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...
If there’s an ever an IPO on Sean Pettit—buy in. Everything he touches turns to gold. Trust me. The dude rolls with a confidence that’s undeniable. When he says he can do something, or he’s going to do something. That word is bond.
I don’t know skiing, but I know of Sean Pettit the same way those who don’t ball know of KD. His name is pinned to the top. As a child, Sean’s parents put he and his brother on skis. Before he knew what-was-what, he was a pro. Getting paid to rep brands before he hit high school. Handpicked by the best skiers in the world to do what he does in front of the camera. At 25, Pettit has already won skiing. You name it he’s done it: Skier of the Year, X Games medals, TV personality, producer and star of his own award-winning ski film The Masquerade. The accolades and accomplishments run so deep it’s stupid.
Sean rips on a skateboard. Always has. He’s also been inspired to the point of obsession with snowboarding. The videos, the style he adopted—all that was possible during his two-planked approach to the mountain. In his mind, he’s been snowboarding for over a decade and only now is he living out his sideways stanced life in snow. The fact is, his ripping snowboard Instagram clips caught our attention. They stand out in the sea of mediocracy that’s pushed towards KING SNOW daily. Sean oozes greatness in everything he puts his energy towards. Don’t expect snowboarding to be any different. Buy in now. Sean’s snowboarding stock is still affordable, but it won’t be for long.
Full disclosure. We struggled with the idea of giving magazine real-estate to a skier who snowboards. But I soon realized I had it flipped. Sean’s actually a snowboarder who’s been skiing. It’s fascinating. So, we sit down to drinks in a bar with an impressive number of pinball machines and I fire the first of many questions…
Like why are you snowboarding when you’re a pro skier? To me that’s the big question. Why?
Yeah, why the fuck, a skier? I do honestly think that my snowboarding got way better this year. This past season, I was like, “I’m going to snowboard more.”
I feel like I’ve been involved in snowboarding my whole life. I’ve just been… I honestly feel like I’ve been the snowboarder that skis. I was surrounded by it. The group of friends I had, a lot of them snowboarded for fun. Then, getting into teenage years, a ton of my friends were pro snowboarders. Those were my friends. They are my friends.
A 100 per cent. I watch more snowboard videos than ski videos. Alright, I feel like I’ve always been influenced by snowboarding no matter what I did on skis. I’ve always tried tricks that snowboarders do but just tried to do it on skis. Now, anytime I’ve gone snowboarding and I go back to skis, I have a very fresh outlook on the hill. I’m pretty much trying to replicate that feeling on my skis. Again, even without sometimes even knowing it.
Almost everything about snowboarding is so much more. I’ve been skateboarding for just as long as I’ve skied. I’ve always loved skateboarding. But yes, the style, the tricks, the way they ride terrain. I can relate to it. I just didn’t do it. I knew everything about snowboarding and the tricks ‘cause I skated. It all made sense to me. Nothing didn’t make any sense to me. I think of it now, as I’m turning 25, that I’m like this lost soul. What was I doing skiing for so long when maybe it was snowboarding I wanted to do the whole time? Maybe it wasn’t, though, I don’t know? Maybe it’s good that I’ve been skiing this whole time and I’ve gotten to where I am. The only way I am able to continue to do this and live this whole lifestyle is because I took skiing so far. At the end of the day it’s like, I really like snowboarding, so why not try to carry that a little bit?
Yeah, don’t forget I have this ski thing that I’m trying to do, which is like “Hey! We’re filming. It’s a good day. Let’s go” The hard thing about skiing and snowboarding is you have only a certain amount of days.
Not at all. I feel like because I started snowboarding it’s actually opened up my eyes a little more on the ski side. I have new ideas now because of snowboarding; new ideas collectively. I’m like, “I can snowboard and ski.” Now there’s this whole other meeting point. I’ve opened up this other world, where before I was on this ski thing and now I can combine the two. I have product ideas. I have new show ideas. I have all these new content ideas of things where I can involve both skiing and snowboarding.
I had more days on snow this winter than I have in a really long time, because I was snowboarding 50 per cent of the time. And I still skied the same amount of time as other winters. I feel like I was on snow a lot less because I’d ski. We’d go film and then I’d take a couple days and I’d go to the city and hangout. It became an important thing to start switching it up. If you only do one thing consecutively, it just becomes repetitive and that’s what I think was taking the fun out of it for me.
Yeah. It was just this repetitive thing. We’d go to similar places and we’d ride the same kind of terrain. Days just felt like they’d gotten longer.
Honestly speaking, I feel like I have done a lot. People say they never feel accomplished… but I don’t feel that way with skiing. I feel like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. I’ve always tried new things and I did a lot of what I wanted to do, and at the end of every endeavour, I was like, “Damn, what do I do now?” There’s only so much you can do. My duty as a professional skier is to put out content. People watch me ski, that’s my job.
Everyone sees that I’ve been snowboarding and every sponsor, at least to my face, has been supportive, “Damn, that’s so cool you’re snowboarding.” They always have ques- tions about it. It’s sparked conversation and I have something to say about it because it’s new. At the end of the day, if they are there to support what I’m doing, I’m down. But if they’re not, I’m still going to keep doing what I’m doing, because I’m not going to change what I want to do just to carry a brand. It’s what I want to do and I’m going to do what I want to do.
To be honest, it’s a mixed bag. I’ve been skiing for so long, I have these fans from way back. Then I introduce all this snowboarding and some people are like, “What the fuck? Put your fucking skis on… Go back to skiing.” This is just what I see on social media. This is where I can see the response. I read comments all the time. It is pretty split down the middle. A bunch of people are super hyped and a bunch of people that maybe didn’t even follow me before are down—it’s cool. It’s kind of like a skier and snowboarder guy doing both. Or this skier guy is trying to snowboard. Even for someone watching, it’s kinda fun. I always think it’s so fun when one of my friends who doesn’t skateboard steps on one and tries something. It’s still so exciting because they don’t normally do it. It’s
fun when you see them learn something right then and there. I’m so excited for myself because every day I go out snowboarding, I learn something new.
I feel like skiers, for the most part, look up to snowboarding, look up to snowboarders.
I think so. That’s kind of just how the world works. Sometimes going from point A to point B is just cooler than going from point B to point A.
To be honest, I feel like I am privileged enough to be, I think, at a forefront of a trend. I think I can be a part of setting a trend to get more skiers on a board. That’s what I want to do, to be honest. I want to influence skiers to not have a one-track mind.
Personally, riding pow on a snowboard. I remember riding pow for the first time on a snowboard and being like, “Fuck.” The whole time this is what I have been missing. This is so awesome. To me, standing sideways feels natural. It just makes sense to me.
… we’re smack dab in the middle of fanning out on riding pow at this point when Jake Kuzyk steps into the mix. He and Sean are tight. Jake just got off a skate and we order another round and continue to shoot the shit about Sean’s snowboarding.
I feel like I surprise myself a lot of the time because I don’t know if I could do things because I just started snowboarding, so I don’t know …
Now I feel like I went back 10 years and I’m like a 15-year-old kid again, where I’m just so excited to go snowboarding. Like, every day I couldn’t wait until tomorrow.
I know, I just hope this lasts for a long time.