RED BULL UNCORKED @ GROUSE MOUNTAIN
Step one: grab pencils and start sketching out park features you’ve always wanted to session, but! Make sure they’ve never existed. Step two: break out of the contest grind to progress the important corners of snowboarding; style and creativity. Step three: have a time.
Mark McMorris and Seb Toutant are aware of their place within snowboarding. They’re at the top of their game, both have been credited with ‘firsts’ in the progressive trick department. And they know snowboarding isn’t all about sending your life or adding flips and 180’s. Snowboarding is about trading tricks with friends, looking at terrain differently, letting your imagination jump off.
Red Bull UNCORKED put the constant pursuit of linear progression on hold. It brought friends and family together to play on the mountain with zero pressure, no judges, for fun.
We spent a day with the crew to talk about what it is, where we’re at, and what it all means.
Mark McMorris, Sebastian Toutant, Mikey Ciccarelli, Tyler Nicholson, Craig McMorris, and Scotty James
Visit the full Red Bull UNCORKED site HERE
How’d this session come together? Did you and Seb have full control over the process?
When we sat down to talk about it Seb and I were like let's just make something really fun and take a week off from competing and just shred with each other, you know? We had a lot of say in the design. Wrote down as much of the design as we could and narrowed it down to four features that we would really like to see. A few tweaks here and there and I think we're going to have a pretty amazing week.
And the crew. I’m sure you could have called anyone to come ride this and they’d be on the next flight.
Yeah, we just wanted people that were gonna do dope stuff. Keep the session going. T-Dog (Tyler Nicholson). We got Yuki (Kadono) out here. Straight most progressive Stee-zee guy ever. It's gonna be fun to shred it with each other. Then Seb and my brother (Craig) always brings pretty great vibes to the table. It's gonna be awesome.
You must have a refreshing mindset coming off the competition scene and into a park like this.
Exactly. That's super refreshing to show up and see something that ... Yeah, I don't need to worry about like figuring out my hardest trick to do on that single feature you know. It's more just about riding it and the features themselves are the part that's hard and different, you know, versus like you trying to separate yourself from everybody. We can just ride it and do exactly what we want. If it's technical or not it doesn't matter. We have a lot of talent and features where no one is gonna die, you know? I think we’re going to see a lot of like fun snowboarding and it's gonna stoke people out.
You've been riding for Red Bull a long time now. What set them apart from your other sponsors? How do they go above and beyond to support you?
Well, one is their hospitality. They just bring everybody in and take care of us. It's so professionally ran. They listen to the athletes. If you have an idea and it's not ridiculously outlandish, they'll bring it to life. They’re just down to do cool stuff. They also support their athletes. They don't like to narrow down the crowd. Like, I can bring Tyler and Mikey (Ciccarelli) and all the people I really like to board with even though they're on different energy drink companies. They're just down to create the best atmosphere and get the best content.
Yeah, I'm just pretty much thankful for this week because I'm over going from contest to contest. But, just showing up here and my brother's here too. He's like my best pal, you know? I’m excited to see what we can do.
Here we are at Grouse Mountain, what is going on?
Red Bull put together some really creative features, some stuff that we’ve never hit before, and we’re here with some of the best riders. It's just about having a good time and trying to see what we can do creatively.
You and Mark drew up all these features, though?
Yeah. Me, Mark, Craig, we drew a couple different design for the jumps and rail features. To see some of the drawings put on snow, it's pretty awesome to see the result. It's really hard nowadays to come up with a feature that has never been done before, people are always trying to push that way nowadays. It's cool to see that there's still room for creativity and building new features after so many years of snowboarding.
Seeing these visions come to life must put you in a different headspace than showing up at a contest.
Yeah, definitely a different mindset than contests. I was really looking forward to this, just riding with the homies. Every day is going to be a different day and progression is going to happen, once you have good riders together having fun, it happens. Anything that we do on those features, it's something that has never been done.
Hell yeah. Is there a setup here that you're most hyped on?
Yeah, many. I'd say the down flat transfer to kink is super gnarly because the downside is super long.
You're up for the challenge, aren't you?
It is, yeah. It is a big challenge, but I think it's cool because it's something we've never really seen before, a down flat transfer to a kink.
What is it that makes Red Bull so important to your progression and to your visions?
These projects, instead of marketing an event, they market a project with the actual athletes. I feel it has such a bigger impact at the end of the day. They should keep doing it, it's fun. Every year we have an idea, and they're always up for something new.
MARCUS CARTWRIGHT, PARK OPERATIONS @ GROUSE MOUNTAIN
Did you work closely with Mark and Seb to create this park?
We modified it a bit to match our landscape up here and our slopes and we came up with this. The jump section is more what they wanted to do. We set up this upper zone. The rails with a chain on across the cap rail. We just tried to make it less of a slopestyle course and more of a street course, rather than your standard slope-style
Dope. Grouse has seen some heaty setups and sessions in the past, but this one must take the cake for you and your crew?
Yeah, this is definitely for that next calibre of riding for us. Usually, it’s just locals, but this is rad. This whole event is definitely next level for us.
Did you guys have any big challenges or hurdles to pull this off?
There’re always challenges. Being a part of the coastal mountains, you get diverse weather, but we're pretty used to it. Just another day in the park for us. We have good support from the mountain, and I have a great team.
With all the work that went into making UNCORKED a reality what’s the payoff?
This is why we ride right here, and to watch these guys. That's the payoff.
CBC's coverage of Red Bull UNCORKED