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Whistler downhill biker Dylan Marino making himself known overseas

Marino placed sixth on the World Cup circuit and has two top-five results at Crankworx Innsbruck
Whistler mountain biker Dylan Marino in action during his first World Cup season in 2023. 

Just like many Whistler boys who ride bikes, Dylan Marino grew up idolizing Finn Iles—and why wouldn’t he? Iles is an established international star who opened his World Cup season this year with two top-five results in Lenzerheide, Switzerland and Leogang, Austria. 

Now that he’s 16 years of age, Marino is finally old enough to join the UCI World Cup circuit. While he’s a few years away from head-to-head competition against his hero Iles, the young man is off to a solid start.

Hello, world

Growing up in the Sea to Sky was a perfect fit for Marino. He’s always been surrounded by avid mountain bikers of all ages as they cut their teeth in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park and the area’s expansive trail network together. Crankworx Whistler is one of his favourite events, and one where he loves strutting his stuff in front of the home crowd.

Marino is introducing himself to a more global audience as well. On June 17 in Leogang, he rode to sixth in just the second World Cup race of his life. He was the second-fastest Canadian in the men’s junior field behind Rossland, B.C. native Bodhi Kuhn. 

“It’s pretty unreal,” said Marino. “I really just felt like everything was starting to click that weekend. I knew the track suited me and as soon as I got up for my first day of practice, I was just dialed in.” 

The Whistlerite’s first goal for his milestone season was simply to qualify for a World Cup race. He’s two for two so far, plus two fifth-place showings at Crankworx Innsbruck’s U19 dual slalom and downhill. Marino feels he learned a lot from his inaugural event in Lenzerheide—that week was “a huge shock to the system” as he faced a deeper field and a gnarlier track than anything he’s ever seen before. 

Marino wound up 19th, but came away feeling more confident in his abilities. He tends to be a precise, technically sound athlete who keeps needless mistakes to a minimum, as opposed to some of his peers and their higher-risk, higher-reward riding style. World Cup tracks, despite their overall difficulty level and the fear factor it adds, can be a good fit for him. 

From the rink to the trail

A dedicated and versatile athlete, Marino wants to see just how far he can go in sport. He plays competitive hockey on the Sea to Sky Bears’ U18 A2 roster, leading his teammates from the left wing. His 5-11, 175-pound frame translates well to both hockey and biking, which enable him to keep fit throughout the year. 

Plus, filling a key leadership role on his hockey team helps Marino develop the poise, maturity and perspective needed to be an elite downhill racer.

“Honestly, the mentality it takes to be a mountain bike athlete is really difficult,” he admitted. “I was talking to my bike company rep about this the other day, and he really thinks that [playing hockey] helps as well. Because I was captain of my hockey team, I need to lift everybody else up as well as myself.” 

Such poise helped him remain calm when the injury bug struck on May 1, throwing his summer plans into the air. Marino broke his middle metacarpal playing football in gym class, and for a time he did not know if he would be able to make his World Cup debut. Fortunately, the hand injury healed well and he was able to depart on June 3 as intended. 

His mother, Caronne, and father, David, have been in his corner all the way. 

“I couldn’t be here without them, for sure,” Marino said. “They are my main sponsorship right now, and they’ve supported me through all of it. Ever since I was young, they paid for me to travel around B.C. to pursue my passion and race my bike. They were there to make meals, book accommodation, all of it.” 

Others have showed their support as well. Marino’s fellow hockey and biking friends gave him a warm send-off before he headed overseas. His Instagram account really blew up after he placed sixth in Leogang. 

Knowing now that he can hang with the best, Marino has his sights set on the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Scotland. He’ll have to level up his game in order to get there, but the anticipation is something he relishes. 

“You can have your own style [in mountain biking],” he said. “It’s an individual sport and it’s kind of all on you, which adds pressure, but I feel like the rewards are bigger. It’s honestly just such an amazing sport and an amazing vibe.”