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...
When you think of a kid that went to a snowboard academy, you might have the mental image of somebody vigorously training for slopestyle stardom. Long hours spent with a coach, strenuous dieting and weight lifting may all be part of the process, and unlike a lot of street snowboarders, this lifestyle doesn’t include smoking spliffs on the hill and crushing beers at night. Regardless of the stereotypes attached to each style of snowboarding, there are always exceptions. In this case, Vince Grandmaison definitely does not fit the profile. He is arguably the exact opposite of what you might expect from an “academy kid,” but there is something synonymous between the two: they both have an advantageous amount of board control. It’s evident how much time Vince has spent on his board the first time you ride with him. Simply put, he is an amazing snowboarder. Street spots that would scare even the most proficient of riders are handled with a style and grace that Vince has labelled all his own. For some people, boarding is like a religion, and watching skate and snowboard videos becomes ritualistic. Having an obsession with boarding is imperative in order to get to the top tier, and having this knowledge of trick and spot selection comes naturally when you constantly immerse yourself in the culture. This is what Vince does. You don’t get as good as Vince without truly loving it. —Chris Fellner
You won the Stairmasters contest this winter. How long did it take you to film that section? Were you trying to win, or just trying to film clips that you were stoked on?
I think it was a month and a half, going out every day. It worked pretty good. I’m stoked on that. I was trying to do the best that I could. Filming stuff for my own satisfaction.
How do you manage to film every year with minimal financial help? What do you do in the off-season?
I work a lot during the summer to save as much money as I can. You know how it is. I wash and polish cars. I prepare the cars for people to buy them.
After years of snowboarding and paying for it all on your own, what keeps you committed to it after all this time?
I think it’s the satisfaction. I’ve been doing it for a long time, you know? Pushing my limits, having fun with my friends, meeting new people, and all the fun social aspects that come with snowboarding.
I heard that you went to a snowboard academy when you were younger. Is this true?
Yeah, when I was a kid back in high school. During the winter, we would do, like, a half week of school and then two or three days snowboarding. We were really busy during the summertime at the school because during the winter it was almost like no school at all.
So you get a lot of time on your board. I think people have an idea of academy kids, and they think of pipe jocks and slopestyle kids training for contests, but that’s not what you snowboard like at all.
No, it wasn’t really based on performance. It was more like open and chill. Of course there were some exams, like tests, you know?
Tests? Like skill tests, like can you do a proper Backlip? Do you get less marks if you zeach?
No, it was more like the control of the board.
How did you get into the academy?
You just had to have a good score. Like in mathematics, French and stuff like this. You had to be a good student.
[o] Eric Lamothe
They won’t take you if you’re not a good student?
No. If you’re annoying and trying to fuck with everyone, they don’t want you [laughs].
I’ve heard people call you the French Alex Stathis because you always wear khakis.
Who calls me this?
I’ve just heard people say it. Where do you find inspiration for your boarding?
I don’t know him, but of course I watched his video parts a couple years ago, and I really appreciate his snowboard style. It’s very proper, like more skate style. I’d hate to put on a costume to go snowboard. I normally wear the same thing that I wear when I go skate. I’m just going with the flow. I skate a lot, so maybe people can say that it looks like this? I try to do more skate stuff compared to the slopestyle thing, you know?
You don’t get caught up in trends. What do you think about fashion trends in snowboarding right now?
I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I don’t want to judge anything. I think they’re cool. A couple years ago slides were like, zeach style, and outfits were full of colour. The style is just changing.
What do you have in store for the upcoming season? Do you have any plans for next winter yet?
I hope The Bruners are gonna do another movie. It was so fun last winter. I want to do it again.
How’s skating these days?
It’s pretty good, man. I try to skate as much as I can. I work a lot, too, but during the night time or weekends, I try to skate as much as I can, push my limits and try to do the best that I can. If I can’t snowboard, I can skate.
Indy 50-50 [o] Eric Lamothe
Who are you riding for right now?
I’m riding for Dinosaurs Will Die, ThirtyTwo boots and outerwear, and Fix bindings.
I heard talk of a Vincent Grandmaison Dino’s pro model. How do you feel about this?
Oh, I hope it’s gonna happen, maybe I’ll get rich [laughs].
Get this man some royalties, get him some money.
Yeah, maybe sooner or later, I don’t know. Or never.
Do you want to thank anybody?
I’m gonna thank you, man. I’m gonna thank all The Bruners’ guys, Julien, Sebastian, all the bros, man. All my sponsors and everyone involved.
[o] Eric Lamothe