Road To The Olympic Games

Snowboard

Mark McMorris 'In Motion' movie 1 more step in Olympic journey

Canadian snowboarder talks about pressing pause on the competition circuit to gain more respect in the sport, and a new drive on the road to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

'Filming really lit a fire under my butt to do really well at everything'

Snowboarder Mark McMorris travelled around the world to film his new movie, 'In Motion,' including the Blackcomb Terrain Park in Whistler, B.C. (Scott Serfas/Red Bull/Canadian Press)

It says something about Mark McMorris's rise to snowboarding greatness that at 21 he has already taken time off the contest circuit to get back to his roots.

He seems already to have mastered that circuit, with multiple gold medals at the X Games, Dew Tour and Burton U.S. Open. In 2014, he won bronze at the Sochi Winter Olympics — just two weeks after breaking a rib in competition. 

Then he pressed pause, and made a movie.

"I felt it was really important for me as a snowboarder to get back to the roots," McMorris told CBC Sports on Thursday, a day before that movie,In Motion, debuts in Toronto. "That's what [snowboarding] originated from, is riding backcountry and fresh tracks and stuff like that.

"I just wanted to gain that knowledge and respect, too."



In Motion, a title chosen with the help of McMorris's social media followers, takes him far away from carefully sculpted competition hills deep into the backcountry, to mountains accessible by helicopter only.

"I've taken it so far, to a level where it's like Olympics and television shows and all this stuff," he said. "I can ride the backcountry. I just haven't had many chances."




Locations in Colorado, Austria and Japan helped McMorris try to break the mould on his old set of tricks. The time away from the contest circuit gave him new perspective and some new material for the upcoming competition season.

"I think this year, filming really lit a fire under my butt to do really well at everything," he said. "But I was so motivated because I wasn't going contest to contest, and getting in ruts and doing the same things and getting so over it.

"I also found myself doing new runs I hadn't done because I was exploring new tricks. Just getting motivated from different areas, it definitely helped with my competing."



Despite getting to live the dream of any snowboarder, McMorris isn't distracted from his goals. Now that the film is done, he plans to focus more on competition this year to get ready for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

"I think the cool thing about competition is riding well when it matters," said McMorris. "Doing your best when it really really counts.

"I love standing on top of the podium. It's the best feeling in the world."

When asked if he thinks creating In Motion will have given him an edge in competition, the admittedly superstitious 
McMorris wouldn't go that far.

"Yeah, you could say that if you want," he said. "I don't know if I'm going to say it though."

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