Known for its flatness, love of the Roughriders and now…the best competition snowboarder in the world?
Regina’s Mark McMorris has become the leader of a youth movement sweeping snowboarding after winning gold in big air and slopestyle at X Games Aspen 2012, repeating as slopestyle champion at X Games 2013 with the highest score ever awarded (98.0).
He was the first athlete to win double-gold at X Games since Shaun White did it in 2009 and their growing rivalry has challenged the snowboard supremacy of the once untouchable red-headed superstar.
After breaking his rib X Games Aspen 2014 just 11 days before Olympic training was set to open, Mark's immediate future was in doubt.
But when the doctor provided medical clearance to compete in the Olympics, Mark re-focused on recovering from an injury that generally takes 4-6 weeks of rest and rehabilitation, and the #McRib social phenomenon was officially born.
Then, in Sochi 2014, the prairie-prodigy willed his way to a bronze-medal performance in his Olympic debut earning Canada's first medal of the Games.
A couple weeks later, Mark won another, freshly-minted title according to the Sport Business Journal:
World's Most Socially-Engaged Olympian.
In 2015, Mark re-established his dominance at Winter X, winning double gold in slopestyle and big air and taking home the honours, and a new Harley-Davidson, as the X Games Most Outstanding Performance of the weekend.
After a heavy year of filming and competition, where he stomped just about every landing imaginable, Mark was awarded with the snowboard industry's top honour: Snowboarder Magazine's 2016 Rider of the Year.
At the Los Angeles Air & Style in February 2016, Mark broke his left leg on a difficult landing while attempting a front-side triple cork 1440.
After an off-season of dedicated rehab, Mark entered the 2016-17 season looking to regain his competition confidence and exorcise some demons.
And, he waited for the most dramatic moment imaginable: the Olympic Big Air Test Event in South Korea.
In his second jump of the final, he stomped the front-side triple cork 1440, pulling away from the field and solidifying his status as the early favourite in Pyeongchang 2018.
He finished the season with a Crystal Globe in Big Air and the FIS Overall Crystal Globe in snowboarding.
Mark was officially back.
After a long competitive season and with his place on the Canadian Olympic Team confirmed, Mark headed to the backcountry with brother Craig and friends.
Mark misjudged a jump and landed in a cluster of trees below. He was rushed to Vancouver General Hospital with internal bleeding from a ruptured spleen, a severley broken left arm, five cracked ribs and several fractured vertebrae.
After two successful surgeries, Mark woke up and immediately asked about the Olympics. The story has been beautifully-captured in the documentary Unbroken: The Snowboard Life of Mark McMorris, that was broadcast on ABC, ESPN and CBC and celebrated a Worldwide Theatrcial Premiere at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
In Pyeongchang, the young Canadian completed one of the most memorable comebacks in Olympic history – from near-death to Olympic bronze in less than 11 months – when he stepped onto the podium and into the hearts of so many fans around the world.
It even inspired the Prime Minister of India who shared Mark's story of perserverance to inspire a group of young listeners.
And shortly after his Olympic performance, Mark turned into Canada's unofficial good times ambassador to India.
At X Games Aspen 2019, on just five days of training coming off an ankle-tweak, Mark added to his growing legend with two incredible performances.
First, on Friday night, he finished second in Big Air gifting the gold to Japanese spinner Takeru Otsuka with a stylish method on his final jump, presumably to save himself for his main event on Saturday.
It turned out to be a good decision. In the Slopestyle Finals, on the last run, Mark dropped a 96.00 to move from fourth to first.
It was his X Games medal number 17 – just one shy of Shaun White's all-time winter record.
In January 2020, Mark landed in Aspen looking for X Games history.
One more to tie. Two for the record.
After missing the podium in the Slopestyle Finals, Mark's attention turned quickly to the Big Air Finals under the lights.
In one of the most memorable nights in his career, Mark landed five consecutive jumps and finished with a silver medal.
Then, in X Games Oslo, Mark won the Big Air Finals in X Games Norway to move ahead of Shaun White's all-time record. He'd add another medal with a silver in Slopestyle.
20 and counting.
And, with two Olympic bronze medals from Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018, the only thing missing from his impressive resumé is gold in Beijing 2022 where he'll have two chances to get to the top of the podium – Big Air and Slopestyle.