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...
The snowboard community has a stronger foundation because of Flynn Seddon. There’s more character, passion, and heart thanks to him. He’s been a part of it since the very
By Rob Lemay
Big White is where Flynn got his first turns. On the backside of the Falcon Bowl in the mid-’80s, before snowboards were officially allowed on the resort. He had to hike two and a half hours past skiers riding the lifts, and as he puts it: “The feeling I got was indescribably like my first love.” It was shortly after, with help from Peter Glockner and Big White pioneer Doug Lundgren, that they set up a snowboard demonstration with the ministry of lifts and railways in order to show they could ride safely enough to join the skiing public on the resort. Jim Lloyd, the head ski instructor at the time granted them access, but with a strict code of conduct that he could pull them off the hill at any time if they got out of hand. Flynn managed to keep snowboards on the resort from that day on and would go on and be the very first snowboard instructor at Big White. Snowboarding was taking off like a viral video does today—opportunities were on the horizon.
With no way to know what was ahead, Flynn left Kelowna in summer of 1988 with Doug Lundgren to help open the historic The Snoboard Shop in Whistler with Ken Achenbach. Flynn was working a night job, and was hired as one of Blackcomb’s first snowboard instructors that winter. Sponsored by Ken and the shop, he started to ride for Crazy Banana snowboards. From there, he went to Japan with Crazy Banana in 1989 and started competing in World Cup events. He spent five years travelling the world, competing in dual slalom and halfpipe. This gave Flynn opportunities to ride some of the best terrain all over the world.
Although at one point he was ranked in the Top 5. Overall, Flynn was never a competitive type, he found himself riding and filming in Alaska and eventually back home at Big White where he would continue to help develop snowboarding through competition and culture. Inspiring people to see what he sees in snowboarding.
At Big White, Flynn has been the head honcho of snowboarding in some form. As the head of terrain parks and events, he has had over 700-plus staff go through his door. Every one benefiting from his experience and hard work, many became lifelong friends. It’s clear that he gives back to the local snowboard community by developing every aspect. Flynn continues to created a strong, open-minded, passionate snowboarding community in Kelowna.
Thank you Flynn for helping snowboarding.
Flynn’s Top 5
First run in deep pow – Falcon Bowl, Big White, 1985
Doug Lundgren and I followed Lester Quitzau’s boot pack (Lester was a pioneer who rode for Barfoot) and was a tall lanky man. They were huge steps to follow, both literally and figuratively. He even left us a message in the snow at the top of the bowl saying something like: “Watch out for avalanches.” I was hooked from then on. It’s crazy to think on how much that one run affected my life.
First time at Mt Baker riding the Legendary Banked Slalom
This event was a big influence on me. It showed me what was possible, and looking back, I can see how much it has shaped my life. In those days, being a part of something with so many other snowboarders in one space was very rare, and even more powerful.
Saudan Couloir,1988 with Dave Summers
The very first summer of Blackcomb Glacier was a very special time. Instead of taking the 7th Heaven bus, we could drop into the Couloir and ride back to the Rendezvous Lodge. The snow pack back then was deeper than it is now—you could still get after a lot of the terrain.
Mike Wiegele’s Heli Boarding with Ken Achenbach and crew on Boxing Day
Alex Warburton, Doug Lundgren, and myself drove up from Whistler, and Ken had a deal with Mike for $200/day. It was the special Boxing Day deal. It was still early on and heli boarding was very new for everyone.
Rusutsu Resort, Japan, 1991 World Cup Tour
That was one sick powder day. Rusutsu was on a northern island where they would host the World Cup. It was an beautiful sunny day and we got one of the best powder days. Everyone, I mean everyone, was there. From Craig Kelly, Mike Ranquet, Chris Roach, Dave Seoane, Kelly Jo Legaz, Mike Jacoby, Dave Graham, Dave Dowd, Don Szabo, and many more.
Influential People in Snowboarding
Ken has done a lot for snowboarding during my era and beyond. The Snoboard Shop in Calgary, and then Whistler, Camp of Champions, the documentation of the sport from his photos, plus the amount of people globally he has influenced in some way with snowboarding.
Tom Sims and Chuck Barfoot
They lead the way in the late ’70s and early ’80s and had major roles in growing the sport with style and technology. Their brands were innovative and personal favourites of mine.
He had the entire East Coast covered and took production and technology to the next level. Working with Craig Kelly helped build the sport into what it is now.
Cathy has been running competitive snowboarding in Canada for 25 years. She has been the driving force in the sport for many years and has touched the lives of so many snowboarders and families in Canada of all ages. The most amazing and hardest-working person in sport. I am so proud to have her as my life-long partner in this world of snowboarding.