If you are familiar with high-end snow flicks like 91 Words for Snow and the Pirates movies then you will know subject of this month’s Thirteen4Luck, Slovenian hammer-banger Marko Grilc. Marko earned his rights to fly the with Custom X crew for his faultless bag of tricks and dedication to the shred; his talents even earned him the distinguished accolade of “the new favourite rider” of Parker and Crawford after riding with them in December. So here’s introducing Marko Grilc…
Photos: Matt Georges
Interview: Danny Burrows
Was it hard breaking into the international scene coming from Slovenia?
I think it was hard being the first guy, always having to travel by myself, and being very young at that point didn’t help. But it had a good side too; I think people appreciated it more when they saw I was just a kid from Slovenia, where they didn’t even know that snowboarding existed.
Is the Slovenian shred scene in good health these days? And whom should we be watching out for?
I am so stoked it went from being a FIS scene and became a scene of so many young kids with super sick style and good overall skills. I am super stoked on Tim Kevin, who is only 12 but rips hard. I have no doubt that he will be the next snowboarding superstar.
What was your closest near death experience while riding?
I was in AK 3 years ago and it was super unstable and just gnarly. 3 people got buried in the week we were there and one of us almost died every day we went in the heli. I was so happy to come home in one piece. The craziest one was when, one hundred meters from us, a huge part of the glacier broke away. It was the size of 10 houses and almost covered our filmer and guide. I was also in a pathway of an avalanche back home that buried my friend. I got him out in less than a minute. That was also my happiest experience.
You are part of the Custom X crew in Burton with Kazu and Freddie; what was your input into the Custom X?
I was really stoked to be getting a board that I could design and work on; it was always my dream when growing up. We have been working on how it should look for 3 years. I always get to pick the colours for the 58, since I am the only one shredding it. The EST system we got this year gives a nice softness to the board so I think it is perfect now.
Do professional snowboarders have an age limit or is this down to a brand’s marketing department?
I think that young riders are more adept at progression but they don’t have the experience you need to get the job done. In contests you just have a park jump and you just need to go for it. But when filming and getting photos, it is not that easy. So I think that is why you can still be shredding for a while on a professional level.
In the movie December you rolled out a faultless bag of tricks after which Parker and Crawford hailed you as their new favourite snowboarder. Who is your favourite snowboarder?
That was such a good time; to have legends like those guys come and shred my home mountain. I think snowboarding is focussing a lot of attention on competitions now. It has to do with the bad seasons we had. There are contest riders like Torstein Horgmo that blow my mind on jumps. But then there are people like David Benedek pushing new tricks and Gigi and Nicolas Müller who are pushing style and creativity. Then there are buddies like Chris Sörman and Sani Alibabic that always impress me with their tricks and style.
You have been involved in quite a few movies now, including December, Pirates and 91 Words For Snow. Which was your favourite part out of all, and is there a trick in a flick that you think is your best?
I am most stoked on the time with 91 Words and Pirates. I had the most fun shredding with my buddies and going to new places. I think the frontside 10 into powder was for sure my best trick, but the new part in Overseas is my best part so far.
You have travelled all over the world with your boardbag. Where is your favourite place to ride?
I still think Arlberg is my favourite place to shred and film, but for sure my home mountain, Vogel, brings a big smile to my face.
What was the sketchiest trip you’ve ever been on?
I still think that the Onboard trip we did to Russia was the sketchiest one. Just to be in Russia close to Chechnya, when the war was going on, and to be walking the streets with Danny in the night was life threatening. The lifts and the mountains didn’t really make me feel safe either. But at the same time it was also the best adventure I have had so far and a lot of fun as well.
How did you feel about your efforts with Standard ending up on the cutting room floor?
Hmm, I really don’t like to speak about that period of my life…
What have you got lined up for this coming season for contests, filming and trips?
I am definitely going to do a few more contests than last year; they’re fun to ride and hang out at. And I’ll film with the Pirates and maybe do some trips with other crews. I want to do some road trips to unusual places to make it more of an experience and I would be stoked to spend some more time shredding the bumps at my local mountain as well.
Would you describe yourself as a competitive rider? I mean in competitions but also when you are just sliding with friends?
I used to be a really competitive person, but now that I got a bit older I don’t need to prove that I am better than everybody. I prefer to challenge myself these days.
You are out riding with your best buddy: would you rather sled or hike?
For sure hike. I think sledding is such a mission; it is a lot of fun and very convenient, but to get that thing up to the spot you want to go is way too much work. Hiking is also more healthy and more environmentally friendly.