Julia Marino is one of the best snowboarders in the current snowboarding world. She launched into said world and initial success by pure chance and raw talent. Jules started snowboarding because she broke her skis and her dad refused to buy her replacements because she had a snowboard gathering dust. She got her break in the international scene by fluke also – she was attending as an alternate at the World Cup at Fenway Park big air event in February 2016. Her teammate Ty Walker was injured during training and she got her debut. She knocked it out of the park winning the event, while also boarding on her first scaffold jump.
As a rookie, in the 2017 X Games at Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain, she won gold in Slopestyle and a bronze in Big Air, the first female snowboard athlete to win two medals at the same Games in 17 years. On her gold medal run, she became the first female to land a Cab 900 double underflip in an X Games women’s Slopestyle contest. She followed this up at the X Games in Hafjell, Norway, with a silver in Big Air and a bronze in Slopestyle, for a total of four X Games medals in her rookie year. The rest, as they say, is history and she is on her way into the 2018 Winter X Games followed two weeks later by an odds favourite at PyeongChange 2018 Winter Olympics.
Jules was kind enough to find some time between honing her snowboard superhero skills to not only do one but two interviews with Snowboard.com. We spoke to her in November via email and then our man at Dew Tour 2017, Will Mayo, got a chance to sit down and chat to her between shredding in Breckenridge.
We can’t thank you enough Jules and wish you all the luck in the world in the upcoming season – there’s a certain office on the other side of the world who will be cheering you on come January.
THE JULIA MARINO EMAIL INTERVIEW – November 2017
We’ve heard the story of you breaking a ski and your dad giving you a board to ride as a replacement, but what was it that primarily caused you to fall in love with snowboarding and choose to make it your main discipline?
Funny, I had riden a few days on my board before that trip, but I always thought that I loved skiing more because I was better at it. It wasn’t until I was “forced” to spend quality time on my board during that vacation that I fell in love with it, though. I felt more creative and connected to snowboarding’s uniqueness. The creativity aspect with snowboarding becomes really apparent when you’re riding down the slopes and you realize that there are really no boundaries. I felt free to do whatever I wanted.
Coming from skiing and now always snowboarding, do you ever miss skiing or return for a bit of double plank action?
At first, I definitely missed skiing. When I was 13, I still went back to skiing every now and then, but after that, not too much. I remember when I was around 15 or 16, I tried skiing again for a day or two on our annual family vacation in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and I absolutely destroyed my feet! They were very bruised from being in ski boots. It was really uncomfortable. I had gotten used to wearing comfy snowboard boots! Going off jumps and jamming my toes into the front of the boots didn’t help much, either. I couldn’t walk comfortably for at least two weeks after that trip. Looking back, I suppose now thinking about skiing for a day or two with a couple of snowboarding friends would probably be really funny and probably a blast – as long as I just avoid the big kickers!
You recently joined the Mountain Dew team with veteran style master Danny Davis and slopestyle wonder kid Red Gerard. That’s exciting news, does this mean free Mountain Dew for life?
Heck yeah! I’m going to have hot and cold running Mountain Dew in my house, haha! I’m also really stoked to be involved in doing things with Mountain Dew’s other sponsored riders, Danny Davis and Red Gerard – they lead such active/exciting lives. It’s cool that Mountain Dew supports and promotes that.
What is a current day in the life of Julia Marino training?
During the winter, my focus in on hill training, but I do get to travel to some pretty amazing places. When I get back from the hill, I love to go for run/hike on a scenic trail or small road in the countryside and just explore the country and experience the culture I’m in. Those kinds of off-mountain activities never fail to energize me because they’re never the same. For example, today I went mountain/rock climbing across a river with a friend of mine. It was both physically and mentally challenging, but absolutely beautiful. Stuff like that really helps me clear my mind for when I’m on my board.
We are a little concerned with the 2018 Winter Olympics being less than two weeks after Winter X Games – are you concerned and how does this affect your prep?
When I first looked at the schedule and saw how close the two were, I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it. I thought maybe that it was going to be super stressful to have the two back to back. But now, I feel that X Games, being such huge contest for me, will be a good prep for the Winter Olympics and will help keep my mindset of competing fresh in my head, rather than taking a huge break between the two where I might come down off the adrenaline high and need to spend a lot of extra energy kicking it back up for the biggest competition of my life. The atmosphere of the two contests seem to also be very similar – between the athletes who attend and the higher level of courses. I think it makes for the perfect pre-Winter Olympic practice.
Does the snowboarding elite compete in both or will a few people concentrate solely on Olympics with fear of possible injury? Or does everyone just go hard?
I’m not entirely sure. I haven’t really talked to athletes a whole lot about that because I would assume that everyone getting invited to X Games would definitely love to compete. Not to mention, it’s a hard contest to get into, so getting an invite is a pretty huge deal for any athlete working to compete at a professional level. And I suppose if they are concerned, there’s always X Games Norway after the Winter Olympics!
We’ve checked out your awesome training videos from the Maximise facility. Do you train for events or do you train to nail the discipline of particular tricks, and then shape those tricks into an event run – Or is it just pure freestyling?
Since it’s just a single jump at Max’s, I definitely focus more on dialing in the more complex / advanced tricks that I’m working on, since I might be more hesitant to try them on snow. It’s the first step before linking a series of those tricks in a competition run. Once I’m on snow where there are two to three jumps in a row, I’ll try linking these tricks together. Smaller tricks that are more for style I just practice on snow when I’m goofing around and having fun with my friends.
What’s your biggest “oh shit” moment?
When I was 13 years old and started getting more into snowboarding, I joined the local Stratton Mountain Snowboard Team. It was pretty much a bunch of dudes between the ages of eight and 15. I was the only girl, so I was consistently following the guys. A couple of the kids my age and older were hitting what was, at the time, a pretty big jump at Okemo Mountain. Obviously, I wanted to keep up with the pack, so I dropped in full speed towards the massive-looking jump. I didn’t realize that the lip had some serious late kick to it, so I got completely bucked upside down. It felt like I was in the air for forever and it seemed like everything was in slow motion.
I remember hearing some of the boys standing on the knuckle of the jump screaming “Oh shit, she’s going to miss the landing!” and my coach running with his arms out screaming “I got her, I got her!” It must’ve been an instant reaction for him to say that because there was no way he was going to catch me. I remember thinking, well, this isn’t good, because I was air chairing and overshooting the entire landing of the jump. So I pretty much landed at the very bottom of the landing on my back and just laid there contemplating what happened. I thought I would need to be taken down in a sled, but surprisingly wasn’t hurt at all. I just got up and rode down the rest of the park. Lesson learned to check out the jump ahead of time.
What’s your favorite mountain of all time and why?
Favorite mountain is probably Vail. It’s mine and my dad’s go-to spot to ride pow days because the mountain is so big, it never gets tracked out. Plus, there’s an insane amount of trails so you never get bored riding the same thing.
Favorite International resort?
For parks, probably Stubai Glacier. They always put together a super smooth line of jumps and a ton of fun rails to jib. That’s usually the go-to spot for a lot of athletes to get on snow before the season kicks in and we’re travelling all over the world for different contents.
I think one of the most influential riders for style and creativity is Marcus Kleveland….it’s like watching someone play a video game
You train with Laurie Blouin during the offseason. When it comes to competition do you help and encourage each other, or is it all bets off, win at all costs, terminator mode kick in?
Not at all. It’s super progressive to train with someone who’s not only at the same skill level as you, but who is also one of your best friends. We are constantly pushing each other to do new and bigger tricks. And we have fun with it! It’s never really competitive to the point where trying to beat each other – to be the first, or to be the most stylish – in any negative way. If I see Laurie do a crazy trick or something that I’ve never done before, I think, wow, that was super stylish and clean, I want to do that too! It just makes me work harder to step up my game and the two of us have fun building off of each other’s tricks. I definitely push myself a lot more when I’m riding with her.
Who are your biggest influences?
I think one of the most influential riders for style and creativity is Marcus Kleveland. Watching him snowboard is like watching someone play a video game. He’s insanely smooth and creative with all his tricks. One of my biggest influential shredders is for sure Nora Voscancellos. Even though she is a skateboarder, I would say that she is pretty popular among the girl snowboarding population, because she absolutely slays it on a skateboard. If you’ve ever checked out her Instagram, she’s constantly posting videos of her mad skate skills, mixed with goofy stuff too, which makes her style so entertaining to watch. She can easily laugh at herself when she messes up and then get right back onto her board. You can see that she’s always super positive and having a blast doing what she’s doing, which for me is what makes her so influential.
Who are your competitors to beat for 2018?
It’s funny, because these big competitors are also my really close friends. The ones who I’d say I’m always neck and neck with in terms of skill are Jamie Anderson, Anna Gasser, Hailey Langland, Silje Norendal and Laurie Blouin. Those are all crazy talented and strong riders and I definitely need to be on my A-game when I’m competing against them. But, honestly, even when we are all competing, we’re talking and having fun and supporting one another – which definitely puts the word ‘competitor’ in lighter terms.
With the Cab 900 double under being the move you smashed first in competition – what’s the next move you plan on owning? What’s next career-wise?
I definitely want to change things up this year by starting with a clean slate and coming up with a whole new combination of runs with completely different tricks to keep things fresh and new not only for myself, but for the people watching. For example, I’ve been working on different 1080 corks and who knows, maybe even a triple cork. A lot of the girls have been really stepping up the game to an entirely new and sick level this past year and half, and I think everyone watching is going to be really excited and amazed to see the crazy tricks that we are all going to be throwing down this year.
Do you take your guitar with you on the competition road? And what’s your current go-to chill song you love playing?
When I go places like Maximise that I can get to by car, I always take my guitar with me. Unfortunately, all of my competitions I have to travel by plane, so I don’t get to travel with my guitar. I have a bunch of stuff that I need to take with me, so I just don’t have the space for it. My go-to songs are probably Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Black Bird by The Beatles, and Meet Me in the City by the Black Keys.
Favorite movie all time? Snowboard Movie?
I’m a big fan of movies but if I had to choose my favorite, it would either be a recent one that I saw, The Kingsman 2, or one classic favorite My Cousin Vinny, especially since my dad is from Brooklyn. Favorite snowboard movie is As If or Chulcksmack. Those were the first two snowboard movies I ever saw and still my favorites.
Favorite junk food cheat meal?
I have a big sweet tooth for ice cream. Pretty much any flavor of Ben & Jerry’s is definitely my go-to cheat meal.
With our interviewees, we would like to do a little “hot or not” section with their answers. If you’re interested we would like to get 4 or 5 things that you’re really stoked on at the moment. It could be in snowboarding or just life in general. Then on the flip side, 4 or 5 things that are not so cool, or that annoy you.
Season 2 of Stranger Things
Heading into some fresh powder with my new powder board
Jolly Christmas vibes
My future puppy that I’m going to get when I have my own house
Polarized politics coming out in a few days
Not being able to have a puppy because it’s frowned upon in this establishment (my parents’ house)
In closing what advice would you give to little baby boarders and mini shredders who want to be like you in the future?
I would tell them to recognize how much snowboarding allows them to be creative when trying new tricks and to not be shy to have a ton of fun with that aspect of it just because it may be slightly different from the normal way of doing things.
Full Name: Julia Marino
Discipline: Slopestyle and Big Air
DOB: 11th September 1997
Home town: Westport, Connecticut
Coach: Max Hénault
Sponsors: Mountain Dew