On November 23, 2021, snowboarding lost a beloved member of its community, Marko Grilc. Grilo, as he was affectionately known, notched podiums at the X Games, Air & Style, World Cups, and more, put together hammer-filled video parts, and released multiple seasons of Grilosodes, but more than his many accomplishments on his snowboard and all-terrain ability, it was Grilo’s big heart, passion for riding, and unending love for his family that resonated with everyone he met. Marko and his wife, Nina, prioritized sharing their love of the mountains with their children and as his two older kids, Maxx and Emma, got into snowboarding themselves, Grilo worked deeply with the product team at Burton on not only the gear he liked to ride, but products that would benefit young rippers and families.
Prior to his passing, Marko was working closely with Lesley Betts, Burton senior product line merchandiser – hardgoods, on a new addition to the Burton snowboard line, the Gril Master. While Marko was adept in park lanes and the backcountry, the board had a special underlying goal: to be a deck that could transition seamlessly from charging in big terrain to spinning playful laps with the littlest members of one’s family. Throughout the process of designing and testing the Gril Master, Marko’s attention to detail and Lesley’s deep experienced collaborating with the Burton team crafted a do-it-all board built on sharing snowboarding with others—while still getting to ride the way you’d like on a variety of terrain.
Today, Burton released a very special, limited edition of the snowboard, the Gril Master LTD. The Gril Master LTD comes in three sizes, true to Grilo’s vision, to accommodate for the whole family: 155, 140, and 130.
“I know Grilo looked forward to creating a board for dads. He wanted to combine his two families—us and Burton—in one board. That made him the happiest man alive.” – Nina Grilc
The graphics on the Gril Master LTD were drawn by Emma and Max, with footprints of the youngest member of the Grilc family, Alaska. To have the whole family involved in his namesake snowboard is a perfect tribute to Grilo and his legacy, as he continues to impact snowboarding in great ways, even in memoriam.
In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the Gril Master LTD will be donated to the Grilc family so they can help other families introduce their children to the mountains. To learn more, check out the Burton blog.
In celebration of Grilo’s life and legacy, we spoke with Lesley Betts about collaborating with the rad dad on the Gril Master.
SNOWBOARD: You worked with Marko developing the Gril Master. In designing this board, a big part of it was Grilo wanting something he could ride when he was making turns with his young kids as well as take into more aggressive terrain, correct?
LESLEY BETTS: Yes, he talked at great length about the products that he was riding at the time (Custom / Fish / Hometown Hero) and what he loved about them, but also where they each lacked in his day-to-day riding. Three runs with the kids, then two on his own, etc., etc. He was lacking something in his quiver—a board that can be easy on mellow days, playfully good for snapping the slush on the sides, quick from edge to edge, and if the opportunity comes up–could hit big jumps. Obviously it was a large ask—a do anything/everything kind of board–but the spirit he described was clear—a great family board, that comes alive when you the chance. He actually called it a DAD BOARD; we tried to get that name cleared, but didn’t land in all regions.
Can you tell us a little bit about the tech/features of the Grillmaster?
Directional Camber board with Balanced Freeride Geometry. Basically it is going to ride like a twin on hardpack, but float like a powder-specific deck in deep power.
15mm of taper—the right amount of taper to still remain a primarily resort board—easy for turning, but also the right amount of taper for those sneaky pow days.
Overall flex is medium-stiff with a softer nose, combined with a little early rise for that lift in powder.
A Triax infused with 45º Carbon highlights throughout is perfection for something that is torsionally playful but holds a lot of extra snap and pop!
While we’re all familiar with the Family Tree line and its boards’ creative approach to riding the mountain, can you tell us a little about why the Gril Master was added to the Burton Family Tree line as opposed to being a board in the Burton line? [editor’s note, the Gril Master LTD is part of the Burton line and the 2024 Gril Master will be a part of Family Tree.]
While generally focused on freeride terrains, the Family Tree is a place where we continue to offer fresh/new/exciting shapes year-over-year. Grilo had been riding the Hometown Hero (a staple in our Family Tree), and when we approached him about the idea of a Grilo-inspired shape, it fit right in with our current approach to new shapes annually in Family Tree, which is one powder-focused board, one big mountain-focused board, and one resort/all-mountain. The “inline” products are things that are tried and true and are generally more true resort focused and/or park/freestyle focused. While you could argue that the Gril Master could fit into that resort style board, it seemed like the right place to make this product—after all he is big on family and it’s a Family Tree. Worth noting that it was important to Grilo to make sure we had smaller sizes offered in this board—because it’s for the whole family! Both the W23 LTD + W24 FT will include smaller sizes for the kiddos!
You work with many different riders who have many different styles, terrain preferences, and needs on boards within the Burton line up. What was fun and/or unique about working with Grilo on the Grillmaster?
Honestly, his stoke.
We had a meeting with him the week before he passed away and he was so passionate about bringing his vision to life. Over the past few seasons, it was incredible to watch Grilo as a snowboarder, but more importantly as a snowboarder dad. He was constantly reaching out to us to talk shop on product developments that would help families out; we even had a few round tables with him and Nina to talk about what Maxx and Emma’s challenges were on mountain and how we could help. You could literally feel his passion for his family, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this product to life to honor him in the perfect way.
Lastly, each season, there are not that many new models that are added to the line up! What is it like when you get to release a brand new snowboard you have been working on into the wild?
As I noted above, we generally do about two to three new shapes annually—they’re always fun because there is a unique story behind each and every single product we make. As a product merchandiser, I am always stoked when I see the product that we’ve poured our hearts and souls into on snow. It’s an honor to create product that helps people have fun. This one is for Grilo; we miss and love him.
You can learn more about the Grilc Family and Grilo’s legacy at Thegriloshop.com.