Mark Abma leads a life that must feel like a dream to most of us – his Tolkien-esque home in the woods, his down-to-earth lifestyle… oh, right, and his incredible affinity for skiing, biking, and hiking his way up and down mountains. And those are literal mountains too – Abma lives in British Columbia, where mountainous terrain dominates the skyscape and the call of the wild is irresistible. Mental strength, endurance, and flexibility are crucial parts of Abma’s everyday routine, and his commitment to it all is nothing short of incredible.
“I never perceived myself to be different than anybody else… but looking back on it, I was the first guy to duck the ropes, to go find new terrain … and now I’d say, later in life, I’m still living that way.”
Mark Abma has been skiing for thirty years, and has similarly spent years practicing the mental fortitude required to safely navigate mountains at high speeds. He practices hydrotherapy every day, for example, which means quickly changing his body temperature from hot to cold to benefit his immune system, aid in injury recovery, and ease muscle soreness. The sauna and cold pool in his backyard make hydrotherapy easily accessible, but it’s Mark’s mental strength that enables him to practice it day after day to recover from his physical feats.
But Mark Abma’s incredible lifestyle goes even deeper than that. At age twenty, Mark started practicing yoga to help improve his mental state. In recent years, he’s become very focused on lowering his carbon footprint; his truck now runs on locally-sourced used vegetable oil, and he is building an energy-free home on Gambier Island, in an area with no cell service and nowhere to be except the present. We are in awe of Mark’s determination, ambition, and desire to be the best he can be for himself, and are truly excited for the opportunity to be a part of this journey.
“That empowerment of pushing through that fear and accomplishing your goal, that’s what really empowers me and creates a memorable experience.”
In the world of freeskiing, finding your focus is the difference between serious injury and unimaginable highs. To perform as consistently as Mark Abma does demands intense focus, determination, and willpower. Naturally, we were ecstatic to see how he could perform with a smart compression sleeve on his arm, and to hear what the man who does his best to live a sustainable life would think of a natural boost to his brainpower. So we will be joining him this winter to help tell his story of ducking the ropes, from sea to sky (and we mean that literally!), by documenting his journey as he embarks on an all-new backcountry skiing challenge, something he’s been staring at for years from his own backyard and finally has the chance to attempt in 2021.
Keep an eye out for more content with Mark Abma by following @eSmartr on Instagram! This is a journey you don’t want to miss.
Watch Ducking the Ropes Here:
Episode 1: Walk This Way (January 11)
Episode 2: TBA (February 1)
Episode 3: TBA (February 22)
Episode 4: TBA (March 15)
Episode 5: TBA (March 22)