What's In My Pack: Mark Morris
Skier & musician Mark Morris tells us his story and dumps out his pack for us.
Cover Photo: Jeff Cricco
Name: Mark Morris
Occupation: Self-Employed Musician/Pro Skier
Sponsors: Icelantic, Flylow, Discrete, Scarpa
Mark Morris is a 5th generation Coloradan that truly fell in love with freeskiing on a heli-trip in Alaska, just after his 13th birthday. Coincidentally, he found a passion for acoustic music at the same time, and has been motived to follow both of these passions his whole life.
Mark at Arapahoe Basin / Photo: Doug Evans
From Western State Colorado University to CU Denver, Morris says “school taught me how to read and write music, but more importantly taught me how to balance both passions with a career approach…I haven’t followed the ‘traditional path’ of success for either passion but I have found a niche that balances the two in a professional manner.“
"Throughout my life people have told me that in order to be successful, I must choose one career and ‘buckle down’ on that decision."
Morris finds inspiration for his music through skiing, as skiing provides “a wealth of perception on reality.” On the flip side, music inspires his skiing, as he gravitates towards playing shows in ski towns or anywhere with a “genuine mountain culture.”
“Throughout my life, people have told me that in order to be successful, I must choose one career and ‘buckle down’ on that decision. I look back on my life’s path however and realize that without skiing I would have little inspiration for music, and without music I wouldn't be able to express my love for the mountains adroitly.”
When you’re heading into the backcountry, what are 5 things that can always be found in your day pack?
Beacon, Probe, Shovel, Water, Sunscreen.
Weather conditions can often be unpredictable in the mountains. Tell us a little bit about what you do to layer up for long days in the backcountry.
Layering is always tricky until you finally find the perfect layer combinations for every condition. I always start with my WSI base layers (1) for base shirt, pants, and headband. My ski socks are the second item I put on and from there I use the Flylow ‘JimJack-et’ (2) as my second layer, and if temperatures are below zero I add the Flylow ‘Rudolph Down Jacket' (3) for added insulation. As long as keep my heart rate up I am able to stay warm using those 3 layers by adding the Flylow ‘Quantum Jacket’ (4) as my top shell and the Flylow ‘Baker Bibs’ (5) as my bottom shell.
Do you have any favorites for accessories (hats, gloves, helmet, buff, goggles, etc)?
I usually don't wear a hat but I can always be seen using either a Scarpa buff (6), or a Discrete buff (7) as a headband. My favorite helmet is the Prett ‘Shaman X’ (8) and I usually wear the Zeal ‘Slate’ (9) as my goggle of choice. I've been using the Hestra ‘Seth Morrison Pro Model’ (10) as my glove because it has pads on the top to protect my hands.
What ski setup are you grabbing for most often these days and why?
I ski on the Icelantic ‘Pioneer 109’ (11). When I first clicked into the Pioneer 109 I felt as though Icelantic discovered the perfect ski that met the core demands of an everyday big mountain skier. Not only is the ski incredibly nimble in the skin track, but it also breaks trail more efficiently, and has more control than any other ski I’ve ever been on. My boot of choice these days is the Scarpa Freedom RS 103.
Mark on Loveland Pass / Photo: Doug Evans
What’s your go-to road trip snack?
9 times out of 10, I eat a baguette with brie cheese, prosciutto, and San Pellegrino mineral water.
What on-mountain snack do you always have in your bag?
I always keep chocolate and Pro-Bars (12) in my bag for sustenance.
What’s your preference when it comes to photos? Do you like to keep a camera on you to document epic days? What about a GoPro?
I always try and document the good days with my iPhone 6c and a small point and shoot camera. I think photos capture the soul of skiing more than video, but I dabble with the GoPro.
Mark in Clear Creek County / Photo: Doug Evans
You’ve been rocking this great Willie Nelson hair these days. Do you always like to ski with it braided or do you have other methods for controlling the mane?
I always rock the braids on stage, on trail, and in the backcountry. I make a nice blend of coconut oil and shea butter to keep my hair hydrated in dry mountain climates.
Can you tell us about some of your favorite places to ski right now?
Over last 10 seasons I've been fortunate enough to ski in Canada, Alaska, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Switzerland, France, Austria, Italy, and Russia. My favorite places to ski this season have been right here in Colorado! Vail, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Rocky Mountain National Park, Silverton, and Crested Butte.
"Like anything in life, if you truly have passion for something, give it a chance and you'll be amazed what you might find on the journey."
Ever since I was 13 years old I have made skiing and music an equal priority in life and through countless hours and injuries I've developed both skills professionally. Through networking and exposure I have earned 5 ski sponsors and countless friends. I have managed several ski shops in search of a ski industry career, but now my music career pays for my ski pass! Like anything in life, if you truly have passion for something give it a chance and you'll be amazed what you might find on the journey. For me, skiing has been a very important factor in my life and I make a point to mold my time to include it as much as I can. With that perseverance, I’ve been able to acquire great gear, great friends, and ski the deepest powder available supporting it all through my musical journey. - Happy Trails!