The road to greatness often requires getting your hands dirty. For pro snowboarder Robin Van Gyn, that meant dipping her mitts into a lot of guacamole and refried beans.
“I moved to Whistler when I was 17 and rolled burritos for a living at La Tortilleria,” Robin says. “I was living with three other people in a bachelor suite, full ghetto. Now I have my own place and feel like an adult but back then, I was so in love with snowboarding…it was perfect.”
Van Gyn’s work ethic and love of snowboarding paid off. After a few years riding powder in Whistler she attended university in Calgary, Alberta and slid right into the snowboard scene there. “It was a change for me but I would ride park and pipe at the Calgary Olympic Park between classes and after school. It was a cool community of shredders.”
Post-degree, Robin returned to Whistler and began ripping big mountain terrain with a style and enthusiasm that was hard not to notice. “I always knew I wanted to be here,” she says. And with a handful of magazine covers and shred films under her belt, it’s easy to see why.
This winter Robin released a standout segment in the epic (and local) all-women shred flick Full Moon, and she was peer-voted into second place in Snowboarder Magazine’s annual Women’s Rider of the Year poll. With her fearless approach to having fun in the mountains, riding hard and inspiring others, Robin is also the Insider’s favourite snowboarder of 2017, so we caught up to find out a few of her top local spots and secrets.
Robin’s Whistler Favourites
Favourite Breakfast: “This is a tough one. I think I am supposed to say something healthy but really Purebread is my favourite place for breakfast. The baked goods there are addictive like crack (Editor’s note: they actually have a bar called “crack”) but the jalapeño/cheddar scone is my go to.
Favourite Pre-Riding Snack: I make a lot of food at home too but I do like to jump into Mount Currie Coffee Company in the mornings. They have those Treehugger breakfast sandwiches and the coffee is really good too. Plus you can grab something for lunch if you’re heading out sledding.
Best Place to Relax: Scandinave Spa all the way. It is the best new(ish) addition to Whistler and gives people something to do that is not on the mountain. I also love cruising the Valley Trail, it connects all the parks, lakes and neighbourhoods and really helps make Whistler special.
Favourite Pow Zone: I like the trees in between Solar Coaster and Seventh Heaven but Crystal Chair zone is good too. Harmony on a good day is so awesome. Peak…I guess I don’t have a favourite zone. I love it all. If you get first tracks down the front side Peak Chair, shale slope, lookers left, in good light… you’ll remember that for the rest of your life.
Best Run for Cruising: I like Rock n Roll on Blackcomb. It has good side hits and is pretty steep so you can open it up. It’s wide so you have lots of space to finaggle around and it never feels crowded. Having Crystal Chair at the bottom is so amazing, no more cat track out to Excelerator.
Best Après: Dusty’s. Always. It’s a classic “Bar” and I really like that. Getting a Voyaguer and some Nachos after a long Peak to Creek lap is the best. And there is usually live music, like the Hairfarmers. Plus I live in Creekside and walking home after après is always a bonus.
Favourite Snowboard Shop: There are many good ones but for me, I love The Circle. I just like the people who work there so I just go in and hang out and talk about snowboarding. John is amazing, Laura and Steve… they are all sweet there.
Favourite Place to Take an Out-of-Towner: El Furniture Warehouse is a fun spot to get a feel for Whistler. I always take people up the mountain. I like to show people that we ride hard and eat well but for me I never go super fancy or expensive. There is a lot of great mid-range places to eat. Pasta Lupino, I take people there all the time. That place is the bomb.
Favourite Thing about Whistler: It’s the access that keeps me here. Access to the best backcountry in the world. One of the best terrain parks in the world. Access to Vancouver and the West Coast, access to the best mountains. It’s all here. I can wake up and walk to a lake, I can get into nature so easily, Anyone can. It’s so easy here. I love it.
You can check out some of Robin’s favourite places in pictures below. For more spring fun including cruising, après and WSSF – head to Whistler.com.
Robin’s Favourites, In Photos
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