words: Mark Clavin
photos: JP Walker
In an era when companies are de-emphasizing their pro programs in favor of fly-by-night marketing trends, it is awesome to see a legacy brand like K2 bolstering their pro team with the promotion of Mark Wilson. Recently moving up the Minnesota-born ripper into the official top ranks, Mark adds big addition in the rail game for the crew. Wilson is now officially part of the stacked list of K2 pros including Jake Kuzyk, Tim Eddy, Leanne Pelosi and Matt Belzile.
Before interviewing Mark (below), we briefly chatted on the phone with the new K2 Marketing Manager Tom Johnson. Describing Wilson as a flat-out workhorse that has an authentic fit with the crew, Tommy J held a meeting with the established team and it was a unanimous vote to move Wilson up. “He makes snowboarding look effortless and is always composed. Mark had the opener of Videograss, and then the closer to Videograss in back-to-back years, and we just wanted to support him after he has supported K2 for so long… Snowboarders connect with brands through their riders and we can’t think of anyone better than Mark to represent K2.” With the whole crew knowing before Mark, everyone met up earlier this month at Mt. Hood for a surprise party in Wilson’s honor.
Video by Nick Meilleur
Alright! Congrats man, you cracked the code to reaching the pro level, what is the secret?
Thank you! I’m super happy about it, such an awesome surprise from the K2 team and some good friends. I don’t know if it’s a secret, but for me, I think connecting and shooting photos and video with the right people really helped. Give it 110%, whether it’s working on a video part or doing contests, and hopefully people are excited about it in the end.
What does reaching the “pro” title mean to you?
More than anything! I think it’s kind of a peace of mind. I was so obsessed with snowboarding when I was a kid. I would watch movies a hundred times over and wanted to do exactly what they were doing. So after working at that over all these years, it feels rewarding to have turned “pro” for a respected company and have video parts in one of the movies I liked so much.
And what about reaching it with K2, a company you have been with for the past three years? Quite the journey.
I was filming for a Keep The Change movie, and Justin Meyer’s VG crew was a guy short so he asked if I wanted to join on their Detroit trip. It was with Jake Kuzyk, Nick Dirks, and Darrell Mathes. The K2 TM and staff photographer of the time showed up to shoot an ad of Kuzyk for a couple days… and that’s when it started. The following summer I was looking to do something new, so I talked with Kuzyk and the TM, Pete Mullenbach, and it ended up working out. K2 is just a classic company in my eyes. They have been in snowboarding for 30 years now, and continue to make a great product and support rad individuals. I’m glad to be in even a small part of their long history.
Absolutely. What about some of the guys that you looked up to and set you on this path aspiring to become a professional snowboarder?
Midwest OG Pete Harvieux gave me a copy of Bald Eagles The Kaw when I was like 13 after an event he put on. That’s when I realized people in my state were doing the same stuff as in the bigger movies. So the guys in that film, like Jonas Michilot, Ricky Tucker, Mike Casanova, Joe Sexton, and Zac Marben got me so hyped being so close to my home. It was cool to see all of their success with getting to travel and film a generation before mine!
Any stories of meeting your idols within snowboarding?
Meeting JP Walker was pretty awesome. I flew overseas for my first time to go on a Visitors trip to Helsinki this past year. I knew I was going with Zak Hale, Sam Fenton, and JP Walker. I couldn’t believe I was going to Finland, but it was even crazier that it was with JP! So I showed up to the hotel, and found out it was just me and him in this tiny room for two weeks… the same JP that was in the first snowboard movie I watched 15 years ago.
What is the next step?
To eat healthier and stretch more.
When you finally hang up the hat, what do you want your legacy to be in snowboarding?
I guess just the projects I’ve worked on with friends. Hopefully people will go back and watch them. Or maybe I should start working on inventing a new trick!?
Finally, anybody you want to thank?
My family, friends, Tommy J., and anyone one else at K2 who helped make the decision. Colleen Quigley at Dakine, Jake Largess at Dragon, Ben Olson at Damage Boardshop, Justin Meyer at Videograss, Colton Feldman and the KTC affiliates, and everyone else who has helped me out over the years. THANK YOU!