New Canadian Prime Minister Was Once a Whistler Ski Bum Staying in a Van

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Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau

Canada just elected a new Prime Minister on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015. 

The new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was once a bit of a ski bum who, in the 1990’s, went to school at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and crashed on his buddy’s couch in Whistler while snowboard instructing at Whistler ski resort on weekends.  Justin is even rumored to have spend some of those weekends in Whistler crashing in his van in the parking lot at Whistler.  Justin taught teens in a cool program called “Ride Tribe.”

Justin sadly lost his brother to an avalanche/drowning near Nelson, B.C. back in 1998 and his body was never found.  Since his brother’s passing, Justin has been a strong advocate for the Canadian Avalanche Association.

Michel Trudeau died as the result of an avalanche while skiing at British Columbia’s Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park on November 13, 1998; he was 23 years old. He was swept into Kokanee Lake and unable to reach the shore. His companions were unable to effect a rescue, and Trudeau drowned.  An extensive search was launched, but his body has never been found. The lake’s high altitude and limited days of open waters each year prevented divers from completing the search.” – wikipedia

video interview with Justin Trudeau on a Whistler chairlift in 2001.

According to his ski bum buddy from Whistler, Justin was a bit of a wild man on a snowboard:

“one of the most dangerous people in the world to snowboard behind!”

“ridiculously long snowboard, totally built for speed” 

“As someone who spent a lot of time riding with Justin, it was always touch and go.” – Sean Smillie, friend and fellow snowboard instructor

It even sounds like Justin had a classic, beat up, crappy ski bum car he charged around in:

“Justin drove an exceptionally crappy car.  We used to nickname it the Staff Car. More often than not, we’d be huddled around a little heater in the front seat. I’d have to hop out at intersections and push the car so it wouldn’t die. It was always a miracle we made it to where we were going.”- Sean Smillie

This new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is really interesting and has spent a good amount of time in the snow.

Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau


  • Only 43-years-old
  • Spent seasons in 1990’s crashing on couches and in van while employed as snowboard instructor at Whistler, B.C.
  • Lived in Vancouver & snowboarded Whistler regularly for 5 years
  • Son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968, to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980, to June 30, 1984
  • Was born into the Canadian “White House” in 1971
  • Bachelor of Arts degree in literature from McGill University and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia
  • Brother passed away while skiing in an avalanche/drowning in Nelson, B.C. in 1998
  • Began his career in politics in 2000
  • On April 14, 2013, Trudeau was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
  • When he begins as Prime Minister on November 4th, he will be the second-youngest person and the first time a child of a previous prime minister will hold be Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau advocating with the Canadian Avalanche Association
Justin Trudeau advocating with the Canadian Avalanche Association

Now that our snowboarding former ski bum Canadian Prime Minister Justin is in office, what does he want to do?  He’s a liberal.  A true liberal and he wants to make Canada a better place and via a very liberal point of view.


• Bolster gun control measures

• Legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana

• Invest more in public transit and “green infrastructure”

• Maintain military spending, cutting spending for an F-35 stealth bomber jet and ending the combat mission in Iraq while scaling up Canada’s involvement in international peacekeeping

• “Reopen Canada’s doors” to immigrants, particularly those with family living in the country and welcoming more refugees from Syria

• Ensure that Canadians continue to receive mail to their doors

• Make “taxes more fair” with a middle-class tax cut and introducing a Canada Child Benefit aimed at helping single-parent and low-income families

• Make Canada’s government more accessible and transparent, including further opening up Parliament and not interfering with “watchdog” groups

Justin Trudeau now.
Justin Trudeau now.

What’s great to hear is that according to Justin’s ski bum buddy from Whistler, he’s still the same guy as he was back in those Whistler days.

“He’s still the guy I knew back in Whistler.”

“Justin’s enthusiasm [for politics] pretty much matched his enthusiasm for being in the mountains, snowboarding and hanging out with friends.” – Sean Smillie, friend and fellow snowboard instructor

Good luck, Justin!  We’re rooting for ya.

Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau


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5 thoughts on “New Canadian Prime Minister Was Once a Whistler Ski Bum Staying in a Van

  1. Crucial Mike was a Pal of mine in Whistler for years before he died. As a local in Whistler, I never saw Justin Trudeau but if he’s out snowboarding sometime and I happen to see him, I will be sure to help him and give him a pole. We have to help those who help us.

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