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Words by Brad Oates.
He has flown under the shred radar longer than most rise and fall the ominous ranks of professional snowboarding. He has snowboarded in exotic locations, perfecting his immense bag of tricks in front of cameras, learning Tantric sexual maneuvers and developing a love of high grade marijuana. He’ll party all night, sleep from 5am to 7am, shove two donuts in his mouth at Tim Horton’s, get on first gondola in Whistler and whip out a sick three minute video part by 4pm. He just released one of the illest stand out parts of the year in Capita’s Defenders of Awesome. He just snowboarded over 300 days of the year for the past 7+ years. He’s Andrew Burns, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants human being from the great white north of Canada. You don’t know who the fuck he is? Well, good, he doesn’t know who the fuck you are either, but snowboard with him any day of the damn week and you’ll witness the shape of things to come.
Are you guys partying?
Burns, why don’t you tell everyone about your first time snowboarding?
My first time snowboarding actually is pretty interesting. I used to ski when I was a kid and finally tried it the last day of the season at this shitty little mountain, Camp Fortune, just across the river from Ottawa in Quebec. It was the only place still open, I went snowboarding with my Mom’s friend’s son. I didn’t ever go skiing after that, actually. Skiing is just —- limited (laughing).
You grew up in Ottawa. What’s Ottawa all about?
Ottawa is pretty sweet. I don’t really like big cities very much and Ottawa is a good mix. It’s technically a city and it’s definitely in Canada, which most Americans don’t know because it’s a little piece of shit — it’s cold as fuck, it’s got a good party scene and not too many people. I pretty much grew up with all the Frenchies (French Canadians). It was better that way.
Quebecois! How was the female scene there?
The girls like to get down. It’s pretty sweet. The dudes are pretty creepy in Quebec. That’s probably one of the main influences of my development into a young adult was spending a lot of time in Quebec and just really getting really greasy. You know I’ve got an interesting mix because I am half Scottish, half European French, Half Quebecois, I grew up in Ottawa and then my Mom is American, so I am just a little shit mixed runt.
Who was the first big sponsor who said, “Hey! We’re gonna take a chance on this Burnsy dude!”?
It was when I went out to Whistler for Camp of Champions when I was super young and met John Conway, our head cinematographer down here at SASS — he’s been my best friend for 15 years. He saw me hanging with these dudes from Ottawa, just these punk ass Canucks that were like sales reps or whatever and they kind of linked me a up a little bit, and that’s right when Capita started and Jason Brown came to Ottawa. Capita became my first real sponsor. Me and weird little JB got along really good and then I moved out to Whistler and got linked up with some good homeys, like Joel Fraser and Tyler Lepore. It was funny dude, it just kind of feel into place with that kind of family thing with the ole Capita. Moving to Whistler just ended up changing my whole outlook on snowboarding. I was used to hiking an icy halfpipe, or hitting icy jumps where if you butt check, you basically fucking couldn’t sit on your own ass for a week and a half.
Young kid moves from the tortuous cold and small, icy slopes of Ottawa to the Canadian Tahoe — Whistler, to become sponsored snowboarder. Pretty much living the dream, huh?
Absolutely. I couldn’t be more stoked. It’s pretty sweet, huh? You know, maybe I’ve spent a little too much time in Whistler, but it’s been just constant stoke. So hyped! Things worked out and I met good people.
Give me a good Jason Brown story.
The best Jason Brown story I have is the first time I met him. He just crawled up this broom and stood there balancing just on the bristles. That little dude stood there for about an hour making it happen. He’s just the happiest dude ever. I love Jason so much because he’s one of the sickest snowboarders ever, some of the sickest video parts you’ll ever watch. The tiniest little thing ever will make him so stoked. I realized from him that there’s more to life than just snowboarding. His attitude, his stokeness and he’s actually weirder than most people.
Where is he now?
Last summer was the last time I talked to him. I heard he made it back to Vancouver. He’s just living it, dude. He could live off nothing forever. That greasy little fucker (laughing).
What’s the biggest difference between shredders from Eastern Canada and Western Canada?
Eastern Canadians know how to land on their feet, because if you don’t land on your feet in Eastern Canada, you are going to get all kinds of fucked up. The Western Canadians got all the powder. Dudes just chuck like motherfuckers.
You’ve ridden for Capita for many a year. From the ground up. What’s it been like to be a part of so much radness all these years?
Since the beginning. Capita’s like this little obscure family. It’s like a second family. I wouldn’t have it any other way. As a company and as friends I like it as weird and fucked up as I am. No holds barred, ya know?
You just had a wild and crazy summer down in Argentina. What the fuck is going on down there?
Well, I am working all the time, we are on our last week here at SGT — a backcountry camp I help run and operate. Argentina has some phenomenal partying, so I’ve probably been extremely wasted most of the past 50 days. That’s the game dude. First chairs up and crush the pow in July and August. Come down, aprÃ¨s, get fucking rowdy, party till fucking 4 or 5 in the morning and repeat.
You’ve lived in Whistler forever. What’s this about you moving to California?
I got to get out of Whistler, I guess. I love Whistler and the people are the shit, but it’s actually I think maybe a bit of a black hole. I’ve got the benefit of the dual citizenship so I can do whatever I want, so I am just trying to fucking chop it up a little bit.
In America, we’re always being told that Canadian health care is fucked, and that our healthcare which none us can afford, is great. Why don’t you set the Americans straight about Canadian health care.
I submitted my British Columbia health care shit about 2 days before a knee surgery two years ago and I got a $20,000 knee surgery for free. It was like I won the lottery.
What are you going to do down in Truckee with no Tim Horton’s.
That’s going to be a problem.
How is the weed down in Argentina?
I’ve got some good homeys, so I can find the good shit, but mostly it sucks. It’s this Paraguayan import, brick brown bullshit that sucks, but there are definitely upsides to coming here 6-7 summers in a row. I’ve got some dank shit right now. It’s delicious.
You snowboard 11-12 months a year. You still have never received a check to ride a snowboard professionally. How do you stay intact and keep the dream alive?
Being persistent till it’s ridiculous and I have this obscure type of insomnia, so I really only need about 4 hours of sleep. I will do anything to keep snowboarding — I will sell shit, I will do manual labor, I will actually compete, I will do some websites, I will do some video work, what the fuck ever I can do to get money. I am constantly chasing it to keep snowboarding.
Burnsy’s top 5 snacks as of this very moment.
1. Pistachios. As weird as it sounds, I love pistachios.
2. Cheddar chips.
3. Leftover meat.
4. Leftover spaghetti.
5. Domino’s. Go by Domino’s where I used to work and take the pizzas they fucked up on.
How are the Argentinean ladies treating you?
They are pretty awesome. They treat me well. They seem to like the Canadians.
What lights the fire under your ass every morning?
I just want to fly thru the air, learn more tricks, go bigger, ride more powder, go to different zones and try and scare myself a little bit on the daily.
Advice to the young bucks of Eastern Canada?
Unless you’re planning on being the best in the world at contests, get the fuck out west to the mountains and live your life.
What’s the worst job you ever worked to support your snowboarding habit?
One time when I was super young and broke and I was trying to skip out on school to go snowboarding, basically my parents would drop me off than my other homey would come pick me up, I actually rented a squeegee from this squeegee kid and made like 30 bucks to get an afternoon/evening ticket squeegeeing windows. That was pretty awesome, actually.
Who are you sponsored by?
Capita, Dragon, Thirtytwo, Etnies, Union.
Keep track of Burnsy at thepirateburns.com