Growing up in pancake-flat Saskatchewan, Mark McMorris never expected to make an impact on the sporting world, let alone becoming one of snowboarding’s biggest stars. McMorris is feeling the same way about receiving a University of Regina honorary degree.
“Honestly, I never thought I would receive anything like this,” he says.
“Being recognized with an honorary degree from the University of Regina is a huge honour.”
The Saskatchewan snowboarder is one of the most decorated athletes in the discipline’s history, holding three Olympic medals, twenty-two X Games medals and four US Open Championship wins.
All of the medals are special, McMorris says, but his win earlier this year is significant because it came down to his last run. “All bases loaded, I needed to land, got bumped from first to second, and then I rose to the occasion.”
McMorris has rebounded from several injuries over his career, most recently a broken ankle suffered at Revelstoke, B.C., in February 2023. He was fortunate, he says, that the break did not require surgery. Rehabbing is never a fun process, he notes, but the number one reason he has been able to return after injuries is his passion for snowboarding and competing.
“This is not my first rodeo. I have been through this process before, and the most notable thing is that as you heal physically you heal mentally. You always have to remember that.”
McMorris is also a trailblazer on social media, and he lets his personality shine through, attracting fans and brand partners alike. He was named the most socially engaged Olympian at Sochi 2014 by SportsBusiness Journal and has partnered with many top brands in the snowboarding and lifestyle space over the years.
McMorris strives to inspire others and build his legacy. In 2012 he and his brother Craig, a professional snowboarder and broadcast commentator, launched the McMorris Foundation to help Canadian children in need participate in sports. As a kid, McMorris says, he played every sport under the sun, and he is thankful for his background in other sports because it helped shape his snowboarding career.
“When I started making a living off snowboarding it was a no-brainer to create a foundation and try to give back, and give kids a similar opportunity to what I had growing up.”
The McMorris Foundation has raised over $350,000 and helped to provide over 3,500 Canadian kids with athletic opportunities.
While he continues to rehab his ankle - a short video updating his progress, showing him working out in the gym - is available at his website, markmcmorris.com - he is eyeing upcoming competitions in the X Games, the Natural Selection Tour (which hosts backcountry snowboard competitions in different locations around the world), and the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Competing has given him an incredible work ethic, McMorris says, and a drive to reach his goals. “I think competition keeps you on your toes, and I’ve been able to succeed when the pressure is on.”
McMorris plans to keep pursuing his love of snowboarding, continue excelling at the highest level of the sport, and have fun while doing it.
McMorris recieved an honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa (LLD) on June 14.