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Interview with Marko Grilc

By Giacomo Margutti

Powered by Burton

We interviewed Marko Grilc, also known as Grilo, a snowboarder who dedicates most of his life to his family, but also part of the Burton team. 

Do you remember the picture we used to advertise this live? What snowboard did you have in that picture?

That is a one hitter 156, it’s a Family Tree. Really good board, really good for carving, fast and snappy, good on the edge. It has a cool shape, I rode it quite a bit. I like the Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero too. Somehow I prefer it. It’s quicker. In general, I like to choose a couple different boards to go ride.

 

So the Family Tree boards are not just for powder? They are for much more?

Absolutely. I ride jumps and parks with them. I have a Hometown Hero 160 that I mostly ride on. This year they have a 56 wide, and between these two boards you can basically ride anything. I could do a full season and ride whatever comes my way on those boards.

 

What would be an entry level setup for all mountains for beginners or intermediate? 

It’s tough to say. I always ask people what do they ride the most or what kind of riding they see. If it’s a young kid starting to learn, he spends a little time in the park and then a bit in the mountain too, so maybe the Process or the Custom, like something that one can ride anywhere, that also goes on the powder. For someone like me, maybe an older guy that doesn’t go to the park so often, I would suggest something from the Family Tree. The best thing to do is to go to a shop where they sell good boards, and have a conversation with the people working there because it is. very different from person to person. Some people like split boarding, so they have a hometown hero split. It really depends on what you are into.

 

What do you think snowboarding is going to look like next season?

I think and I hope that it will be normal. Hopefully there won’t be another wave and resorts will be running smoothly. Right now I noticed that there’s a lot of panic. But with time things are going back to normal so hopefully it doesn’t happen again and we move on with our lives. In snowboarding, as well as other sports, people have so much passion, so we are ready to go travel as soon as the borders are open. I am not gonna hold back, I am ready to go ride. It is good to have something like that that keeps you positive and motivated. 

 

What is your all time favourite place to snowboard?

Absolut Park, for sure. We live less than two hours from there. In our area it was one of the first parks where I started riding and now it grew up to be one of the best spots to ride in Europe. I have been riding there my whole life. I got connected to it because of where I live, the friends I have there… I basically love it. The funny thing now is that the kids are into it too, because we go there very often, and now I ask to Max, my son, “where is your favourite place to ride?” and he would be like “Absolut Park!”. It’s pretty awesome to see that the hype is being passed on.

Any tips on how to teach toddlers to shred?

I don’t know. I get asked that a lot. The most important thing is that your kid is having fun, enjoying snowboarding, enjoying being in the mountains. It has to be something that you are not trying to force too much on him/her. You just go day by day. With Max, I would learn as I would do. With time I figured, for example, that the backpack with the leash helps a lot. Emma picked it up faster. I personally let them do whatever they want, that is why they ride a little different. It didn’t make sense to me to force them to learn how to do turn. I thought that they would pick that up themselves anyway. They don’t listen anyways, so I don’t try too much. They are always in environment where adults tell them what they have to do like school or home, but snowboarding is something where you can do whatever you want. You need to be safe of course, you can’t jump off the chairlift, but when it comes to riding, do it however you want. It’s good to have this freedom. They enjoy it, they love snowboarding and that for me is all that matters.

 

What is your recommendation for a first time split board?

First of all, it’s always a good idea to rent one to try it and figure out if it is something that you are into. Now everyone is into that. You either really enjoy it or not at all. Then you gotta figure out the size you ride, what is available and what not. Personally, I think that the hometown hero 158 is a sick board. You can ride it in deep powder, it handles speed good but at the same time is light. I recommended it to everyone and from this year they are also doing it in al sizes, from woman to man and everything in between.

 

How do you balance work and family?

Now it’s not so hard anymore. But at the beginning, when I had to travel a lot without them, at some point I figured out what’s really important to me is that i am close to my kids, my family and my partner. When we are together I am also more motivated, I have more energy. You need to find a way to combine what is really important to you. With my whole family on the road I am more focused. Everybody needs to find their own balance, figure out what is most important to them and get rid of the things that are not. It’s not always easy, especially when the kids were little, but I love it.

 

When did you start snowboarding and when was the time you knew you were going to be a professional?

I started when I was 8, out of skating. Back then I saw the first snowboard. I was 14 when I got my first sponsor. It all went down pretty quick for me. Now I have been with Burton for 23 years, for a long time. I didn’t think too much about it, I was just a kid. Everything just happened somehow. I think I really started to appreciate what this all is in the lat 10 years, because back then I was just so focused that I didn’t even know that was not a normal life, doing all those rad things. At some point I had this epiphany about how cool my life was. When you love something so much, as I love snowboarding, and realising that can become your job. It never felt like work because I am so passionate about it and I can do it 20h a day. It’s always a good time. 

 

What do you love the most about split boarding?

The quietness. When you ride at resorts it’s so chaotic with all that noise and the people. So much action. A totally different vibe from split boarding. Sometime I go by myself and I can really calm down, get connect with the nature and then you shred pow. Every line is a first track. It’s a good workout on the way up too. But overall I think I like it the most because of the quietness. 

 

What do you think about step bindings?

They are really good. I’ve been testing them first time 5 years ago. Back then I thought they were pretty sick, but after being 20 years on my normal binding I did not see a good reason to change it around. But a couple of years later I was at home and I had them laying around. Max and I went up riding and I had to strap him in and out every time he would get stuck on a flat part and so on. So i just took them thinking they might help. It was really a lifesaver for that. After that I started to ride it more and more, and now I am on it fifty percent of the time. It’s awesome. It performs really well, you can do big jumps with it, you can ride powder… Nina, my wife, loves it. She would never go back to a normal binding. I take the normal bindings sometime because I like the look of it. 

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