Words by Zoe Hertz
Photo 1: @Dartcamera
Photo 2: Unknown
Photo 3: @Rachelmarie_bock
Now that the season is fully under way, I turn the mic over to a couple pro skiers and long-time friends, Mark Hendrickson and Max Moffat, both currently residing in Calgary, AB when not on the road for comps, to get us amped for the season. I took this opportunity to allow us to learn a bit more about them as who they are as people, not only on skis but off them as well.
Due to logistical reasons, the interviews were conducted at two different times so its been fun to see how similar, yet different some answers were from two close friends without being influenced by the presence of the other during the interview.
Max at Momentum - P: @Dartcamera
The most cliché, but I'll start with it anyway, what is your favourite place you’ve ever skied?
Max: Probably Red Mountain in Rossland, BC. I’ve gone out there with some friends who have a cabin there for a few New Year’s now and that’s always super fun. There’s always so much snow and no lift lines too.
Mark: My favourite place to ski would have to be Wanaka, a resort in New Zealand.
What music do you listen to [if any] when you ski? Do you have a favourite comp or throw-down song?
Max: That’s funny you ask, I have some pretty weird music preferences for when I’m skiing. For just normal skiing, like lapping the park with friends or just skiing slush in the spring then it would be like normal rap and hip-hop, your usual upbeat sort of stuff. But I always find that when I’m competing, I would get too fired-up if I was listening to heavy rap, so I have a bunch of piano playlists of instrumentals that I listen to. It’s sort of like background or almost elevator music that you don’t really notice is playing and it kind of just puts you in a calmer state.
When I was growing up my grandpa always loved playing piano and I remember I always loved listening to it, so I would sit beside his piano playing Lego for hours listening to him, so I feel like maybe that could have something to do with it.
Mark: Usually I’m more just listening to relaxing kinda music, nothing too aggressive cause it’s nice to just chill out when everything is so hectic around you. I think in super anxious moments for me, it’s kind of more like piano instrumentals and stuff because that’s what helps me to relax the most.
What skiers were you inspired by most when you were growing up?
Max: I actually have such a long list in my phone of my top ten or so favourite skiers [haha]. But growing up I was always a fan of Bobby Brown, for contest stuff he was always my favourite, and then Dane Tudor for contest stuff and for his filming parts, and also Nikki Keifer I always really liked watching as well.
Mark: I was always inspired by Shane McConkey, who was my first influence cause he’s just an all-around rad skier that changed the game. And probably more recently now, I’d say Sammy Carlson who’s kinda more new-wave.
Would a ski interview even be complete without this question... What do you have planned for this upcoming season? What are you looking most forward to?
Max: The next trip I’m going to is China for an Olympic test event (currently there now), which will be held at the same venue as the Olympics for 2022. There’s a world cup big air on the scaffolding jump, which is sort of like a permanent jump that they’ve built right in Beijing so I’m looking pretty forward to that.
Mark: This season it’s kinda just a mix between contests and just kinda pushing my skiing, so theres a few World Cups that I’ll get spots into, so some contests in Europe and down in the States. I would also really like to just go skiing in the backcountry a lot and not forget that aspect of skiing as well because it’s important and super nice to stay well-rounded in the sport.
What was one of the biggest setbacks you’ve had to deal with in your skiing career? How has [X] impacted your career?
Max: About five years ago, the first year that I moved to Calgary, I tore my right lateral meniscus and had to get some surgery on it about month later so I didn’t ski for around a year which was definitely the biggest setback I’ve had and longest I’ve had to go without skiing. It taught me some stuff about how you don’t really notice what you have until it gets taken away from you for sure. It was definitely a setback at the time, but it kind of made me realize the importance of going to the gym to train as well. It definitely taught me a lot of things, but was also definitely too long of a time to not be skiing.
Mark: So I’ve done both of my knees; I did my left one in 2014 and I did my right one in 2017. Each one was obviously a pretty big set-back, about a year off skis for each and about a year and half to get back into the full swing of things. Obviously it’s hard not to think of where I’d be without those injuries sometimes, but I think I’m definitely a little more conservative on the hill these days and little bit more smart about the risks I take now.
You still gotta risk it sometimes, but I think in only smart ways.
Tell me about it, I'm seven months in and two surgeries out from doing my knee and still not ready to get back in the game, never a good feeling. Do you have any advice for others who are dealing with or coming back from serious injuries?
Max: I guess that, as much as it sucks in the moment, you won’t forget how to ski or do certain tricks, it all does come back and it just takes time. For most athletes, the people that stay in it the longest are often the people that get injured and so they realize how much they want it, so when they do come back from it, they want it that much more, rather than just coasting through, if that makes sense? So really, to just have patience and know that it will come with time.
Mark: Yeah for sure. I would always get super fixated on things when I was hurt, I would only focus on my injury and block out other things in my life like friends and work and other enjoyments. I was just in the gym only focusing on my knee or whatever it was that was injured, and I think that really set me back even more because you can’t watch a plant grow you know? Or else it takes almost longer, you just keep living but you shouldn't put other things off.
I would say just continue to live your life and still work hard at it [recovery/physio], but don’t block out anything else important along the way.
For sure, I couldn't agree more with you guys. You're both constantly under a lot of pressure to perform. What sort of mental tools – if any, do you use to calm yourself in these moments?
Max: I do use quite a few, but I guess one of the main tools would be the music I talked about earlier, the sorta slower piano because that puts me in a calmer state. If I’m in the gate and about to drop, or there is only a few skiers in front of me before I go and I’m starting to feel more nervous, I just try and think to myself that “I have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” you know? It’s inevitable that you’re going to feel nervous so you may as well just try to accept it and just do what you can to work through it in the moment.
Mark: Well, I have been seeing a sport psychologist from time to time actually, and she’s been really helpful with teaching me that you never really ‘have’ to do something, so much as turning it around and being like “I get to do this.” I get to experience this and hopefully look back on it as a really cool memory. So yeah, just turning it around and being excited about the experience, excited about the process and knowing that it’s all only temporary so just try to enjoy it while you can rather than stress about it.
Favourite [post-ski] food? Or perhaps more importantly, beer?
Max: Uhh… probably ice cream, well… Yeah actually for sure ice cream, [hahaha]. And my favourite beer would probably be Corona since its always a good ‘after-hill’ beer…or during, [ha].
Mark: I guess it probably goes with the beer but.. just nachos. I don’t have a favourite beer, but just a good IPA. Definitely hits all the dry spots in your mouth after a good long day.
Morks Corks doing his thing at Momentum - Photographer Unknown
Enough about skiing for now – tell us more about your lives off the snow for once.
Are there any side jobs you guys do to hustle some extra cash for your skiing when at home?
Max: I work at Momentum during the summer, I’m fortunate enough to spend it in Whistler coaching which would be my main side-job, but it’s still skiing and it’s still really fun, it’s just a lot of partying too [haha]. I enjoy teaching the kids though and it’s a blast for sure.
Mark: Yeah, I am currently roofing, working for a long-time friend and ski coach of mine, Dave Stevenson who does roofing in the summertime. It’s super convenient cause I can come home in the summertime and work for him and you know, it’s not a typical work environment where you have to have a set schedule, its flexible hours and he can use my help so it’s really mutual. It’s good money and honestly, it’s really nice to be working for someone who knows what I’m up to since that’s always really helpful.
If you weren’t a professional skier, is there another career path that would hypothetically appeal to you? Has the thought of returning back to school ever crossed your mind? If so, what would you study?
Max: Growing up I also wanted to be a professional skateboarder, so I would spend my whole summer skating and sort of even all winter at this indoor skateboard park in Ontario where I grew up, so if I never skied I would probably try and pursue skating as a career if I had spent more time on it, but that’s pretty far-fetched since it is pretty damn hard to be a pro skateboarder [haha]. But yeah, if not that, to be honest I probably most likely won’t go back to school but if I did, I would maybe go for animation or filming and editing, video sort of stuff.
Mark: For sure. I mean, I think, obviously, there are so few people who make a living out of skiing so the thought of what’s more down the road is definitely more prevalent in my head these days. My old mans a pilot, and he’s always really warmed me up to the idea of following down the same tracks. So, recently I’ve started to do my own private pilot license just online but I’m not too disciplined right now to be doing it every day, but it does interest me and I think that it would be a cool opportunity to do in the future, it’s also given me and my brother a good upbringing so, it’d be cool to carry that on.
Is there any countries or places you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t made it to yet (for skiing, or just to visit)? Why?
Max: One thing that’s always been on my bucket list is to go to Alaska and ski. It’s definitely doable even though I haven’t really had the opportunity yet to get out there and try to do something. But yeah, it would be fun to go on a trip with a bunch of people and even just ski resorts out there, or maybe someday later on in my ski career if I got to do a heli-trip out there that would be the dream because you’d get to see so much stuff. Plus a lot of ski movies always have the Alaskan big lines so that would be a fun thing to check off the list for sure.
As far as visiting for just travel, Japan for sure (but also for skiing for sure, too). But yeah culturally for sure it seems really cool.
Mark: For sure, I would like to explore Asia a little more. I went to Japan once, and just thought it was cool to be a tourist and stick out a little bit, you know? I think I would go and visit SE Asia and do that whole loop, that would be really cool.
I’m not sure about a place I’d go for skiing since I’ve been really fortunate to explore some places I never thought I’d go already. So, any trip like that would be more for surfing, culture and exploring at this point.
If you could do one other sport professionally, what would it be?
Max: Skateboarding. (Duh).
Mark: Oh, surfing for sure. I’m not even that good at surfing but, I just think the lifestyle and environment would be so great. I’ve just always wanted to improve and like it more, cause ever since I’ve gone the first time, I’ve just always been so stoked on it. Every time I go on a surf trip you just start to get good by the end of it and then you don’t do it for six months and you’re back to square one. But, just to do that and make money would be crazy.
You guys are on the road a lot travelling – is there anything you’ve had to give up to ski or that you miss while being away from home?
Max: I guess the biggest thing would be sleeping in my own bed, or just having your own space. A lot of the time you’re always rooming with someone, you don’t get a lot of time alone, which is all good. But, I know for some people it affects them more than others, so I’m fine with this. It’s definitely nice though when you come home and you have your own space and your own bed and you’re just familiarized with everything.
Mark: Yeah, I think when I first graduated high school, I saw a lot of friends kind of go to university and do the whole ‘first couple years of university thing,’ like all the partying and kinda that initial start to ‘adulthood’ I guess if you would call it that. It did look fun to me, but now that that’s all kind of passed I am happy that I stuck with this cause that’s kind of simmered down and university sounds more stressful than not [haha]. But yeah, what I think I miss out on at home is just my friends. I’m super fortunate to have so many good friends in Calgary and surrounding areas, every time I come back I have a different person to hang out with everyday so I feel pretty fortunate for that.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Max: Hmmm, maybe creative, mindful, and laidback.
Mark: I would say, laidback, mature, and athletic.
What sort of things do you not like to do?
Max: Math, dishes, and I’m not a big fan of confrontation.
Haha, I don't think anyone is a fan of confrontation so you're not alone there. And you Mark?
Mark: I don’t like to plan stuff, I’m a really bad planner and I’ll always leave it until the last minute. I don’t really procrastinate anything in my life, but I procrastinate making plans. I find that once you make plans you’re so stuck with it and then you can’t be as flexible if something else comes up so I just try to leave everything, even though I know its super frustrating for other people sometimes.
We’ve just finished the interview and you step outside the building and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $50 million. What would you do?
Max: I’d give a lot of it to friends that could really use or need it, to the people that I care a lot about and that I know would make their lives a lot less stressful. I’d maybe give some of it to a ski organization that would help kids that are trying to get into freestyle. I’d just try to give it back to skiing in some ways since I feel like skiing’s given me quite a bit, not that I have a lot of money to give back to it right now [ha,ha], but I would definitely try to spread it and share it with all my friends and family just to make sure that everyone was all set up. Then maybe I’d see what I have left and try to do something fun with it.
Mark: I’d probably learn how to invest. I’m only 21 years old but, fifty million dollars is a lot of money and I think you could definitely make some poor choices and ruin that fifty mil [haha]. So I’d learn how to properly save it and spend it rather than just buy a bunch of stuff I probably don’t need. I think I would still indulge and spend a lot of money on my friends, maybe just take everyone on a surf trip to Costa Rica for a few months with some of it. But I would definitely save the majority of it for good reason.
Sweet! Well, fingers crossed one of you hit the jackpot sometime soon here cause I myself could really use a surf trip right about now. I really enjoyed how different your answers were to the last question, by the way.
Thanks for taking the time to share some more about yourselves with us when you're not on the hill. There's no shortage of content on NS surrounding your guy's great skiing, but sometimes it's nice to get an in on the other stuff that's going on too. There's always more to a person than just the instagram edits and comp results and its refreshing to see that side from time to time so thanks for tuning in guys!
Looking forward to seeing what both of you guys bring to the table for us in the future, both on skis and off!
Speaking of which, if you haven't already done so, now would be a great time to catch up on your MaxMinutes episodes, link below to his latest episode, which just so happens to be featuring some laps with Mark!
MaxMinutes Vol.6 // Sunshine is now out!