I can imagine.

Anastasia: I got to give you a little compliment,

Mark McMorris:  OK! 

Anastasia: You have some pretty nice edits on social and I love 99 percent of the music that you put them to.

Mark McMorris:  You do? Wow!

Anastasia: A few Mazzy Star songs…like, oh yeah, I yeah.

Mark McMorris:    Well, that's the thing. I appreciate that comment first and foremost. And then secondly. I try and play the field, I love a big, big array of music. I love hip hop. I love the classics. I love underground stuff. Small artists, whatever it may be. And yeah, sometimes post some stuff, some hard stuff to some aggressive hip hop. And that does well. But there's also people that don't like to hear that music. So you got to toss in other stuff. And it's not that I'm actually just doing it to, cater to that crowd or those people's music types. I just like a lot of different kinds of music, and I try and keep it fresh and keep switching it up and not just stick to one genre.

Anastasia: If you could go to one concert, that's like pretty rare to go. Where would you go?

Mark McMorris:    I'd like to see, like at one of our foundation events, Colter Wall played before he blew up, he's a friend, a good family friend of ours, and I would love to see him now that he's so big. Blue rodeo is sick. We saw Drake play in Oslo, Norway, which was super, super fun and cool.  Champagne popping. hit me with the fall out I was stoked on that.

Anastasia: Dear Lord, that blue checkmark.

Mark McMorris:  Dude that guy I love him. I love his music. He is such a goat these days that he's huge, man. Like, no, he's he's done some crazy things, live music and life. And then obviously, we'd love to see the Stones. My parents went when they came to Saskatchewan, and that was really cool. Um, that would be neat to see. Can I just say one thing? Are you watching this curler wearing P-Rod's shoe? Paul Rodriguez, the skater? He's curling in Paul Rodriguez's Nikes!

Anastasia: We're obviously in the IBC… and there's a million teevees.

Mark McMorris:    Yeah, but it's cool! Sports is on the mind.

Anastasia: It's all sports. 24-7. I haven't slept in like weeks. Your parents are beauties

Mark McMorris:    Thanks!

Anastasia: I remember your dad and mom, I think volunteering at Canada House

Mark McMorris:    correct.

Anastasia: Yeah. They are a big Team Canada family.

Mark McMorris:    They are.

Anastasia: What's the support look like from afar? Obviously, they can't be here?

Mark McMorris:    Support from afar. Is so felt not even that we need to like talk or see it, but I just know how much they love what I do and support me and want the best for me and, they don't try and ever call shots or they've never been soccer parents or hockey dad vibe, it's just always they don't know the sport like I do, so they don't try and control me, you know?

And they they know I love it. They know it's my passion. They know I have fun doing it and I just want the best for me and.  I posted on my story a pretty funny video that a friend set up his camera there just at the lake house. A friend of mine and a friend of my dad's, and my grandma. My mom, my dad and a couple of my friends and a couple of their friends watching and like none of them, know the cameras there and it's the funniest thing ever. It's actually quite heartwarming how much they're into it and how much they care. It's just like complete tension and stress to this the big eruption of stoke and happiness. So yeah, I feel it. It's all good. Sometimes it's stressful when they're at events like. Like someone coming to your workplace. It's hard to focus at times.

Anastasia: It's the worst to watch too. You feel like you can't do anything.

Mark McMorris:    You have no control of the outcome!  Even when I watch friends or other events, it is like, fffffah! You wish you could like, say something or help, but it's just what it is. I'm sure it's a little bit like that for you. At times you're just like, please land. But I can't control anything except just frickin cross everything in my body.


Anastasia: Thank you, buddy, for taking the time to be on the P.O.V. podcast.


Mark McMorris:    I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.


Anastasia: Have you ever thought of having a watermelon helmet?


Mark McMorris:    Maybe this summer? That reminds me. The riders coach reached out and I have to text him back and go to a game this summer and I'm going to get a watermelon helmet.

Anastasia: Don't tell me you're going with Ben Hebert.

Mark McMorris:    I thought he lives in Calgary now?

Anastasia: He does, but he'd make the trip.

Mark McMorris:    Oh yeah. Well, doesn't he have a podcast with the Calgary quarterback?

Anastasia:  Bo Levi Mitchell. Yeah.

Mark McMorris:  I did an episode with them. They're great guys. Yeah, yeah. Missing Benny here. He came to our foundation event and I got to get you out there. It's fun. I think you'd  love it.

Anastasia Softball tournament? Yeah, I'm down.

Mark McMorris:   I'm not sure what we're going to do this year, but it'll be fun.

Anastasia: I'm there. OK, thanks.

Mark McMorris:  Thank you.

Anastasia:  Peace.


Mark McMorris and I met inside the international broadcast centre here in Beijing.

Player's Own Voice podcast is a CBC Sports production.

We're available on CBC Listen and everywhere else you get your podcasts.

Social media #Player's own voice. My handle is Anastasure.

Editing is by Olivia Pasquarelli. Our music composer is Adam Blinov.

David Giddens is our producer.

More to come from the Winter Olympics. Thanks for listening.