Marko Grilc has been pro for over 10 years and although it might not look like it, being a pro snowboarder is a tough job. It’s even harder to ride at a consistently high level, whilst keeping the same long-term sponsors. Grilo is not only a talented rider but an intelligent guy and he has successfully made the rare transition from contest rider to filming his own TV shows ‘The Grilosodes’, which have become one of the most popular snowboard shows to date. We caught up with Marko to discuss 91 Words For Snow, broken backs, becoming a father and much more – by Tom Kingsnorth
You are one of the only pros to ever make it out of Slovenia. How was it learning to ride there?
It was such a different time to now – we didn’t have any parks or anything and snowboarding was not allowed in all the resorts. It was even hard to find boards to ride.
Do you think coming from a country with a smaller market such as Slovenia can make it harder for a rider to turn pro?
For sure, especially back in the day when there was no Internet. Today it’s so much easier for riders to get noticed than it was. Back then, it was all about your local market and I felt it was harder for me to break through, but I appreciated more once it happened.
Your involvement in David Benedek’s movie 91 Words For Snow really put you on the map, would you say that was the moment your career took off? How did life change after that?
I would say that 91 Words was maybe the movie that got me a lot of attention in the US and in the same year also the movie December came out, those two really kicked things off.
You’ve been pro for a long time, what is the key to your success?
Haha, I think that working hard and I always give it all I can. I am trying to always do as much as I can both on and off the hill.
You broke your back last season, was that your first major injury and how has the rehab process been?
No I dislocated my hip eight years ago and both times I slammed so hard that something had to happen. I try to be in good shape so that I don’t get hurt but sometimes we bail so hard that there is nothing we can do. The rehab is an insane time for any athlete. But I am glad I stayed focused and committed through it.
Now you have two children, how keen are you for them to follow in your footsteps and become pro?
I just want them to shred and enjoy the mountains and I would love if they were as passionate about anything as I am about snowboarding.
Do your kids have a similar riding style to you? Can you see a bit of yourself in them when they ride?
Hahaha, I feel the craziness I had, but I don’t think we have the same style, although they do they both look very solid on their boards.
How hard is it to juggle a full time pro career and having children?
Pffff it is insane, but thank god that I live close to the mountains, so I can do short trips through out the winter. So I can see them as much as I can
What would you say if your greatest achievement in snowboarding to date?
Not a personal achievement, but I think snowboarding itself and people like Jake Burton who fought the fight at the beginning to make snowboarding happen is a huge achievement. Millions and millions get up from the couch and go ride and get stoked and healthy at the same time thanks to him and snowboarding.
Do you have any plans to work in the snowboarding industry when you eventually retire?
Maybe yeah, I am so hyped on snowboarding that I doubt that I could be involved in many other things.