Under Armour Athlete Spotlight

Mark Abma (Canadian and environment lover)

mark_abma_heli_skiing

UNDER ARMOUR: Have you ever skied Mt. Bachelor? What do you like about it?

MARK: I spent a week at Mt.Bachelor last season and I really love it for the fact that you can circumnavigate around the whole volcano.  This ability to ski 360 degrees make Mt.Bachelor makes a very unique mountain to ski.  I really like that with every different aspect of the mountain, there is a different style of terrain.

UA: How did your mogul and park background influence your current skiing style?

M: I believe that my mogul background gave me a good foundation for balance, flow, agility and strength.  As a mogul skier, we are trying to make a rough and bumpy run look as smooth as possible.  These attributes help out whether you’re skiing a mogul line, backcountry line or the resort.  When I transitioned to a park skier, I took the foundation and motivation that I had as a mogul skier into learning new tricks and competitions.  So much of skiing is having a calm and clear mind, and all those days of competition has helped me out with finding composure on top of a big line or dropping into a cliff or kicker.  I feel its this background that created me into the skier that I am today.

UA: How do you layer for a day in the backcountry?

M: I have a UA base layer next to my skin, this layer is breathable, flexible and warm. Next I have the Cold Gear Reactor on top of the Base layer.  This layer ensures that I stay warm for most of the day, but if I'm going to start hiking then I can take this off to help regulate my temperature. The outer layer is a shell, this is super important because it’s whats handling the elements.  Whether it’s snowing, raining, or hail, this layer keeps me dry and protected.

UA: Is it important for skiers to be stewards of the environment?

M: I think it’s important for everybody to be stewards of the environment and do their part.  We as skiers do interact with the environment quite closely, so we tend to notice when the temperatures are acting irregular and erratically.  We all live on the same planet, and we should all be taking care it.  

UA: What’s the key to your stamina as a pro skier? How do you stay healthy?

M: I focus a lot on what I eat and taking care of my body.  I believe that it’s important to eat organic and whole food.  Food is our fuel and energy, so I believe that eating whole and super foods that digest easily translates into having higher energy in your day.  I put a lot of effort into maintaining strength and flexibility.  This means I spend time in the gym and on my bike to maintain strength, cardio and agility.  Without stretching or doing yoga, my body gets super tight, which can result in injury.  I believe it’s important to spend as much time stretching as I do exercising.

UA: Is it difficult to find vegetable oil to fuel your truck or to keep it running in cold weather?

M: It’s really easy for me to find vegetable oil for my truck.  There’s lots of restaurants around me that are looking to get rid of oil.  By me coming and collecting their oil, I’m helping them out and they’re helping me out.  Winter temperatures are not an issue with the truck running on vegetable oil.  The vegetable oil tank has a heater, it takes to 2-3 minutes to heat the vegetable oil after starting the truck on diesel.  In the summer time it might will take 1-2 minutes, so it’s not much of a difference between summer and winter driving.

UA: Favorite off-season outdoor sports?

M: My favourite of season outdoor sports are biking, kiteboarding, surfing and camping…not in that particular order.

UA:  Describe your favorite skiing memory (location, conditions, experience details).

M: My favourite skiing memory was in Gulmarg, India.  It snowed over a meter the first week we were there and the gondola was closed on the mountain.  We ski toured to a zone near to the village called “Monkey Hill.” It was a fun little tree zone with some pillows for fun features.  I dropped into a pillow line and the monkeys started screaming and hollering as I was skiing under them.  That was an experience that I’ll never forget.

UA:  What mountain is on your bucket list?

M: I’ve got a couple on the list: Jackson Hole, Arlberg

UA: Who’s your ski/snow hero?

M: JP Auclair is definitely one of my top ski heroes.  He embodied all aspects of skiing.  Whether it was park, urban jibbing, backcountry kickers, big mountain lines and mountaineering.  He loved it all!

UA: What crossover workouts do you enjoy off-mountain to compliment your on-snow training?

M: I really enjoy enduro mountain biking.  I feel it’s really increased my cardio and overall fitness.  It’s very similar to ski touring in the way that you have to work hard to get to the top of the mountain and then you get the reward of allowing gravity to enhance the experience.  On a single track it’s all about finding flow and rhythm, which is what I aspire for on my skis as well.

UA: What’s your start gate song?

M: R.E.D by a Tribe called Red

UA: Batman or Superman?

M: I do like Batman’s gadgets and what not, but I’d have to say that I prefer Super Man because he’s tapped into his Super Power.  

UA: Preferred pizza topping?

M: Pineapple