Mark Hendrickson is one of Fresh’s favourite athletes. The Calgary-born and raised park skier has been on the Canadian National Team since 2014 and has numerous top ten finishes on the Slopestyle World Cup circuit, including a first place in 2020 in Front Romeu, France. But before all of that, Mark skied with the Calgary Freeriderz. In fact, Mark’s parents are avid Calgary skiers and had him on snow by the age of three. They dragged Mark around to all the typical Western Canada resorts when he was young, but his usual teenage routine included nights at COP and weekends at Lake Louise.
A world-class skier who’s travelled to the best terrain parks on every continent but knows our local resorts? He’s the perfect guy to help us choose the right park skis! We talked to Mark in France, where he’s between World Cup slopestyle competitions and had just wrapped up the Absolut Park Spring Battle in Austria.
Mark’s sponsored by Line Skis, Peak Performance Snow, XSPEX, and Fresh Skis.
As one of the top slopestyle skiers in the world, Mark needs different skis than we probably do. Hitting 100-foot airs and spinning quads demands a different ski underfoot than learning to do your first 540 on a medium-sized table top or playing around in the rail park.
Mark competes on the Line Tom Wallisch Pro, a lightweight and stiff freestyle ski. It has a low swing weight which helps with spinning, but it maintains a lot of pop and a stiff tail to stomp those monster airs.
Mark- “The Tom Wallisch is great for spinning and doing doubles. It’s light, and it doesn’t feel like you’re dragging around these big skis when you are spinning. And it’s stiff to help hold onto bigger landings; it has a bit of forgiveness that way.”
Mark skis the whole Line collection throughout the year, though. The Line Chronic is a favourite of his when he’s not competing because it’s super durable (the kind of skiing these guys do it HARD on equipment!) and has a softer, friendlier flex than the Tom Wallisch Pro. It allows skiers to butter and smear more, even at lower speeds, and it’s designed to bring a freestyle flare to the entire mountain, not just the terrain park.
Mark- “When I’m at home, I’m riding the Chronic cause it’s more playful and opens up the door for all the things I don’t get to do in big air contests.”
BTW, Line just released the new 2023/24 Chronic with a limited edition Travelling Circus graphic, and we have them in stock right now!
A step further is the Line Blend for when Mark wants to play around and get creative without going huge. With the new Blend, Line tried to maximize the “buttery Blend flex and feel.” They extended the sidecut and widened the tip and tail, allowing you to “#Bendyourblends like never before.”
Mark- “A lot of people really love how the Blend flexes and opens doors to new tricks. It can be really creative if you are hitting rails or urban stuff at a slower speed. I think a stiffer ski is better when you are doing things at faster speeds, but these can be more playful and creative.”
These three skis all have waist widths between 90mm and 100mm. On the world cup circuit, Mark says most competitors are on skis between 86mm and 96mm wide (his Tom Wallisch Pro’s are 90mm), but if you want to use the skis all over the mountain, a bit wider can be a good idea. The downside to wider is that the skis are a bit lower edge to edge, and you lose a bit of that quick control.
Mark shredding COP early on.
Mark- “Narrower skis help you maneuver on rails. It’s just the edge control for spinning. With a wider ski, there’s just more of a lag time.”
What about length? Mark is 5 foot, 9 inches tall and 180 pounds. He rides a 179cm ski in the park, so a little shorted than most all mountain skiers his size and ability might, but not crazy short either. Most park specific skis aren't made any longer than 184cm.
Looking for a different brand?
The Edollo from Armada is Henrik Harlaut’s signature ski, perfect for park laps or freestyle around the mountain. Armada says, “The Edollo is built for maximum nose-pressability, durability and confidence in the park.”
And if you want to take the flexing and buttering even further, the Armada Bdog was designed by the urban master Phil Casabon to press and bend in unreal ways and to open up a new realm of possibilities for skiers, especially on man-made features.