“Caley Vanular, what an excellent human being. I had the honour of going on a very adventures shoot with Caley this past season – it was wild, awesome, and completely unexpected. After bushwhacking through the coastal jungle for 8 hours I feel like I got to know Caley pretty well and she is delightfully easy to be around, contagiously inspiring, oddly everywhere at once in the snowboard industry and it’s about time you get to know her. Sit down, get comfy, read on.” – Abby Cooper, Editor in Chief Snowboard Canada
Caley Vanular is a snowboarder, photographer, surfer, artist, and lifestyle advocate who hails from British Columbia, Canada. Her roots lay in vast mountainscapes and rich temperate rainforests. It’s from these natural spaces that she draws much of her inspiration and they, in turn, play an intrinsic role in her aesthetic approach. Her work has been featured across multiple media platforms, various galleries and used in marketing campaigns for internationally recognized brands. These days, you can find Caley traveling around the world searching for snow and surf or busy directing campaigns for big and small brands.
LIFE AS A SNOWBOARDER: Caley Vanular
CV: I’ve been snowboarding for 25 years.
CV: My ski team (aka glorified daycare for 5-year-olds) had a tradition of doing one “learn to snowboard weekend” a season. I signed up, took my first lesson and at the end of the day went straight home and told my mom I wanted to quit skiing. I didn’t have very many rules growing up, but one rule in our house was that we had to see commitments through, so I stuck it out the rest of the season. The next season I joined the snowboard team and haven’t skied since.
Claim to fame?
CV: I used to have a mean front board ; ) Now it’s most likely my ability to maintain good group vibes in tough situations. (spoiler alert, more about this in print.)
Tell us why you love it and how it became such a big part of who you are?
CV: I love sports, always have. My parents divorced when I was young and my mom put us in ski school so she could have her weekends. I fell in love with the freedom of it. The people involved. The culture. The creativity. The speed. Since I started at such a young age the community basically raised me. I’ve made some of my best friends through the sport and it’s influenced me in the way I approach life and business.
LIFE AS CALEY VANULAR
Sometimes it’s hard to take snowboarding away from someone’s identity, but we want to know what makes you tick.
The fact that I am into so many other things has always made me feel a little bit like an outsider in snowboarding. It’s made people think I’m not as “core” as they are or whatever.
When I was “coming up” it was almost looked down on to do or be into other stuff. Now it’s celebrated (kinda). I’ve always been into photography, art, the internet, sports, and entrepreneurship. I met a lot of my original friends in snowboarding through a hat company I owned at 13 or the blog I ran before the word blog was a word in the dictionary.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR CALEY VANULAR
A daunting question in our current social landscape, but because it’s unknown, there aren’t really any rules.
What’s next for you in your snowboarding pursuits?
CV: I signed with K2 last February right before COVID shut everything down. I’ll be working with them to test and develop their new women’s specific freeride boards while joining the team to film in Canada, Utah and Jackson Hole. When I am not with the K2 crew, I hope to be riding lots of powder, going new places on my splitboard and working to get myself into bigger terrain.
What about the immediate future?
CV: I was posted up in Portland, Oregon most of the summer renovating a house and surfing a lot. Currently, I’m in Nova Scotia doing the mandatory two-week quarantine at a lovely house by the sea. I have high hopes that a hurricane swell arrives the day I am allowed to leave the house. After that, I’ll visit family, head back to BC and get ready for winter.
And how about those lofty five-year plans?
CV: Five years, so hard to tell at this point. Snowboard in Alaska. Build a compound in Mexico. Snowboard on Honshu in Japan. Spend a winter in Europe. Take more photos. Spend more time with people I love. Help people. Go on bigger, better and more meaningful adventures.
What’s next for the community/culture of snowboarding? Any words from the wise?
CV: Am I considered wise? I’m not sure I can accept that title.
Nevertheless, I see snowboarding coming full circle. I think women’s snowboarding is going to explode like women’s surfing and skating has; which I’m really excited about. I think the landscape of what it means to be a professional snowboarder is changing and there will be more room for people to affect and participate in the sport at a professional level. You won’t have to be chosen by a team manager and made pro, you can carve your own path and be your own media which will only make snowboarding better and more diverse. I think people will consume less, buy better, and learn more about the mountains. With the global pandemic affecting everyone, independent sports like surfing, mountain biking, and skateboarding have seen a significant increase and I think we will see that trend spill into splitboarding and backcountry travel this upcoming winter.
Tell us about your career sans snowboarding?
CV: I was always a big internet kid. I blew out my knee at a Forum Youngbloods when I was 15. It was so bad that I had to get surgery and was unable to snowboard for twelve months. While I was off-snow I started working online. Affiliate marketing, Social Media Management, Blogging, Photography, eBay Power Sellers, you name it, I did it and I just kept doing it. As I healed up and got back on snow, I continued to work online. It enabled my freedom to work when I wanted to and took the pressure off trying to make money from snowboarding. Fifteen years later I am still doing the same thing… just a little bigger and better. Snowboarding and working as a marketing consultant, photographer, and creative director for both startups and global brands.
What makes you happy?
CV: Simplicity. Bottomless powder. Glassy Waves. Sunshine. Good food. Great friends. Groovy tunes.
CV: It’s natural ; )
Undoubtedly inspired by this humble badass shredder, it’s best to follow Caley Vanular’s life on Instagram for more inspo, snow froth, and to see her projects evolve.