September 12, 2016

Mark Mikos Set to Represent CB on the Freeride World Tour


For the third consecutive year, Crested Butte will have a representative on freeskiing’s biggest stage, the Freeride World Tour. Mark Mikos, a Western State Colorado University graduate and CB resident, took 1st place overall in the Freeride World Qualifier series, placing 3rd at Crested Butte, 2nd at Taos, and 1st at Crystal Mountain. Soft-spoken and unassuming, Mark lets his skiing do the talking (he only recently got an Instagram account, @MarkMikos). We caught up with Mark to talk to him about his background, his incredible season, and his plans for next year.

Mark and his fiancée, Ashley, in their element at Crested Butte.

Mark and his fiancée, Ashley Bembenek, in their element at Crested Butte. Photo: Trent Bona Photography

Cover: Trent Bona Photography

Mark grew up skiing on the east coast, living first in Pennsylvania and then New Hampshire. “I learned to ski chasing my two older brothers around the mountain, picking parts of how they ski in order to emulate them and improve my skiing.” In addition, old school movies like Blizzard of Ahhhs and Aspen Extreme fueled the fire. “There was something about my older brothers letting me watch, though my parents thought it was too R rated for me. Also, I could relate to the small mountain skiers who go west and find the beautiful Rocky Mountains.”

After high school, Mark made it on the US Ski Team as an invitee, traveling around the world, from Europe to South America, and everywhere in the US. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it past the first season. “I spent that year crashing a lot and didn’t re-qualify for the team the next year.”

The next Christmas, during the magical winter of 2008, Mark came out to visit his brother Matt, who was attending Western State College, and he was hooked. “I bought three more plane tickets that year to go ski. I knew I had to move to Crested Butte.”


Mark earning the Sick Bird award at Telluride. Photo: Matt Clark / West Elk Project

That next winter, Mark got his first taste of competitive freeskiing at the Crested Butte Extremes. “I won the qualifier event, and then crashed on day one,” he recalls. Mark began attending Western, where he joined the budding Freeride Team. “I love the competition scene. I love watching people ski. I like to think I have my own style, but it’s really just a mash-up of all my favorite skiers.” Mark quickly developed a reputation for skiing fast and going large, taking the Sick Bird at Telluride in 2015. However, “I crashed a lot, finishing only four comps out of nearly twenty starts.”

Last season though, it all came together. Mark stayed on his feet and got the results he was looking for, finishing on the podium in all three FWQ events he entered. “My favorite moment of the season was grabbing my first win at Crystal Mountain, and seeing my fiancé, Ashley Bembenek, stand on top of the women’s podium at the same event.”

Mark has spent the summer working, both jobs and body, in order to get ready for the Freeride World Tour. His summer paychecks come from the Colorado Division of Reclamation and Mining, where he is a geologist. But he spends as much time as possible on his bike. “Endurance. Endurance. Endurance. While I’m pretty happy with the level of strength I have, I really need to expand my lungs and improve my cardiovascular abilities.”

We are so stoked to see Mark carry on the Crested Butte representation on the Freeride World Tour, and look forward to watching Mark’s hard charging style on the biggest venues in the world. “I can’t believe the venues I’ll be skiing, the towns I’ll be visiting, and the food I’ll be eating. It will be a once in a lifetime experience. I’m looking forward to representing the Americas, and to ski that sh*t American style.”

Stay tuned as we follow Mark’s season. It should be one to remember.


Get ready to see this face on the Freeride World Tour. Photo: Julia Jimmerson

About the Author

Edward Dujardin 2.0