Mark Carter Wrassles Hump Day

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Carter Portrait 2-1-2

Portrait: Sean Black

Few men can flip calves and ride horses as gracefully as they can flip tricks and ride mountains. This cowboy-snowboarder half-breed is a man’s man and you do not want to mess with him. One time, while herding cattle on his ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, Carter kicked an unruly horse in the chin. The descendants of that horse are known today as giraffes. Carter’s own personal brand (pun intended) of reckless but calculated snowboarding has landed him in snowboarding’s spotlight over the past few years. He’s had cameos in the Brainfarm videos, full parts in TGR videos; he’s been on the podium at the North Face Masters and the Natural Selection. Hell, he’s even competed in the X-Games Real Snow, all the while running Carter Country Meats with his brother. Just be careful about the meat packing jokes around this ranch hand, or you’ll just as soon wind up with one of his signature toothpicks in your eye. – Sean Black, professional photographer.

Recall your introduction to snowboarding. How old were you? Where was it? How did it make you feel?

Snowboarding was about as foreign as clean shoes where I grew up. So, the first time I saw someone doing it, my mind was blown. It was around 1988 up at the local ski hill of Meadow Lark Resort when I caught my first glimpse of snowboarding. He was a local legend and one of two snowboarders there at the time. Charlie Hicks was his name and he continues to inspire and be my friend to this day. I started out skiing due to the school would bring us up on Fridays if our grades were up to par and a lift ticket was $3. It was nothing but an old poma lift so you had to learn to one foot before you could strap in. Money was tight so I had to pick my battles and $3 I could afford. Any excuse to get off the ranch meant time I could spend not working and doing something a kid would enjoy. I’ll never forget seeing Chuck shred down the hill with his husky close in pursuit. At that moment everything changed for me. I had to ditch the skis and get a board. After a year of begging my mom she made it happen. She always had my back when it came to supporting things that encouraged me to be outdoors. Charlie took me under his wing and showed me the light. The rest is history.

What was tougher – your first time wrestling a steer or snowboarding for the first time?

I’ve taken a lot of beatings over the years snowboarding but nothing can lay a hurting on you like livestock.

How would you describe your approach to riding a snowboard. Seems like you aren’t afraid to hang it out there?

My approach to snowboarding is all about respect for the mountains. Everything I do is sort of a calculated risk. I chose to be in the mountains with people that have my back. “Guch” and that matter and are dedicated. It’s about the natural flow either navigating the mountains or riding a line. I don’t believe in forcing things. I like to ride fast and get airtime so I’m usually looking for those types of lines but I never have a set plan. I’m always on the lookout for sick natural features.

20130313_jksn_carter_001Jackson Hole. Photo: Tim Zimmerman

You just got on Arbor this last season. Guch too! Rad! How did the season go?

So stoked to have joined the Arbor program! It’s truly an amazing brand with amazing people heading it up. It’s a dream to be on such a team with Guch. We had a pretty solid winter in Jackson Hole. I spent most of it there filming and on the recon for new zones. I really don’t need to go anywhere else other than Chile and AK. It was a very fun and productive season for me .

There is something magical about the snowboarding and the riders that come out of the Tetons. Please tell us about that.

Jackson is just such a magical place. The mountains are enormous and provoking. You have to put some serious time into it even to start to understand the flow. With that said, there is a reason that the riders coming out of JH have insane board control and heavy knowledge of the mountains. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not prepared. It’s the best resort on this planet, in my opinion. The mountain breeds talent T-Rice, Guch, Mcmillon, Pitman, Paul, Dowell, Dunstan, Yoder and it’s been proven time and time again. I’m truly blessed to call it home.

What’s the deal with the toothpick? Do you feel naked without one? Have toothpicks ever injured you?

Out with the Copenhagen, in with the toothpick. It’s kind of an oral fixation. Daneson makes the best wood for picking. No injuries, I’m pro bud.

Is it difficult to snowboard with such large balls?

Just when it’s cold.

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Another crappy day at Jackson. Photo: Tim Zimmerman

What’s it like pulling a newborn calf out of a cow’s warm vagina?

Well that depends on if it’s a blizzard or a nice sunny day. You can always count on it being messy though. Can’t be to afraid of after birth up to your arm pit and maybe getting slapped with a little cow shit in your mouth. It builds character. There is something rewarding about bringing new life into this world. Ranching is tough work and the people who do it full time are the toughest. Fortunately, calving season is in the winter so I’ve missed about the last 12 years of it. My brother RC heads up the real ranching shit. He’s tougher than fuck!

You straddle two worlds really really well – the snowboard world & ranch life. These are two very different, distinct cultures. How do they play off each other for you and what good aspects of both do you most personify?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have found a balance in my life. Snowboarding is my passion and has given me opportunities that I could never have dreamed of. It all came from having a solid foundation that was built from growing up on the ranch. We were taught appreciation for nature and how to work for the things you want. I spend all of my summers on my families ranch filling in where I can. Spending time there really makes me appreciate my winter life and all I get to do.

What’s gotten you more injured -working on the ranch or snowboarding?

I think both have dealt their pain but for me I would have to say the ranch is a bit more painful.

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Jackson Hole. Photo Tim Zimmerman

The Carter family has their own beef. What’s great about it and how do Yobeat readers sink their teeth into some?

We raise happy cows on our land. They are free to roam the vast range in the Big Horn mountains making for the tastiest beef you have ever had. We take really good care of our animals, it is our life’s work. My brother and I recently started selling to restaurants and should have our program dialed soon to be able to ship to our customers. There is something gratifying about feeding people amazing food. We are doing things different than most. I want to feed people nutrient dense food and not a bunch of junk for their bodies. There is so much shit out there these days and people need to pay attention to what they are putting in their bodies. Eat beef, shred hard www.cartercountrymeats.com.

Getting up at the crack of dawn, bottle feeding calves or branding 600 head of cattle in 4 hours. What’s the shittiest aspect of ranch life?

I guess it’s just how you look at it. Yes, there are a ton of jobs over the years I hated but it all made me tough as hell. It all was beneficial in some way and made me a better man. With that said, I hate irrigation and farming so I try to stay far away from that side of things. I really enjoy working with our cattle and doing cowboy shit.

Have you ever branded yourself or friends on purpose or accident?

Seems like it could be good side money. I was branded once by accident when we were branding calves but that’s it. I have friends that thought it was a good idea to get brands, it wasn’t.

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Pitted. photo: Tim Zimmerman

How do you prepare for the season?

To prepare for winter I just try to be on my feet outside as much as possible. I ride my mountain bike a lot to keep the legs and lungs strong. I eat healthy and try to fly fish as much as I can to keep the brain straight. In the fall I’ll spend a few weeks gathering cattle on my dirt bike so that gets me ready for sled season. In general, I just like to keep moving.

Do you have any words of wisdom for the Yobeat faithful?

Follow your path, only you know it.

Sponsors?

The North Face, Arbor Snowboards, Smith Optics, Carter Country Meats, Elm Company, Tender Belly, Bluebird Wax, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Cheetah Racks, Traeger Grills, Daneson Toothpicks, Remind Insoles

17 replies
  1. TROOF
    TROOF says:

    THE MINI GRAND CANYON THAT OPENED UP NEAR TENSLEEP OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS?

    IF THIS BRAND NEW MINI GRAND CANYON GETS ANY SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL THIS YEAR, HOW DANGEROUS WOULD IT BE TO FILM A FULL VIDEO PART EXCLUSIVELY INSIDE IT’S TRANSITIONED WALLS?

    TRICE WOULD PROBABLY GO FOR THE FULL CANYON MEGA GAP APPROACH STRAIGHT OFF THE BAT AND JUST SCARE EVERYONE ELSE DOWN BELOW WHILST THEY BE SHREDDING IN THE CANYON’S CRAZY SNOW SCULPTED TERRAIN PARK.

    MASSIVE WALL RIDING SCENARIOS ABOUND.

      • TROOF
        TROOF says:

        I’M NOT YELLING, MY KEYBOARD AHS BEEN STUCK ON CAPS LOCK FOR LIKE YEARS NOW. THIS IS MY NORMALLY TYPED CONVERSION.

        • TROOF
          TROOF says:

          THE MINI GRAND CANYON IS A NEW GEOLOGICAL LANDSLIDE EVENT THAT HAS RECENTLY OCCURRED IN THE BIGHORN MOUNTAINS OF WYOMING, APPARENTLY SOMEWHERE NEAR TEN SLEEP.

          THEY ARE CALLING IT: “THE GASH.”

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