Max Parrot: Lone Wolf

Brett Wilhelm/ESPN

Max Parrot is the most successful X Games Snowboard Big Air athlete in history.

Max Parrot is different. His focus is on contest prep and practice, not snowboarding for fun with a posse. He's working on next level tech tricks, not filming huge lines in Alaska and cultivating a cool image. He's OK with this -- and he doesn't care if you're not.

The approach is working. Parrot has earned 8 X Games medals since 2013; he's the most successful X Games Big Air athlete in history.

The French-Canadian is tied with Mark McMorris for most gold in XG Big Air (3). He's tied with McMorris, Peter Line and Torstein Horgmo for most medals overall in the discipline (6). In fact, Parrot is podium perfect in X Games Big Air: In 6 starts, he's yet to finish lower than 2nd-place.

Parrot spends more time than anyone practicing on the Big Air jump at Aspen. He's usually the first to arrive, the last to leave and is the only one throwing his competition tricks immediately.

Max admits that he's not a backcountry rider. Instead, he's jumping on trampolines and into air bags. He trains at the Maximise Center just north of Montreal, which in the summer features two dry slope jumps to an airbag in addition to trampolines (Aspen 2017 Women's Slopestyle champ Julie Marino also trains there).

Parrot's concentration on contests and training is part of the reason there's a rift with other riders, especially fellow Canadian Mark McMorris, Parrot's biggest competition. The two recently were featured jabbing at each other in a CBC article, "Best of Frenemies."

"He takes more of the gymnast approach and doesn't ride big mountain stuff or doesn't really spend his time going to film," McMorris says of Parrot in the piece. "He's more on the trampoline or on an airbag and then hitting the jumps and stuff."

"We all have different ways of preparing ourselves," Max answers in the CBC story. "When you go out on the mountain, you take the chairlift, you do maybe in a day 15 jumps. But on a trampoline you can do 15 jumps in less than a minute."

The article further quotes Parrot, "McMorris has been a gymnast as well. He has done trampoline since he was very young. Maybe he stopped now because, you know, in snowboarding (if) you're doing trampolining it's not known as something cool, so I think he just stopped that for his image or maybe he does it secretly, I don't know."

Parrot is just fine on his own, thanks. His new pro model (named Ambition) features a wolf graphic. He says he chose the wolf partly because his dog's name is Loup ("wolf" in French), but also because he views himself as a lone wolf. And, as he says in a video for his snowboard sponsor Nobaday, "A wolf has a lot of ambition, and having a wolf between my two bindings reminds me every time I look at it that I have to keep pushing the limits."

  • DOB: 6/06/1994. Age 23
  • 8 X Games medals in 8 appearances (13 competition starts): 4 gold, 4 silver (Slopestyle: 1 gold, 1 silver; Big Air: 3 gold, 3 silver).
  • Double gold at XG Aspen 2014 (Slopestyle & Big Air). Parrot and McMorris (2015 & 2012) are the only snowboarders to win Slopestyle and Big Air at the same X Games.
  • Two-time defending XG Aspen Big Air gold medalist (2016 & 2017). XG Norway 2017 Big Air silver; McMorris beat him by one point in a somewhat controversial contest.
  • Won slopestyle against great competition at Dew Tour Breckenridge on Dec. 16, 2017. Last XG Slopestyle medal was his 2014 gold.
  • 2017: Won Los Angeles Air+Style (Big Air), Laax Open (Slopestyle), Copper Grand Prix (Big Air).
  • 2014 Olympics: 5th at Sochi in Slopestyle after qualifying No. 1. Already on the 2018 Canadian Olympic team.
  • "Being the Big Air champion for the past season on the World Snowboard Tour, I got my spot for the Olympic (team) in March."
  • Puts in countless hours of work, more of a workhorse than a hardcore snowboarder. Often the first to show up to practice, the last to leave and the only one throwing all of his competition tricks.
  • Only person to land a quadruple underflip 1620 (take off switch, four backflips, land regular). First landed it in April 2015. Brought it to competition at XG Aspen 2017; it helped him win Big Air gold, though it wasn't his highest-scoring trick (his Cab triple cork 1800 mute tallied a 46, the highest single score of the entire comp).
  • First to land consecutive triples in a slopestyle run, did it at XG Aspen 2014.
  • Grew up in Bromont, Quebec, at the base of Mt. Bromont. Father was an alpine ski racer and Canadian waterski jump champion. His parents weren't sold on snowboarding, so Max mowed lawns to earn the money for his first board. They wouldn't let him travel alone or lend him money to travel until he completed high school.
  • Loves to drive fast. Owns an Audi A4 that he wrapped in black camo and last spring bought himself a Triumph Speed Triple, a scary fast 1000cc/140 horsepower sport bike. "This was my little personal gift from the season I had last winter. It's so fun to ride!"
  • Was an ambassador for the F1 Canadian Grand Prix, where he was stoked to meet Lewis Hamilton. "I watched from Lewis' garage and learned so much about all the factors of an F1 race."
  • Dates Alysson Gendron-Gallant and the two plan to build a house together. They have a damned cute dog named Loup (Wolf).

Follow Max Parrot on Instagram for the latest.

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