ANDREW BURNS INTERVIEW | AGAINST ALL ODDS
By Rob Lemay | Photos [o] Ben Girardi Andrew Burns. That name goes hand in hand within Canadian snowboarding. It’s one that...
Whistler Valley Snowboard Club @whistervalley
Twenty years ago, Whistler Valley Snowboard Club was one of the first of its kind. Today, WVSC is the longest-running in Canadian history. There are clubs all across Canada, they are a staple at every resort. Despite the solo pursuit and unstructured nature of snowboarding, there’s a place for the club scene in snowboarding. There’s nothing wrong with a squad and a little guidance.
Enter Rob Picard and Joe McAdoo; they’ve been carrying the torch for WVSC for over 15 years. Different people who ended up on the same cat-track of life. Two passionate humans who have become self-prescribed slaves to the snow. Both of them have turned their nature into nurture for the youth of the Whistler Valley.
Rob got his start coaching and mentoring with a young Trevor Andrew (a.k.a. Trouble, a.k.a. Trza, a.k.a. Gucci Ghost) “We both grew up in Nova Scotia, and he was shipped out to Whistler by his mom,” Rob recalls. “He stayed with me in Whistler and became a digger at Camp of Champions. He was useless as a digger but had talent, and a love for the sport. I realized what an amazing experience it was to be in Whistler and share what I knew. I wanted to create this feeling and bring it to others.”
Joe also started out at Camp of Champions. “I started coaching at Camp of Champions back in 2000, then with Whistler Valley Snowboard Club in 2003,” he explains.
Entrenched in the mountains, spending 130-plus days a season on snow showing youth what’s up with park laps and pow stashes, it’s a truly commendable scene they’ve created. Twenty years is a long time, and despite the ups and downs of the industry, Rob, Joe, and Whistler Valley have always kept a straight line. “We continue to do it the way we feel it needs to be done, and it’s successful,” says Rob.
To see a posse that has so much dedication and focus, it’s all about the riders supporting each other—not competing against each other. They’re there to support, encourage and have fun. That’s success, and it’s so cool to watch.
Joe breaks down the basics of what makes their club successful. “A great snowboard club needs the right combination of coaches that want to be there for the riders and the riders that are willing to push their limits. The perfect vibe happens when the coaches and riders are on the same page, and agree on what needs to be done to progress. That’s what we have.”
No denying the dedication Rob and Joe have to the board, the next generation of rippers and everything surrounding snowboarding in Whistler. Cheers to these two nerds and the next 20 years for the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club.
[o] Russell Dalby
How do you focus your work within the club? Has it changed over the past 20 years?
Rob: A lot of snowboard clubs, they’re heavily performance driven, and it’s not that we’re not, we’re more integrity driven. Our riders know the feeling of doing something right. They don’t need to look at us and go, “Was that right?” We don’t chase points, we don’t count points. It’s not about the results, it’s about doing this for yourself and having as much fun as you can. You do that and all of a sudden the goals are there and you’re having fun.
Joe: The focus of our club is generally the same, it’s just more refined. The tricks and terrain are bigger and more difficult than 20 years ago. That said, we still work on the same fundamentals now as we did back then, the only difference is we understand snowboarding a lot better and can get the riders to do bigger and better tricks faster and safer.
What’s good about what you get to do?
Joe: I enjoy the energy from riders who just want to shred and give it their all. Building on that year after year and being part of a rider’s progression and personal growth. Being able to pass along the knowledge I’ve learned over the years means a lot to me. I keep doing it because it’s still the most fun and rewarding job I’ve had.
Rob: We snowboard, love it and that every day it’s amazing. After so many years, it’s natural to lose that, but when you get someone else doing fresh tracks down Peak Chair, all of a sudden you’re refueled, you have that same excitement as if you experienced it yourself for the first time. And we end up having such a great connections with these people because of all the experiences we’ve gone through. Years later, they’re always so fond of the memories and say how it meant the world to them. And to me, that is everything. You know not everybody is gonna get a career out of snowboarding, but they all walk away with a lifelong love of snowboarding and that’s huge.
[o] Josh Dooley
WHISTLER UP AND COMERS
CLASSIC SNOWBOARDING TIPS
“If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.”
“You don’t get famous doing pussy shit.”
“Understand the difference between confidence and courage.”
“Execution and performance are more important than results.”
“The trick only counts if you were able to land it on a skateboard. You gotta stomp.”