Freeski Slopestyle Freestyle Canada

Mark Hendrickson

Tell us about you! How did you get into sport? Where are you from? What is your story?
From a young age I love everything to do with sports. Any time the option to be active was presented I would jump right into whatever the activity. My family always had a passion for skiing, and would spend time vacationing around western Canada in our RV hitting as many ski resorts as we could. Naturally I developed a passion for going fast and jumping off anything and everything, enough for my family to start our own freestyle ski club called the Calgary freeriderz. We spent every weekend riding Lake Louise and most weeknights at Canada Olympic Park. Those days were so simple, skiing with our best friends and pushing each other to become better. For years we enjoyed the luxury of skiing and all the fulfillment it brought, with no thought of what would come next. At the age of 15 I was offered a spot on the Canadian Slopestyle team, and was honoured to be a part of the program in such a new and developing sport. Since then skiing has brought me around the globe competing on the world stage, teaching me so many life lessons and skills.

What is a fun fact about you or something not many people know about you?
I graduated high school a semester early.

What has been your biggest struggle throughout your career? How have you dealt with or overcome that?
Over the course of my skiing career I’ve dealt with two ACL surgeries at quite a young age. Going through a big injury when you're young and feel invincible is a huge wake up call; you're put into a situation where the joys of sport are taken away so abruptly and the future so unknown. Seeing my friends move on in life, get secondary education and jobs while I continue recovering and chasing a goal in skiing was extremely tough. In the sport of free skiing every year the sport progresses at such a rapid pace. Missing multiple seasons due to injury was hugely disheartening, as returning to the sport at a high level seemed like a massive mountain to climb. Those times in my life taught me a level of persistence and discipline that I’m not sure I would have learned otherwise. Pushing through pain and hardships day in and day out without any guarantee was a massive learning curve. Learning to appreciate the individuals who helped you through those times, and the small victories within the experience ultimately changed my mindset on sport.

Injury is a part of life, and sport - how did you deal with yours?
Throughout my injuries I had many times where I felt like I should move on. Times where my body refused to turn the corner and allow me to get back to what I love to do. I remember being so wrapped up in the recovery and I wasn’t making time for others in my life. I don’t even think I was making time for myself anymore. I came to a realization that I needed to allow myself to live my life in conjunction with the rehab aspect. To allow myself to be free from my injury throughout the day rather than consumed by it. I started to spend more time with others, laugh a little more and focus on learning something new from time to time. That was the turning point where I could see skiing in my future again. I like to think of it like how painful it would be to watch a plant grow. You have to check in everyday to water and make sure it’s getting enough sunlight, but for most of the day you need to leave it the heck alone!

What’s your favourite pre/post sweat snack? Your must have treat?
I would have to say a crisp, cold shiny apple.

Do you have any pre-competition rituals?
Not really, more so just like to catch up with my friends from around the world before the event.

What gets you most excited about being a part of the Stoko Ambassador program?
I’m excited to share the Stoko brand with others in my life who have struggled with injuries in the past. Being in the realm of action sport unfortunately injuries are common, and ways to get back to sport are often too expensive or unavailable. I think Stoko has taken a great approach with a garment that can be used day to day without altering your lifestyle at all. Stoko to me is confidence, and confidence is usually the gap between an injury and getting back to one's self.

Career Highlights!?
1st Font Romeu World Cup, 7th Aspen World Cup, 10th Silviplana World Cup, 12th Aspen X Games

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