10th Apr 2016
Mike Rowlands recently released his latest video Sprezzatura - The art of doing a difficult task so gracefully, that it looks effortless. The video is a compilation of all of his street footage from the past few years and clearly shows why he is one to watch over the next few years. Mike has been riding for Planks since he was just a grom, and is now getting ready to finish school, so we decided it was time to catch up with him and find out what his plans are for the future.
Hey dude! Why don’t you start by letting everyone know where you’re at right now and what you’re up to? I'm currently back in the UK doing nothing but studying before my final A-level exams in June.
How hard is it to balance your skiing with finding time to study? To be completely honest, I try to put in effort with my school work, but sometimes I do get lazy with it. Luckily the season finishes just before exam time starts so it gives me a solid month of revision before I have to do any exams.
What’s your plans once your all done with school? I'm looking into all options at the moment, but I want to focus completely on skiing.
How important is it to carry on with other things like education outside of your skiing career? I think it's important to make sure I keep up things like school and having a job because it gives me something to fall back on if the worst was to happen in skiing.
Filming on the notorious Zillertal closeout for Perspective Studios Photo: Joe Webster
You’re currently carrying a bit of an injury, what exactly did you do and how’s the recovery process been? I was just lapping in Laax and I dared my coach and friend, Joe Tyler to do a switch backflip on a small jump and he bailed out. So I thought that I would show him up and do it too but I took in too much speed and missed the landing and something in my knee popped. After that, I flew home and got an MRI, the results of which was Bone bruising in my knee cap and femur. The recovery process has been quite lengthy because I just have to wait for the bruising to heal completely before I do anything.
You seem to have been fairly lucky when it comes to injuries up until now, is there a key to staying fit or is it just an inevitable part of our sport? Before the past year I hadn't done much in the way of strength and conditioning in the gym, so I would put my lack of injury down to luck. Skiing is a dangerous sport and I think that if you want to do it properly, injuries are inevitable. It's just a matter of time. You just have to be prepared to take the time out and recover.
Looking for creative new features in Sierra Nevada, Spain Photo: Harry Foskett
You have spent quite a bit of time shooting urban over the past couple of years, has that taken a much bigger toll on your body than just training in the park? Unlike park riding, if you have a little crash riding urban, it kills! Urban does take its toll on you, because there is usually only a few inches of snow covering the concrete. I have a lot of little scars and niggles all over my body from different trips.
So what’s the main attraction of hitting street? For me, I think that riding street is so much more creative than riding park. You can make a really sick urban edit that can be a completely different style to another persons urban segment. Look at the difference between the features and the style of people like Henrick, Real Skifi and Stept. That's why urban is sick!
Off to rob a bank!! Sierra Nevada, Spain Photo: Harry Foskett
You’ve grown up skiing indoors, how does that prepare you for filming street parts? Nothing really prepares you for riding urban. Obviously riding snow domes usually makes you a good rail rider, but transferring your skills to urban features is a lot harder than most people think because there are so many variables apart from your own riding that effect the tricks you can do.
Whats your main goal over the next couple of years? Are you going to continue concentrating on film parts or are you looking to start going more down the competition route? I've been looking into trying to do both. I want to compete and progress my park skiing but I also really enjoy making film segments. It's a difficult choice, so I just can't make it, so I think I'm going to try to do both.
We've been lucky enough to shred a few pow laps together in the past, is that something you want to get more into? I actually love riding powder, it's so much fun and the range of features you can ride is basically endless. I really want to try to get a crew together to do a backcountry filming trip next year. So if anyone reading this has any trips planned, hit me up!
Slushy spring booters in Sierra Nevada, Spain Photo: Harry Foskett
Any final shoutouts or thank you’s? Just want to say thank you to all of my sponsors for their continuing support. Thanks to all the guys at Planks for this interview and the opportunities they've given me!
Mike recently released his latest video part, Sprezzatura - The art of doing a difficult task so gracefully, that it looks effortless. The video is a full recap of all of his street footage from the past few years and clearly shows why he is one to watch over the next few years.To keep up to date with everything Mike's doing, just follow him on his Website, Facebook or Instagram.