Snowboarding has reached a point in its progression where it’s becoming increasingly harder to achieve a first. As Mark McMorris explains, there’s only so many flips and rotations you can throw unless the jumps get bigger. Plus, at this point in his career, his accolades already stack up: the first to land a backside triple cork 1440, two Olympic medals, and 15 X-Games medals. How do you break boundaries when you’ve set the standard so high?
For him, it’s easiest to innovate through more playful tricks, which is why he sought out the help of world-class park builder Charles Beckinsale in Corvatsch, Switzerland. To help with the feat, his brother Craig McMorris and up-and-coming rider Judd Henkes joined Mark in the Swiss Alps.
Uprails have become a recent trend, which served as the foundation for McMorris’ latest endeavor: a front board backside double cork 1170 out of a rail. Simply by integrating a rail, it expanded the realm of what was possible. It was 2012 when McMorris last achieved a first, but for him, it’s just exciting to continue pushing the sport even farther. We caught up with Corey Adams, the director of the short edit, Yet Another First From Snowboarder Mark McMorris, to learn more about the project.
You’re more well known for your work in the skateboarding realm, with your short film Macho Tail Drop, when did you start filming snowboarding?
CA: When I landed in Switzerland for this shoot. [Laughs]
I don’t specifically film action sports, I’m just a filmmaker overall. I’m usually making short films, music videos, and commercials. I knew both Mark and Craig personally from a few other projects, and then this thing came up and their producer couldn’t do it. They thought it would be interesting to send someone without a snowboarding background to craft something a bit different. Literally, I got a phone call on Thursday about the project and then Monday morning I was on a plane going to Switzerland.
How was Mark’s demeanor going into the project?
CA: He was a little bit elusive when we first got there, because we were trying to film something that’s never been done. When we tried to ask him about it in the beginning, he wouldn’t say much. He didn’t want to jinx himself. He kept pretty low key about it.
It looks like he took a few slams trying to land it, how long did it actually take?
CA: It didn’t take him that many tries, I think 15 or so? He was battling with it though, he took some hard crashes. There were a couple points in which I thought he would be done after crashing, but he’d get back up and keep trying.
It sounds like there was this open collaboration between Mark McMorris and Charles Beckinsale?
CA: All Mark told him was that he wanted a rail and a hip, and aside from that he let Charles do what he does. They all talk so highly of him, as far as building park. Mark had a lot of trust in his work going into it and let him fill in the blanks. The whole park crew was super cool, they let us have at it and stay late. Charles was also watching what was happening and making adjustments based off of that.
On day two Mark tried it a few times and kept overshooting the landing, so that evening Charles worked throughout the night fixing the rail. Charles played just as much as a part of [the trick] as Mark did. You don’t think that a guy who’s building a jump is actually one of the most important factors to an athletes success until you watch someone like Charles in action.
Sounds like you guys had a great crew with Mark and Judd Henkes?
CA: Judd was great, he brought a lot of energy for being a younger kid amongst the older riders. He held his own, and I don’t think Mark and him had sessioned like that before. It was good for them to get together and just ride. Obviously Craig and Mark were feeding off of each other. When Mark was trying the trick Craig was trying do the Benihana off the rail as well. They both were challenging each other which helped push each other further.
That’s what's cool about the piece, it’s about more than just the trick.
CA: Yeah they were ripping so hard that we thought it would be cool to also showcase the good time that they were having. One thing Mark talked about that didn’t make the final cut is that when you’re trying to progress as a rider you can’t solely focus on trying to land the trick. It makes the experience more daunting. Whereas if you go and have a session with your friends it creates an atmosphere for progression to happen. Things just naturally go further and further. Plus everyone came together to help Mark which was one of the coolest aspects.