Dedicated is the page in which we give some airtime to the folks who work unseen and unsung behind the scenes of snowboarding: the hardworking proletariats without whom the sport would surely flounder. This issue’s unsung hero is Nitro Snowboard’s own Mark Welsh.
Straight out of Lansing, Michigan, the multi-talented/tasking 31-year-old first got on a snowboard a staggering 18 years ago. The short version of how he got to work at Nitro Snowboards goes something like this: “It just kinda happened. Some things in life are just supposed to happen, and working for Nitro is one of those things.” Yeah right. Since we reckoned that this was perhaps a tad too humble and lacking the truth about the skills and hard work needed to land a position at Nitro, we had to ask for the longer version.
After scoring a job at High Cascade Snowboard Camp at the notorious resort of Mt Hood, Oregon, Mark took the decision to move out to Salt Lake City after finishing his degrees in Japanese and photography at college. Whether or not he ‘moved in with’, or just crashed the party, the story doesn’t say, but his roommates in Salt Lake were Brandon Ruff, Tonino Copene and Tim Ostler, all of whom were/are kick-ass riders. A few seasons later (most of them spent in Salt Lake City but also one in Japan shaping pipes and working for Aqua Planet Snow Parks and High Cascade Japan, as well as getting his Japanese up to speed), Mark took a job at Milosport in Salt Lake. One month later he’d jumped ship to work for Chorus Snowboards and also as a freelance photographer.
After 3 years with Chorus, the owner closed down the company and Mark moved to San Francisco and started working freelance for Nitro Snowboards. After about six months, Sepp Ardelt, founder of Nitro, asked him to come on full time and the rest is, as they say, history.
Nowadays, with over 10 years working in the industry, Mark has managed to accumulate three different job titles at Nitro headquarters in Seattle, Washington. His business card reads ‘art director, softgoods designer and director of photography’. Although this is perhaps not something that could fit in to your normal 9 to 5 working day, putting in some extra hours has its advantages. “I get to work hard and play hard with my friends Mike Dawson, Tonino Copene and a bunch of other great people.” When finally asked about the pros and cons of his job, Mark manages to describe both the ups and the downs of his occupation in just one word: “Travelling”.