Martin Robertson has been in the snowboard scene for quite some time–over sixteen years to be exact. Hailing from a small island off the coast of Scotland, one might not expect the drive to be a pro snowboarder to be in his blood. However, Robertson made sure that his future would entail a great deal of riding, no matter what it took.
Photo courtesy of Marty Robertson
Marty first got involved in serious snowboarding while he was back on his home turf in Scotland, where he nabbed his first shop sponsor. After traveling to the small resort of Bear Mountain, California, he gained more recognition and his career took off from there. He now resides in Mammoth Lakes, California, where he is looking to amp up his game in a fresh new season and excel more than ever. He has big plans to immerse himself more so in the backcountry versus the park to change things up a bit. He’ll also be filming and shooting with local filmmakers and photographers. We caught up with the transplant to see what he has in store for the upcoming year and get some details on his past.
Where did you grow up riding and how did you get into it?
I grew up riding homemade snowboards when I was 12 or 13 years old. It started with a couple of my friends back home on the Island of Skye, Scotland. We all used to skate and when winter rolled around we took the wheels and trucks off our boards, sanded the bases and nailed in cut-up bike inner tubes as bindings. Our parents would drop us off at the base of this mountain and we would hike to the top and just point our decks to the bottom. It was super fun. You couldn’t turn them or anything. We would build kickers and rails and tried to ollie over sheep. Good times!
It wasn’t until a few years later my parents took me on a ski holiday to Andorra, where I had my first proper snowboard lesson. I never looked back after that. I hassled my parents to buy me a real snowboard for a year or so until I finally got one. I think it slept in bed with me for about a year after that!
What was it like growing up in a small fishing village?
Growing up on a small Island off the northwest coast of Scotland was definitely awesome, just not for snowboarding! Skye is a magical place and I couldn’t have imagined being born and raised up in a better place. The town I grew up in, Portree, is the capital and the nearest mountain with ski lifts was a 30 minute ferry crossing and 3-hour drive away…saying that, our winters are very different to anywhere else. We would be lucky if we got two weeks of snow and good weather. It usually is super windy and wet. Snowboarding in 60 mph horizontal rain on a one foot or lower base of snow isn’t that great. But it definitely makes you appreciate the good snow and weather everywhere else and you know how to withstand the elements after growing up in such harsh conditions.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Pearce Photography
How did you score your first sponsor and who are your sponsors now?
My first sponsor was a shop in Scotland called Granite Reef and they hooked me up with a board and clothing sponsor shortly after. It wasn’t until I did my first season in Big Bear (’06/’07) when I got hooked up with Active Ride Shop, Drop Gloves, and Smith Optics, who I’m still with today. I also ride for Butta, ForceField, and Mammoth Seasonaires.
What are your top three must haves for a road trip?
Plenty of good music! That is a must so anything from Skrillex to Ben Howard. Also some Redbull and Candy! Those three are always in the car for sure.
What made you move to Mammoth Lakes?
I first came to Mammoth in 2005 for six weeks and fell in love with the mountain and town. I’m not sure why it took me nearly six years to return, but I’m here now for good and hyped!
When you’re riding what do you have blasting in your headphones?
Last season was the first season I actually rode with music. It’s definitely fun and gets you pumped although I still can’t wear them when I’m hitting big booters. I like to hear what’s happening around me and half the fun when you’re in the air is the whole silence for those few short moments. My music taste is very eclectic. Just whatever compliments the moment I guess?
Do you have a go-to trick or favorite trick to land?
Backside 5s are always fun, but my warm-up/go-to trick is for sure a Back 180. It’s one of the nicest feeling tricks ever!
What/who inspires you?
Many things inspire me, but in terms of riding, Iikka Backstrom has been the biggest inspiration for many years and still is to this day. He’s got super good style, is a positive/funny guy, and a well-rounded rider. Julian Wilson (a pro surfer) is another one. He has the best work ethic and style on a surfboard and is another top guy!
What is your favorite thing to do after a long day riding?
The natural hot springs here in Mammoth with a few cold beers and friends is always good.
What are your plans/goals for the upcoming season?
Plans are to bag as many days riding as possible and get as much footage/shots as I can. I want to get more stuff done outside of the park and try find some new zones. Now that I’m living in Mammoth this will actually be my first full winter season here riding, so I just want to stay injury free and progress as much as I can. To keep track, I have a blog where you can follow what I’m up to www.martyrobertson.com