SLUG Style: Mark Cook of Skiing Fucks
Art and Fashion
Mark Cook is the founder and owner of Skiing Fucks, a clothing brand that began in 2020 and simultaneously embraces an ethos of being “100% nothing” and standing against elitism and gatekeeping within clothing, sporting and life itself. Check out Skiing Fucks on Instagram @skiing_fucks and their website, skiingfucks.com.
Every month, SLUG Style features a distinct member of the community and asks them why they do what they do. Exploring more than just clothing, SLUG Style is an attempt to feature the people who give Salt Lake City flavor through personality and panache.
SLUG: Introduce us to Skiing Fucks. What is the ethos behind this clothing brand?
Mark Cook: Skiing Fucks started in Salt Lake City as a brand about nothing, hence the “100% nothing” text on the original Skiing Fucks cigarette box graphic. Initially, we just wanted a way to share our excitement and stoke for the upcoming snow season. Yet, since its inception in 2020, Skiing Fucks has gradually evolved into a more meaningful brand. While on the surface, we still fully maintain that we are a brand about nothing, we now represent and stand for a lot more than that.
To fully understand the brand’s ethos, it’s important for me to explain my core values. I hate rules that don’t make sense, gender norms, social norms, elitism, hypocrisy, people who take shit too seriously and straight-up bullshit. This extends into all areas of my life, but I especially believe that anyone should be able to get into a sport and feel accepted, no matter what level they are at.
You know that feeling after skiing your hardest line yet, topping out your bouldering project or somehow making it down that gnarly bike trail you never thought you’d be capable of? I want everyone to feel that—in their own capacity.
In essence, Skiing Fucks is about inclusivity, challenging norms, saying “FUCK YOU” to The System and calling out the hypocrisy pervading our society. BUT, Skiing Fucks is also about forgetting the politics for a moment and just having fun with your friends.
With all of that being said, Skiing Fucks can sort of be whatever you want it to be for YOU. At the end of the day, just try not to take yourself too seriously.
What are your stylistic influences? This could be a band, decade, fictional character—anything.
One of the original roommates, Landon Hale, is a fantastic photographer (among other things). He is very involved in the skate and punk community in SLC, which is apparent in our original Instagram photos that he took. Landon’s personality, creativity, and artistic style hugely influences the brand.
The rest of our influence comes primarily from our ethos of not taking ourselves too seriously. For example, when we made the logo, we thought it would be funny to choose a dull and strict font to contrast such a ridiculous phrase as “Skiing Fucks.” It is so exciting because people are starting to recognize our branding by the Times New Roman font.
What motivated you to start Skiing Fucks?
As uneventful as it may sound, Skiing Fucks started on a double-decker dirtbag couch with a group of five roommates drinking beer and watching ski movies on YouTube after work. It was never meant to be a business. We just wanted to spread stoke for the upcoming snow season and make people laugh. In the beginning, we had no graphics, no products, no website, just an instagram with some photos that were funny (to us). One of the roommates, Jeff Preble, decided to doodle the iconic American Spirits box (with a few tweaks) and we thought it would look sick on a shirt. We printed a handful and sold them to our friends. Eventually, the snow melted, roommates came and went, and the brand went pretty quiet. It was far from a business at this point.
What motivated me to pick it back up the following winter was running into a stranger wearing our shirt and seeing how much they loved it. That feeling is hard to describe, and I still get it everytime I talk to someone wearing the merch. That is what motivated me then and what still motivates me now.
At that point I became obsessed with making Skiing Fucks successful. Creating a website, filing trademarks, learning about taxes and creating a LLC are pretty tedious tasks that I do not enjoy, but I knew we had something special, and I did not want to miss this opportunity.
I cannot explain how passionate I am about this brand. I have put in over 1000 hours (while working full-time) and my entire savings into it because I believe it’s what the outdoor community needs right now.
I have to give a shout-out to the original roommates that were there when the brand was created: Max, Landon, Pawel, and Jeff. Also, to my good friend Andy Redmer, who has been an amazing business mentor to me for years. He is responsible for nourishing and guiding my entrepreneurial spirit. Lastly, I have to thank The Gear Room in SLC for being the first shop to understand the message and sell my products!
What are your interests or hobbies? What is the hobby or interest that you have that no one would realize to ask you about?
When I moved to Utah from Texas, all I really did at the time was workout, play video games and play basketball. I quickly got dragged into the mountains by friends who taught me how to ski, climb and mountain bike. Since then I have also taken up dirt biking, motorcycling and fly fishing.
I have always been a jack of all trades, master of none. I think that is a large contributor to my dislike of elitism, but let’s get serious for a moment. The most important thing you should know about me is that I am a PROUD chicken dad. I have five gorgeous ladies and also a duck! This is honestly the most random thing to happen to me, but I’ve learned so much about raising chickens this year, and they have stolen my heart.
What sorts of apparel does Skiing Fucks carry?
Right now we sell shirts, hats, beanies, hoodies, christmas sweaters, voile straps and dirtbag mugs. Rest assured, there is lots more to come (chalk bags incoming)! Our current products relate to skiing, boarding, biking, climbing and running (which we are also expanding). Check us out on IG and our website, @skiing_fucks and skiingfucks.com. You can also find some of our products at The Gear Room (SLC) and Pando Refitters (Provo).
Are you always “on” or would someone see you at the grocery store, for example, with less elements of your style?
Oh man, ask anyone who knows me well and they will immediately tell you, “Yes, Mark is always this way …”
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those be?
Passionate, competitive, protective.
How has your personal style evolved over time?
I was a blank canvas when I first moved to SLC from Texas five years ago. Since then, I’ve gotten a dozen piercings, a dozen tattoos, painted nails and purple hair. My parents are thrilled… Most importantly, I am the happiest I have ever been, and feel like I finally belong.
What’s coming up for you and Skiing Fucks in 2023?
Next year is going to be huge! I have a lot in the works. I am expanding the brand into more sports, teaming up with more retailers, working on high-quality active-wear and accessories, more designs and community events! If only my days were longer…
Photos: Jovvany Villalobos // email@example.com