We caught up and had a chat with Grilo in Milan for Burton Resort [SNOWBOARDING] premiere.
Marko: Hey, what’s up guys! We’re here in Milan for the fourth and final Burton clip of [Snowboarding], called Resort, which drops in today on the internet as well; it’s free and I think that’s really cool because everybody can watch it. Last year we filmed it for a couple of weeks in the States and I really think that this clip will blow minds because there are a lot of good shots and good action in it. I had a sick time and it was really fun to ride with the guys.
Back then, did you already know that the whole thing was going to be released as a stand-alone clip for a four-episode web series?
Marko: We didn’t know that the movie was going to be split up in four different episodes (Backcountry, Street, Women and Resort), but we knew it was going to be released online and I personally think that is cool because there are a lot of companies who still make you pay to watch their movies. Instead, our movie hooks up people who can check it out without paying anything for it, for how long they want to see it and anytime. I really like this kind of choice Burton made.
In particular, in Burton [Snowboarding], I liked that stunning intro, the teaser of it all, with that super slo-mo and all the main characters portrayed in that funny and interesting way (guys at home, you gotta check the “behind the scenes” of the teaser!).
Marko: Oh yeah, that was crazy. When I really understood what was going on, that endless camera movement… I thought that was Hollywood meets snowboarding!
What about your last season, crowned with the huge success of your own trademark project, the Grilosodes? To me the whole series seem to be a different way to make 'normal' people understand what snowboarding is – a pretty fun thing! – but at the same time it's really enjoyable for all the people who are already into riding.
Marko: The very cool thing about the Grilosodes is that Red Bull and all my sponsors supported the idea behind it. They’ve been backing it, as the actual key was that they gave me the freedom to do whatever I felt like. We just went through the season with different situations, we didn’t like the typical and kind of boring idea of editing it all like a normal and average “snowboarding movie's style”.
We wanted this thing to have a different twist.
I also think that the coolest thing about my episodes is that I can do whatever I feel like. I can work on my own ideas and on trips I feel would be cool for us as snowboarders, as well as for kids and 'normal' people to watch. Our basic idea was just to have a little different view on the same old snowboard edits and we really tried to make it interesting. I’m really happy that all my sponsors supported this idea and that I personally am in the position of choosing what I want to do and I have the freedom to do something different to usual.
I have to hand it to you, Marko. You’ve done quite a fine job with your web episodes. Who chooses the riders who appear with you in the episodes?
Marko: I think snowboarding in the past has been too much marketing driven. All the time it was like “oh, this guy needs to go on this trip” because of this and that. Instead,
I had the freedom to hit my friends up, the ones who I always wanted to ride with; sometimes they are well-known names, sometimes my homies from back home, but the most important thing to me is that everyone is snowboarding just to have fun.
And it’s good for the series, ‘cause people can really see our passion.
I’ve known you for a long time now, Marko, and what I’ve always liked about you is that you’ve always been humble. No matter Air&Style’s Ring of Glory. I’ve heard that you were searching for a photographer to follow you on your trips for the Grilosodes and you posted an open position on your Facebook page. And, although you wrote in Slovenian, fifty people showed up, interested in your project. And you didn’t expect it at all. How come all this understatedness of yours?
Marko: Haha, it’s true! That was really funny. My girlfriend is always making fun of me because of this: I’m really always humble towards anything that happens to me, and I seldom understand what’s actually going on. I’m not realistic about some things, I know that. I just posted on Facebook a simple question, like if “Would anyone be stoked to be the photographer of the Grilosodes?” and in only six hours I had to go through all the works and pictures and projects of 50 people who applied for the job! That was crazy! And some of them were really seriously damn good, also! I couldn’t believe that there were so many people who actually would have liked to be involved in my thing.
I particularly loved the Dubai episode. Who came up with that idea? Was that yours?
Marko: I was on my way to New Zealand the year before. And we had a stop over in Dubai, and I thought “Oh my God, this place is like Mars, it’s so different to anywhere else in the world, we have to do something here.” And that’s the point I was talking about before. Now that I have the opportunity to do more or less anything I’d like to, why not Dubai? We went to Mount Hood also and we went to the dry slopes in UK… just whatever comes in my mind, we just do it. It’s so sick when you can do that as a snowboarder!
So what about those dry slopes?
Marko: After Zurich.ch contest, we went to Hintertux, Austria, but the weather wasn’t that nice so we thought about going somewhere else. Jamie Nicholls was there with me and he suggested to go to the UK trying to ride on dry slopes. So we flew to London and drove three hours north, and it was so different to snowboarding on real snow! Completely.
I have so much respect now for the dudes who can ride those dry slopes. It’s already so hard to ride in a normal way that you can not even imagine! Still those guys are spinning 1080s without the edges… on a carpet! After two days of riding up there, I was totally blown away.
I couldn’t believe that some people can really ride that way. That is why all UK riders are so damn good at riding rails. They are so much used to training in those conditions that anything else is a blessing. Like a super gnarly rail in street but with some real snow here and there to the sides and they’re like “ok, no big deal”.
A couple of seasons ago, when you won the Air&Style, you probably thought “this is the best moment of my life as a snowboarder”. But since then you’ve been raising the bar year after year; maybe not in a technical way, it’s not all about spins and tricks, but in a different way. Like a real professional career.
Marko: I’ve been snowboarding for so many years now and what I noticed about myself is that I always wanted to do something different; all the time. Like I wanted to compete and so I did well at it: at the beginning I was even doing alpine snowboarding, then I competed in halfpipe and became junior world champion, then I filmed with David Benedek for “91 Words for Snow” - and at that time filming was 'the shit' you know! - so I always accomplished what I liked the most to do. When I achieved something that I had always wanted to, I also changed completely the subject of my interest and tried to do something completely different.
And that was probably what kept me interested in this snowboarding world for so many years: that I've never done the same stuff over and over again, which I find boring.
The Grilosodes now are something completely different from everything that I used to do back in the days, like riding contests, but this new stuff here is still cool as those contests were for me before.
(End of part one. Stay tuned for the second part dropping soon!)