Two Minutes With Mikey Rencz

  • Ride
posted by James Willmott

Earning his well deserved spot as king of nature’s backcountry, Electric snowboarder Mikey Rencz is known for his sense of adventure, incredible skills and straight out lunacy on top of many of the world’s most secluded mountains. From countless magazine covers and incredible action packed video parts, he continues to push the boundaries of the sport like no tomorrow, and clearly there is no stopping him any time soon.

We caught two with the king of backcountry snowboarding to talk moving to Whistler, how he works with sponsors to perfect products for the market and find out the gnarliest thing to ever happen to him and his crew while up in the mountains.

You are known for backcountry freestyle riding and hitting huge kickers. Why did you choose backcountry over street?
I grew up in the mountains, so it was just natural to ride the hill and and backcountry. If I grew up in the city maybe I would have been drawn into street riding, but it wasn’t ever anything I was interested in.

You made the move to Whistler from Alberta when you were about 14, how did the move shape you into the rider you are today?
That was a big one actually. I was more of a park/pipe shredder before I moved, and then getting to whistler, it was snowing so much. So the parks and halfpipe were always full of powder, so we would just go hike around and build our own jumps and just ride the whole mtn. that was pretty much my transition into freeriding and not doing many contests anymore.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve thought about half way through a huge air?
The weirdest and worst thing is when you know you are going way past the landing, and you just think to yourself, “I’m f*%ked!” But generally, the bigger the jump is, the more time you have to correct yourself in the air to deal with big mistakes. If the jump is smaller and you f*%k up, there isn’t any time. You just get torched.

You’ve had countless magazine covers and epic video parts. What do you see as some of your career highlights?
Probably winning the X Games Real Snow. That opened up a lot of opportunities for me, and being on the Rider of the Year list a couple times was real cool. I got to race the Baja 1000 in Mexico once too, obviously not snowboarding, but making it to the finish line with the Monster team was an amazing experience.

It’s now Summer over in your neck of the woods. What will we catch you getting up to in the warmer climates?
I try to stay home as much as possible all the time, that is vacation for me. Just dirtbiking, sideXside racing, exploring the woods finding sick swimming spots. Drinking….

Who are you riding for?
Burton, Monster, Electric and Hitcase.

What influences do you have with working with your sponsors on the best products available to the market?
Quite a bit actually, for me being in the backcountry all the time, if the product can’t last a day in the worst elements, I’m f*%ed. So its awesome to be with brands that take the time to make sure everything is above and beyond the norm.

Best thing about being a part of these families?
I’ve been with most of these brands for so long, it really does have a sense of family. I’ve ridden for burton for 21 years or something like that…since a grom. And electric since they started. So its awesome to watch everything grow into what it is. We have an awesome crew at monster too and we always have some fun trips together in the off season. Hitcase it new for me but everyone at the company seems rad.

Tell us about working on the Burton Presents webisodes? We know you spent a full year filming with Jussi Oksanen. How was this as an experience?
Ya, I actually filmed with Jussi for 4 winters straight. He was so awesome to be around and learn from. In the beginning I don’t think either of us thought it would work out so perfectly, but starting out that first year filming together, it clicked real well. We both enjoy riding similar stuff and trusted each other with opinions. We just kept the ball rolling every year after that. We started out filming two Burton team movies, which was real fun, and then two seasons of the Burton Presents webisodes. It’s just so rad that Burton is down to have a full media team, and let us go out all winter chasing the snow as a crew, and then see the final product. Having a main goal each year is key for motivation.

Are there more episodes to come?
Ya, there will be some new stuff coming out this fall.

Apart from boarding itself, what are the aspects that draw you to backcountry snowboarding?
I love snowmobiling. It’s easily one of my favorite things to do, so being able to go out everyday and sled around and find shit to snowboard on, is so amazing. I also just like being in the mountains. We get to choose who we go with, and where we go, so that pretty much puts me exactly where I want to be, with the people I want to be around, doing what I love. It doesn’t get much better than that.

What music preps you for a day on the mountain?
I listen to about 95% hip hop. Anything on satellite radio in the morning gets me going.

If you had to choose one other profession, what would it be?
That’s a tough question for sure. Anything that would allow me to be in the mountains still.

What’s the gnarliest thing to ever happen while you were out and about on the mountains?
Probably this year. I landed straight on a hidden rock in the landing of this jump. I landed right on my ass on it. I immediately knew what happened and was just sliding down the land trying to feel my fingers and toes. We were super far out in the backcountry and luckily I was able to slowly sled my way out and get to the hospital.

Best things about living in Whistler?
I actually live about 45 minutes from Whistler now, in a different town. But just the benefit of waking up everyday and knowing that you could do so much different shit, and not have to travel anywhere. That’s my jam. I moved to this area originally for the winter but summers here are equally as good.

What’s next for Mikey Rencz?
Same shit really. Im just gonna take this summer in and get ready for next winter. Filming video parts and chasing snow is what I know best, so I can’t see a real change in my scenario any time soon.

*Imagery by Burton, Transworld & Onboard Magazine.