Interview & photos by Jeff Schmuck

How's your summer going?

Awesome. We're pretty much smack dab in the middle of Camp of Champions. It was a slow start due to some bad weather, but it's on point right now. It's been 30 degrees and sunny and the most fun summer ever.

This is your fourth year coaching there right?

Yep. Fourth year coaching, fifth year with COC. So I'm starting to pay my dues (laughs).

How is coaching for you? Does it ever feel a bit mundane doing the the same thing over and over again every day every summer, or is it hard to get tired of it?

Well getting up early for breakfast is definitely mundane (laughs). I get sick of that for sure, but I'm never tired of the on-hill stuff. There's always new kids and new features and I love skiing so I don't ever get sick of it.

What's been the biggest highlight of your summer so far?

In all honesty probably our most recent day off. Myself, Luke (Van Valin), TJ (Schiller), Sterbenz, Hjorleifson and Callum (Pettit) all went out to (Mark) Abma's place in Pemberton and swam in the river, hiked through the forest and found a 100-foot waterfall. And then we all had a nice little strawberry picking session in the afternoon. So it was definitely a solid, solid day.

Tell us a funny story about camp this summer.

Oh man, I've got a great one. So last week was our end of session party, and we threw a Camp of Champions Euro trash dance party at a 19+ bar. So myself along with a lot of my good friends were in there celebrating and having a grand old time, when one of our campers, who will remain nameless, taps me and Margetts on the shoulder while we're standing at the bar, gives us the finger, and runs away. We were trying to find him for the rest of the night but we couldn't, but he's here again this week and told us he somehow managed to find his way in via some back door through a restaurant or something. It was pretty funny, because he's 13 and looks like he's about 9 (laughs).

How was your season this past winter?

It was a lot of fun. I didn't do as many competitions as I had planned because I didn't make Dew Tour, but I got a wild card spot into the last one in Vermont where I made it through to finals and placed 9th, which I was pretty stoked on. After that I headed over to Switzerland for European Open, which turned into a rail jam because of the bad weather, which was kind of a bummer, but I still had fun hanging out with all the boys. And filming-wise it was kind of a different year, because I didn't get out on my sled to shoot pow until March. So that was pretty weird, but Whistler in March and April was so damn good. It felt like the middle of winter and the snow was so deep, so I managed to get some good pow days in there at the end of the season when it counted.

European Open. Photo: John Vandervalk

You were one of the marquee athletes in Rage's films over the past few years, so how did them not making a movie this year affect your shooting schedule?

It was a little different for sure. As far back as I can remember I've only really shot with two film companies each year. I've always shot with the Voleurz boys, along with Theory-3 and then Rage. So having both of those guys gone now I only shot with Voleurz this year, which was kind of different and wasn't as hectic of a schedule. So that was nice, but I definitely miss the Rage guys. But on the other hand it's allowed me to put a little more time into having just one segment, so I'm pretty stoked to see how it turns out.

And what are your plans going into next winter?

I'm going to really focus on Dew Tour at the beginning of the season, so hopefully I'll get into that. I'm definitely going to try to do more comps than I did last year in an effort to focus on that side of things, but I still want to get out into the pow and shoot as much as possible. I try my best to balance competing and filming, because I'm not trying to be specific as to one or the other.

Dew Tour. Photo: Matt Stauble

Do you prefer one over the other?

To be honest, I know most people bitch about competing, because it's icy and nerve racking and you can get screwed over by judging, etc etc, but I actually really enjoy competing, as weird as that may sound. But then again when you get a few days in the pow with your buddies it's pretty much unbeatable.

You've got some big news coming down the pipe this summer. Tell us about it.

Yeah I'm going to do my own water ramp camp here in Whistler. I'll be hosting it, and my good friend Myles Ricketts is going to help coach alongside of me. It's going to be from July 26th - 28th, so it's a short, three-day camp. You can register by simply emailing me at joe_schuster@hotmail.com, and it's $100 CDN a day, so it comes out to $300 total, and that doesn't include food and accommodation. We've got Rip Curl as a sponsor, and they're going to be throwing down a ton of prizes, so we might have a fun little comp on the last day, along with some fun after-camp activities. You can check out the Facebook page for it for more info, and also, if you're not a member of CFSA you can still join the camp, but just send me an email and I'll send you a link where you can buy some really cheap insurance to be a part of CFSA, and anyone can do it, whether you're a part of CFSA or not.

What made you decide to start this up?

Well I've been coaching at COC for a long time now, and I've just noticed so many kids out there who are so talented and are getting so good and want to start doing all these crazy new tricks. And while you're at summer camp you get to go to the ramps, and just about every kid has the best time ever because they can try tricks they're too scared to try on snow, but they only get about two hours a week to do it, and you can only get so much done in that short period of time. So I know there's a lot of kids out there who want to learn everything from 360's and backflips to double 12's, but I know that not everyone can afford summer camp, so I just want to open the door for any kid who wants to come out and learn some new tricks and just have a good time. We're going to keep it super casual and have a lot of fun, and most of all I just want to help kids achieve their goals, because everyone is scared to try new tricks, myself included, and I want to help kids out with that.

Any shout-out's and thank-you's to dish out?

Yeah for sure. First and foremost to my family, all my friends, Camp of Champions, Newschoolers, and my sponsors: Rip Curl, Scott, Kombi Voleurz...and no ski sponsor just in case you're wondering (laughs). So if anyone out there is interested let me know (laughs).


Interviews/Profiles