Q&A: Mike Hornbeck on why “We can’t all be the same”
“Mini movie.” “Full part.” “Season edit.” Whatever you call it, Wreckallections is ten action-packed minutes of Mike Hornbeck doing what he does best. We caught up with the style master to get the low-down on how the project came together, while also picking his brain about the state of skiing today.
Yo Mike! What are you up?
I just got back from New Zealand shooting with Armada for the catalog. It was fun to be skiing again!
You just dropped “Wreckallections.” Can you tell us about the project?
It was a project that Armada and I came up with this season. I was going to be going on a few trips with Armada that weren’t with any film companies, so we just decided to make our own thing. [Armada videographer] Corey Stanton is really making their media top notch, which is really important for the company. I just wanted to ski in a different way this season. I think it worked out, because it was one of the best seasons I’ve had, and I was just winging it.
And you also made a book?
Yes. I really wanted to have something in hard copy. It was really fun making the book and I can’t wait to do another one. I think it adds to the segment really well, too. You can create a whole different vibe. It’s really cool to have to show homies and people who don’t ski. I’m making copies for my family, and a digital version, so everyone else can see it.
Do you think online “full parts” are the future of ski media?
I think they are a good thing for the athletes. It puts their skiing out there, available to the whole world. I really like movies too, though. There is something about that hard copy that you can’t beat. It’s more real, you know?
Watch: Mike Hornbeck’s Wreckallections
Tell me about the decision to step away from Level 1.
I just really wanted to get back on the tip that got me into their movies. I filmed six full parts with them, and I am proud of that. I knew I was going to be going with Tanner [Hall] to British Columbia when he was filming his [X Games] Real Snow video. I was all about helping him with that, while also riding new terrain. After going up there twice, I was really stoked to just keep doing what I was doing and keep filming with Armada.
I’ve been hearing more and more about La Familia…
It’s a group of us that love skiing. It goes all the way back to high school. It has been around for years, but we just never really did anything with it. Now that some of us have cameras, it’s always so much fun to go film with your homies. We are making spring gloves, mitts, t-shirts, and hats. It’s small right now, but it’s fun to try and create something. We made a movie this year called So It Begins. It is just a story about going and doing whatever, wherever. We weren’t out looking for anything in particular—just skiing.
What movies are you looking forward to seeing this year?
I am looking forward to seeing all the movies. The B and E movie is going to be a good watch! I can’t wait to see them ski. The Level 1 movie is going to be full of crazy ass skiing. I am really stoked to see Delorme, Ahmet, C-Lo, P-White… the list goes on.
Photo: Jess Tidswell
What have you learned about apparel/merchandise since starting up LaFa?
I learned that you don’t want to rush anything. Deadlines are good, but we are just trying to make things right and take it slow. I would rather take the time to create quality product.
What are your plans for the upcoming season?
No plans right now. I am going to be skiing in Washington a bunch. I am so stoked to move out there and ride those mountains.
What do you want to see more of in skiing?
I kind of want to see more people who are passionate about freeskiing. From what I see, a lot of people in the contest circuit don’t show what they are really about. I like hearing peoples’ opinions.
Where do you want skiing to be in five-10 years?
I want skiing to still be on the rise. Hopefully it is still fresh and people are doing different things in the industry. We can’t all be the same.
How did growing up in the Midwest affect the person/skier you are today?
It’s a humbling place, for sure. It really makes you stoked to go to other places and see different things.
Who inspires you?
People who create inspire me. Otherwise, you are just following, and that is never good.
Give us your thoughts on the Olympics.
Once you see the LaFa movie, you will see what I think about that. I don’t hate competitive skiing, but I just think it is so, so whack that FIS and USSA are back in our sport, throwing the “biggest event in freeskiing.” It’s got people changing their entire shit up just to compete in this one event. I think we, as athletes, need to get the control back in the right places.
Photo: Corey Stanton
What was your best day of the 12/13 season?
There were too many of them to count. It was the best season of my life. I love putting myself in a situation where I don’t know what is going to happen. I did that skiing in Britisih Columbia a bunch, and also with filming. I just sent it and tried to create something with Armada.
What do you still want to accomplish in your career?
So many things. I just want to help the sport of freeskiing as I see it. I want to throw events, tours, just a bunch of things where everyone can come have a good time. Growing up, it was never about beating someone or being better than them. I went to comps and events to meet people while skiing in different places.
Which skiers today get you stoked?
I like skiers who are doing something good for the sport and giving back.
How does it feel to have people looking up to you and considering you an inspiration?
I just want to get kids stoked on skiing. I am thankful to all the fans. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am at today. I like to create for the kids.