Robin Van Gyn on Pro Snowboarding & the Natural Selection Tour™
Her Journey to Guiding & Riding Pro
A self-proclaimed snowboarding “late bloomer,” Robin Van Gyn didn’t strap into a board until she was 16 years old. But considering her quick rise in the guiding world and her prowess in the backcountry, her relatively late start didn’t impact her trajectory one bit. Robin received awards for lines she hit in two films, including Depth Perception, and her invite to compete in the 2021 Natural Selection Tour cements her standing alongside the best snowboarders in the world.
We chatted with Robin about her path to going pro, the impact of COVID on her training, and her enviable gear closet.
Tell me your background and your path to professional snowboarding and competing in the 2021 Natural Selection Tour.
I’m in the late bloomers club and actually didn’t get on a snowboard until I was 16. Starting off in the park and riding pow in Whistler, I knew straight away my path was outside the resort and basically dedicated all my time to learning to go in the backcountry.
I started working as a guide when I was 19 as another way of getting to where I wanted to go. After what seemed like an eternity of piecing it together, I started to get really great opportunities to ride with my idols and kept seeking out more ways to do that. The whole thing just led me to a balanced career in seeking out lines and riding big mountain while still maintaining freestyle elements to my snowboarding.
Becoming a guide has taught me so much more about how to look at and understand the mountains. All of those things have led me here and I couldn’t be more excited to be in this incredible roster of heavy hitters.
The Natural Selection Tour is hosting a high number of women riders compared to most snowboarding competitions. What does this mean to you both as an athlete and for the world of snowboarding?
Honestly, I am just so excited to be included, whatever the numbers, I think all of us are really looking forward to showing up and representing the women the best way we can. We are prepared and I’m stoked to see where the women take this new progression.
How has training for competition changed this year with COVID?
It’s been better actually—less shoots and travel mean more time at home to practice and get out snowboarding. It also cleared up some space to work on all the off-snow things, like yoga and mental fitness! I’m feeling rested and ready.
What’s another way you disconnect in the outdoors when you’re not snowboarding?
My life revolves around the outdoors, so if I’m not snowboarding, I’m hiking, surfing, skating, or biking. Being outside just brings me all the good stuff in life, so I tend to just do that above everything else.
Tell me about your snowboard gear closet.
Head-to-toe technical 3L GORE-TEX. I’m a function over fashion person and I’m all about staying dry and warm so I can make the most of my days.
I’ve been trying a few different boards this year including the Lib Tech Orca, the Lib Tech Dynamo and the Dynamiss, most recently I have been on a Burton Storyboard and I’m loving that as a freeride tool. I always have one of those Roxy hydrosmart neck warmers. They are the best on the skin and it’s rare to find me without one on.