Born and raised in Kelowna, British Columbia, Sollors was on a very different track in high school with plans to attend McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and eventually become an architect. Snowboarding was merely a hobby he picked up at 8-years-old, following in his big brothers’ footsteps. It wasn’t until he won several local snowboarding competitions when he was 14 that he was discovered by Burton, a world famous snowboarding company, and later invited to join their team.
Growing up, he would spend every chance shredding Big White or Whistler mountains in British Columbia’s vast backcountry. It was a place where he could escape reality and school, he says, and only concern himself with jumping off cliffs and finding the perfect line down the mountainside. Some might say that getting up at 5 a.m. on a weekend would be a reality they’d rather avoid, but to Sollors, being surrounded by untamed nature is a humbling experience that makes it worthwhile.
In short, his job is to travel around the world with the rest of the Burton team, from one mountain to the next, and have his tricks filmed. Due to constant fluctuation of the temperature, ever changing force of winds, and unmarked terrain, the elements play a key role in determining the ride. Because no two days are alike out there, Sollors and his team are forced to rely on creativity to ensure they execute the jumps they’ve planned to hit.
Sollors’ ability to not only nail the trick but also to add his own touch is what makes him stand out from other riders. He, himself, guesses that his creativity might even be the reason why Burton noticed him in first place.
“It’s not the biggest and most impressive tricks that matter the most,” he says, “but the creativity in each trick that separates you from all the others.”
Philosophically, Sollors still views snowboarding as a hobby that happens to be his career.
“You have to love what you do to be successful,” Sollors says.
And at age 27, several years into his professional snowboarding career, having captured a job most snowboarding aficionados would dream to have, we will stop and listen to what this talented athlete has to say.
“It may take a few years to get there, and in my case I did not start making it until I was 21,” he says, “but you are only going to get better at what you’re doing if you’re having fun.”
Mark Sollors, Professional Snowboarder
Photography courtesy of Burton