Catching Up With Mark Carter
As many a pro begin their annual crawl to SoCal for sponsor visits, winter planning and other oddly located snow dealings, we reel 'em in to chat snow. On a break from ranch life, Mark Carter came by to recount winter times. (He's looking for a boot sponsor btw, hit him up on Facebook). A hard working good 'ol boy turned snowboarder, Carter now finds himself encompassed in a fortunate shroud of riders and opportunities of the shred world. His snowboard perspective split—a paradigm of traditional western ways and mountain frivolity. Here's what he had to say.
So you filmed with Absinthe this year, how did you sneak in that cast?
I was stoked to be apart of that program. Originally, I was planning to film with Travis [Rice] and the those guys for their movie, but it didn't start this year so I kinds of scrambled the end and everything fell into place. Luckily I had sponsors like North Face and Weekend who stepped up to chip in money. And it helped having Travis being like "I really don't have anything going on, so I'll just film an ender part in three weeks…I need two filmers and…you and [Dan] Brisse can come along." We had a fun crew.
Had you known Brisse before?
No, that kid's rad though, a ripper for sure. I think the bigger stuff was new to him too, so it was good for progression. He was a little intimidated but he killed it. He has some serious skill on the kickers. It was a good vibe for everybody. It worked out.
How is it filming with Rider of The Year?
It's interesting filming with a guy like Travis. He's always going to be doing the sickest shit, stuff you think a normal person couldn't do. We you don't look at it that way. And first try he stomps it. You're like really?
It's gotta help you progress or cringe I guess.
It does. I mean the kickers and stuff you're always stepping to, we're always building crazy shit. All of us look at things differently though. Travis will go do some huge back rodeos off something nuts. Then I'll go ride something else and Brisse will go do some pat down.
Tell us about your new sponsor setup.
Weekend Snowboards, The North Face, Smith, Bluebird Wax. Just solid, everybody kicks down and it rounds out my style of riding and what I'm trying to get out of it. Obviously North Face isn't going to sign a jibber, so they signed the right people with DCP, Johan, Dave Short and myself. It's a really good crew and company; everyone just gets it over there. They're all really easy to work with.
You're doing the Weekend board program, are you their only rider?
Yep, we have a couple ams. It has a small brand feel, like a grassroots skateboarding company. They're partnered with Bond Outerwear and SLVDR Clothing, just building things up. It's funny, I get set up with them on Facebook. I was a little weary because I wasn't' sure if they were really serious about creating a board company. But things are a go and they're great to work with.
You have an interesting art collabo going on for your new board, what's going on?
[Mike] Parillo and Guch [Bryan Iguchi] are doing the art for my Weekend pro model. Got the legend collab going on. I'm pretty honored to have those guys step up and do it. And they're really stoked to do it. I've seen almost the final project. It's unique. We always round the cows on the ranch with dirt bikes or horses so it had a lot to do with that. People will probably look at it and won't get it, until they know the story behind it. Parillo was out with us on the ranch a couple times so that's where he came up with the idea. Whatever he's going to do I'm down with it. I trust him and Guch.
What kind of backcountry guiding do you get into in the summer?
I do some fishing and chase people around the mountains. Hiking, riding horses too. When I'm not doing that I'm just on the ranch trying to pull my weight.
Could you explain a little more about your outfitting operation?
It's an fishing, camping outfitter operation my brother runs and I'm a guide under him. We take people to these high mountain lakes that we have permits for. He has the only permit for what we call the 'big wilderness' in the bighorn mountains. Crazy lakes, granite boulders, killer fishing. It's weird, not many locals take advantage of it up there. When we're up there with clients it's really secluded. We pack in a couple wall tents and all the gear you could need. It takes usually eight horses. We just hang out and fish.
How about ranch life?
Our family has a 60,000 acre ranch—so it means a lot of work. A lot of fence to be fixed and a lot of cows to be taken care of. So the snowboarding thing to me is easy at times because it's better than busting my ass on the ranch. I think about that when I'm tired of trucking up some ridge or hiking my ass off. I'll think, well, I know my brother has been feeding since 6 am, doctoring calves, helping sick animals, et cetera. I'm stoked to be where I am right now.
Where did you grow up riding?
I grew up riding Big Horn Mountain Resort (originally called Meadowlark), it's shut down now though. It was a frickin' poma lift, a tiny mountain with a shitty little lodge. The poma ran on a 350 big block, always cranking with the sound just blasting out of the manifold. You had to learn how to one foot really fast because the lift engaged through a pull cord that would jerk you up hill. The lifties were dicks, they would fire it up and step on your board so you would go flying. We would just eat shit. There was one snowboarder there, named Chuck Hicks. He was hot doggin', had trails named after him and all.
It was the only thing you looked forward to growing up. If you had good grades on Friday, the school would bus you out there for a half day. Three bucks got you a lift ticket and six for rentals. If I was lucky, I could get another day in on the weekend if my dad didn't make me work. I didn't find Jackson till I was 20 or 21. And was immediately like, "What have I been missing? I was blowing it!" I fell into the right crowd there and figured it out. There's no scene, no bullshit. If you're a poser you'll probably be run out of town.
Following Guch's vision eh?
Yeah. Guch has been there riding for fourteen years. It was rad how he was at the top of his game and just made the move, wanted to go to Jackson. All his sponsors we like, what are you doing, we can't do anything for you, but he went anyway. He saw where it was going. He's still snowboarding and having the time of his life because of it.
How was filming with Absinthe this year?
It was sick man. I've always really admired their movies and dreamed to film with them someday. It just kind of fell in place, unexpectedly. It's fortunate to have great photographers and filmers. Even if you're holding up your part of the bargain, shots can always be blown.
What were some highlights?
There was one day at this secret location in the Snake Rivers where we found this new zone with mini AK spines and stuff. Good snow, light and it was a mellow hike—everybody had a good day. Kyle [Clancy] and the whole Get Real crew rolled up halfway through. It was kind of Kyle's zone, because he lives closer to it, but they we're gonna ride this other stuff so they went searching for a few hours. Everything was crap so they came back and Kyle and Sammy [Luebke] joined us. The two crews merged and it was all good. Things got kind of aggressive.
Outside of Wyoming where did you go?
Ummm…outside Wyoming, well I didn't leave much this year. Early season I went to Colorado because the snow was really killer there. We were in the Vail area. Then Whistler. It rained so I just sat in the café all pissed off because I knew Trav and Brisse we're building a jump back in Jackson and it was sunny. Then we went to Pemberton for a few days. It was really sick terrain, but right off the bat we rolled up to a landing that look pretty sick, threw some snow on it and—whoompf—the whole thing ripped out. Like a foot fracture. So that narrowed some things down. Everything was sketchy at the time. DCP was telling me about some sketchy avy stuff that he went through too. Gnarly. It's gnarly, but you're out there in the elements so much. You have to be with people you know will have your back.
Look for more on DCP's wild rides in the September issue…
Is that something you have developed with Travis and the bros?
Yep, I'm totally confident going out there with them. If shit goes down, they're going to save my life if need be. I know those guys will do whatever it takes to get me out.
Who do you ride with in Jackson?
In Jackson I ride with Guch a ton; Adam Dowell, he's my roomie, a sick up and comer; Jessie Brown, John Makens, Willie [McMillon]. We have a good crew.
Any summer plans?
I wanna go ride powder. It could be sick to go down to NZ or South America and do something. Either way, I have a good summer just being home too. I just go from two completely different worlds. Back to the workingman's world in the summer. It really makes me appreciate the snowboarding side of things. I could be a pro snowboarder, I don't even care how much money I made, and I couldn't sit on my ass and surf all summer, I'd just go crazy.