Rob Heule 2012 Street
Words by Finn Anderson
There are a lot of people in this world. There are good people, bad people, and whatever people. People you wish you hadn't met, people you are glad you have. People that enlighten, and people that enshroud. When Shay and I decided we would have an interview in every issue of HAKAS, the first person I wanted for the first issue, was Rob Heule. Rob is an enlightener.
I first met Rob in Whistler, BC, summer of 2010. We were both coaching at Camp of Champions, and Rob was living out of his van in Mack Jones' driveway; a beat-up dude who's flannel and jeans seemed to wear him rather than be worn. We would coach our kids until two in the afternoon, then hot lap the glacier until it closed at three- our legs so worn out by closing time that the necessary after-hours hike felt like a death march.
The next winter I made sure to stay posted on Rob. Through the internet, I'd watch his Dew Tour pipe runs and Calgary edits, and I'd feel proud in a way. There's Rob, living out of his van, doing everything his own way. His persona seemed to claw and grapple with the borders of the newschoolers box; himself a loud and unavoidable reminder that true ski-bumming lived on
Now Rob has a well-carved nook in the ski world. He is respected across a wide demographic of ski-enthusiasts and comp-scene junkies. His life has been altered; where once he was a quiet kid making C.O.P. edits, he is now a full time traveler. But he hasn't really changed. He still lives out of his van, he still shreds harder and harder every day, and he still doesn't wear ski goggles. The following pages are snippets of Rob Heule; his art, this skiing, and his van, Terry. Enjoy
You live in a van. Whats your most awesome van story? Do you ever park it down by the river?
Yep van life is what's up, it's pretty minimalistic, I think that's the appeal. I haven't quite figured out winter camping yet, but spring and summer are super manageable when it's warm, dry & sunny. Can't say I've parked down by the river yet, but seems like that'd be a good spot.
Do you ever have border issues concerning your van? Does Terry ever get busted? Have you ever busted a Terry in Terry?
Nah, you just have to throw on a collared shirt, tie your hair up, and tell the boarder guards you're headin' down to the states on vacation to do some sports. That usually flies. I'm not guna go into specifics about bustin' Terry's, but sleepovers are usually a pretty tight squeeze.
Wiley Miller's nickname is Terry.
Yeah? Terry is from FUBAR. That makes 3!
Growing up in Calgary must have been fun. COP looks awesome. It seems like it's kind of the Highland Hills of Canada. Best/worst things?
C.O.P.'s pretty awesome for sure. There's a strong little scene going on there. It's pretty funny, all the kids just show up after school to go shred, or blow off school entirely. That's what I used to do. Mornings are where it's at though, fresh grooming in the park and no lift lines. It makes for the best hotlaps. I'm usually pretty played by noon. Best thing would have to be the location, and lap time. Worst thing is the structure of the resort's management system. They could improve the park by doing the smallest things, yet it seems to take them years to figure it out. But all in all, a pretty good place to spend your days.
Your song choices are awesome. What is your plan of attack for picking a song? Green Onions. How did you pick Green Onions? What method of discovery do you use for new music?
My favorite way to find new music is swapping with friends. Trade fav's for fav's. I came across green onions in "The Sandlot" and thought it was a pretty groovy track. It sounds like something that I'd be bumpin' in my head while cruising around on my skis. I suppose that's what makes a good song for a video, a genre and artist that fit the style of riding and the skiers personality.
Favorite artist at the moment?
Been listening to a lot of a fellow named Corb Lund. He's a pretty upbeat country artist from Alberta. He's playing in Calgary here in a couple weeks, so I'll check that out for sure. On the hip hop side of things, I've been pretty into A Tribe Called Quest lately.
Shay and I and our friend Max just started a band. Would you like to join? I feel like you would be an awesome bassist with your converses and long hair- maybe a Belmont danglin. I'm serious.
I wouldn't say I'm very musically inclined. Maybe I'll jam out on the harmonica.
What were you for halloween?
MJ. Thriller style.
Sometimes i forget that you are a pipe skier. But then i watch a rando edit of you and i'm like oh shit Rob is so good at pipe. You and Duncan Adams are my favorite pipe skiers. It must be weird going to all those competitions though. Do you ever feel like you are a misfit at those comps?
Yeah it was gettin' pretty weird. That's why I really cut back on the competition side of things last season. I figured I'd be a lot better off focusing my efforts and dollars into an avenue that I'd rather be pushing, the film side of things. So satisfied with that decision. I get just as much fulfillment, if not more, skiing in front of a camera than I would in a contest. Competing is pretty dramatic in my mind. Even if you land a run that tops your personal expectations (which you should be excited about) when you get a shit score, it's hard not to get discouraged. Then again that feeling can also act as motivation, so it's a double-edged sword. I decided I was through putting myself through those up's and downs. I'm not done riding the stunt ditch though, nothing like back to back airtime and catchin' tranny.
Favorite pipe skier?
Bowman. Kid knows what's up. He's got my favorite run going on.
Andy Mahre back in the day was so sick at pipe. favorite Nimbus project?
Yeah, there's a lot of OG skiers who were slayin' pipe back in the day! Pep, Turpin, Crichton, Dash Long, Pollard, those are a few of my fav's off the top of my head. Nimbus is doing it right, banger tracks, and banger shreddin'. Not messing with a good thing, and sticking to the standard ski movie format. I love that because it's what I grew up watching. I really look up to all the guys involved with Nimbus. It's though to pick a favourite, I still watch Idea a lot. All the En Route webisodes from 2010 are the best aswell. I have this jump sequence of about five tricks that Pep does in my mind, 3, biggest right 5 ever, cab 7, cab 9, and double flat 7. Anthony put out an awesome edit of a month of ripping whistler backcountry that I love to watch aswell. All those guys ski so hard, its awesome.
Exactly how long do you plan on never using goggles.
Forever. Picked up some glacier glasses a little while ago, so I'm set. I shred in Oakley Radar's right now and those are awesome, they're like goggles without the frame, plus you look super fast.
Is powder even a thing at C.O.P?
Only on the double blacks on the backside, man.
Skateboarding? Biking? Kayaking? Scootering? Don't say rollerblading.
I love cycling. That's my favorite mode of transport. I just picked up a fun little globe cruiser deck. Bombin' hills on that thing is awesome as well.
Ok, that's enough for now. Here's your chance to say thank you to whoever. Word!
Thanks for the first interview in Hakas Finn & Shay. Excited to see what's to come in the future. My brother Jay is the man, keeps me excited about going shreddin' everyday and is my favorite person to ride with. Mom, Dad, you guys rule. Thanks for supporting me on the path I'm taking! The North Face, Shane at Yoke, Full Tilt, Fresh. Darren at Voleurz for all the help. My #1 alcoholic friend Pat King, he points the camera at me. Ogilvie bros, Joel, everyone I grew up skiing with in Fernie. Everyone that's pulled back the bungee way too many times for me. Calgary kids for keepin' it real. Reedo at COC. My boardin' friends, you know who you are. Thanks guys! Love Rob.