Derek Tsui is very literally the definition of Yervana. In fact, he’s the local who inspired our outdoor adventure platform! Originally hailing from Pemberton, BC, and now based in Squamish, the Sea to Sky Corridor was Derek’s playground growing up. He’s been hiking, mountain biking and skiing since he was a kid, including ski racing competitively until he was 15-years-old (these days he’s more into backcountry and freeride skiing.)
In his 9-5, Derek works for the local municipal government and started his own marketing and consulting business on the side, but exploring the outdoors is still a major part of his everyday life, whether it’s hiking the hundreds of nearby trails, or heading to Whistler to hit the slopes.
The Inspiration for Yervana
Yervana founder Jim McGovern was inspired to create Yervana when a visiting friend’s son was looking for someone to show him the slopes in Whistler for the day. After making some calls, Jim found Derek, who knows Whistler like the back of his hand, and loves taking new people out on the mountain. It was serendipity.
Q & A with Derek
Q: Technically, you’re the first Yervana Local! How did you inspire the idea?
Derek: Before Yervana was ‘Yervana,’ I was sitting at Dusty’s Bar one day with Jim’s daughter Ashley and a few friends, and Jim called Ashley wondering if anyone could hang out with his friend’s son for the day and take him skiing, so I volunteered because I love to take people skiing and show them around the mountain. The next day I met up with Jim and his friend’s son Michael, and we just went out and had a great day. There was fresh snow, it was blast, and Michael had a great time.
Q: Is that something that happens a lot?
Derek: Oh yeah always! I was lucky enough to grow up in Pemberton, I went away for university and then came back home because there’s really nowhere better than the Sea to Sky Corridor. It’s very hard to leave this area, I live in Squamish now, and I travel back and forth to Whistler for work, so I’m always up and down the corridor. Living there, a lot of my friends and their friends will contact me saying ‘oh I’m coming to visit’ and I’m more than happy to take people out skiing, biking, hiking, or happy to just cruise around the city, hanging out.
Q: So really, an everyday experience for you turned into something big. Did you have any idea that would happen?
Derek: It sparked an idea with Jim to start some kind of social platform to connect people the way we had right away, and from there you could see the hamster at the wheel sort of turning in his mind and he just started snowballing ideas, and I thought it was great. Half a year later I got an email from him saying ‘let’s have coffee, there’s something really exciting I want to share with you, it all stemmed from you so I want to tell you first.’
Q: What do you love to do most where you live?
Derek: It’s very weather dependent, I either wait for the snow to fall or I go find the goods in the winter, and in the summer I mainly go mountain biking and in my backyard I have hundreds and hundreds of trails, and a ton more opening up throughout the summer. In the off days, I explore Squamish, hang out in coffee shops (I have a newfound love for coffee), since I just moved back I’m discovering more in my own backyard every day. And my new rainy day activity is bouldering in the local climbing gym, I may have to use Yervana to find a climbing partner!