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Real Snow Backcountry: Mark Sollors

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Mark Sollors: Real Snow Backcountry (1:47)

Mark Sollors' video entry for Real Snow Backcountry, the inaugural Winter X Games Tignes all-video all-backcountry snowboard contest. (1:47)

Mark Sollors is part of the new generations of snowboarders who are taking the sport back to its roots. Once upon a time snowboarders were judged not by how well they rode one thing, but how well they rode everything. By that definition, Sollors is classically "old school," while at the same time being about as new school as they come. He is a rail kid, a backcountry guy, and if you put him near a halfpipe he would probably be a pipe jock too.

Though Sollors didn't make it out of the first round of the Fan Favorite voting bracket, this fresh-on-the-scene young gun did pretty well just being picked to compete against a crop of seasoned veterans. He also has this leg up on his competition: Sollors is one of the few snowboarders who could have competed in either the urban- or backcountry-focused Real Snow contests, and done just fine.

We're pretty excited about this guy, and the direction he's going to help lead snowboarding into in the very near future. That's why we pulled him aside so we could learn a little more about him.

ESPN: How was filming for the Real Snow part?
Sollors:
It was definitely tricky. Usually my season starts in December and January with rail trips, so when I got the call about Real Snow in October I was really surprised but I was totally down to do it. It was fun, I got to ride a lot more pow than I usually do this winter, so that was cool.

You're one of the few snowboarders who could film Real Snow Street or Backcountry. Would you have been more comfortable filming a street part?
I feel like I fall right in between, like people at ESPN were probably questioning which one to put me in. I was stoked to do Backcountry though. I do hope that I get a chance to do Real Snow Street at some point and compare the two.

In the backcountry you can't manipulate snow as much to produce shots. Was that a challenge?
I think the biggest challenge was the weather. If you watch my part it's converted to black and white because every day was gray. We were going up on days that we would have usually not filmed during and just found stuff to do. It is hard in the backcountry, though, because you can't really set spots up, you just have to find something that works.

Did it push you to go into dangerous situations that you usually wouldn't go into?
I'm usually the safest guy when it comes to that kind of stuff. I will always check the weather, and if the avalanche danger is high I will just chill and give it a couple days to settle. It was gray where we filmed mostly, so we just hung out in the trees in lower alpine areas, which is a lot safer.

You filmed with John Jackson. I'm not sure if any of the other guys filmed together. How was it filming with someone who was in the same contest?
I think it worked out really well. The only time that it was ever an issue was when we wanted to hit the same jump. Because we are both regular, if we hit the same jump and wanted to do the same trick there would be overlap.

Did you jump straight from Real Snow to Supernatural?
That was funny; I didn't even know I was on the list as a backup. I was telling John that I would help him finish his part first because he had to leave for the contest and I thought I would have an extra week to film. Then we get back to the truck from filming one day and I get a call saying someone got hurt and they were asking me if I wanted to compete.

It put me in a tight situation because my part wasn't done and I had to leave three days later. I couldn't say no, I just had to finish what I could and go.

What was it like showing up to the Supernatural? Was it nerve racking?
I was super nervous coming into it. I didn't really know how I would stack up against all of those amazing riders. Everyone was super positive and stoked, though, and when we got to see the course it just changed everything. We all saw the photos of the wooden feature in the summertime and they were so massive -- it was just like: how are these going to work? Then we got to the top and you could see everything and it looked just like a backcountry park. Everyone started getting super excited and running around like 12-year-olds, pointing out all the different lines. It was so amazing to be a part of that.

You have already filmed a video part, been in one of the craziest contest ever and are filming a full video part, how do you balance it all?
I don't know. It just feels like there is more I need to get done, especially because I want to step up from last year. I'm putting more on myself and Burton has allowed me more opportunities, and I have been put into really good crews and situations that I'm really happy to be a part of and that makes me so much more motivated.

There is no tomorrow in snowboarding -- none of that "I will get it done later" mentality. You have to be focused and get things done today and find something else to do tomorrow. I've just been trying to stay busy and stay hungry and it's been working out so far.