Since winning the Air & Style in Innsbruck last month, Slovenia's Marko Grilc has become a major celebrity, getting mobbed by fans and appearing in Playboy (in an interview). We caught up with the current leader of the TTR Swatch Snowboard World Tour for a few questions between autograph requests...
How does it feel to be topping the TTR Swatch World Snowboard Tour world rankings?
It feels amazing. In my wildest dreams I never would have expected anything like this to happen. I find it kind of funny that all of a sudden everybody thinks of me as a favorite for the upcoming competitions; the season has barely begun and it will take a lot of work and good riding to maintain my current position.
You won your first six-star event at the Billabong Air & Style; what’s your best memory of the day?
The fact that I was just able to be there meant a lot to me. After having had such a bad accident, being able to return to Innsbruck and jump was awesome. This year there were so many people and their energy was amazing. They were standing so close to us. When I was declared the winner my mind went blank. Total blackout. I have no idea what happened afterwards.
Right after your win, you said on your website: "I am not forgetting who I am and where I come from." How would your best friend describe you?
I hope he’d say I’m a very simple person. If I set myself a goal, I’ll do anything to achieve it, irrespective of what other people might say or think. I would listen only to myself.
What are you most passionate about, and what can't you tolerate?
I’m passionate about many things, especially surfing. And I can’t tolerate people who have no passion in their lives.
A few days after your win at the Air & Style you gave an interview to Playboy magazine. How does a snowboard pro end up in Playboy?
I only did the interview to land a date with one of the Playboy Bunnies. Seriously, the interview was done by a guy who’s familiar with the snowboarding world, and it was about snowboarding.
Apart from being a lot busier, how has your life changed?
It feels nice to be greeted by people wherever I go. Passers-by simply walk up to me, congratulate me. I only expected to be recognized by people in the snowboarding world, so it surprises me to see that people not involved in the sport also know what’s going on.
Have you made any New Year's resolutions?
I want to stay healthy, and to keep enjoying what I do. I hope there won’t be too much work so that I can snowboard as much as possible.
What are your aims for this year?
I would like to ride in powder, and end this season with a good overall TTR ranking score.
Marko is in action (along with Red Bull teammates Sarka Pancochova and Iouri Podladtchikov) at the O’Neil Evolution 6Star event in Davos, Switzerland, this week. For more, info, visit RedBullSnowboarding.com.