Brett Tippie is living proof that Young Talent is not about age, but about attitude. As the newest YT family member, his tools of shred will be the TUES, CAPRA, and JEFFSY. “I have lusted after the sexy YT bikes for some time, and after testing them, I was blown away about how plush, stiff and stable they really were with dialed angles and suspension kinematics,” said the Canadian. “It’s one of those bikes you feel natural on right away.”
At 48, Tippie is not exactly a blank page. Back in the 1990s he was already leaving his mark on the sport. Right from the start Tippie and his boys developed their own style, far away from competitions and results. Cliff drops and steep, technical descents were on the to-do list instead. For more, check out this interview with the man himself.
What projects and events do you have on your 2017 schedule?
My year is pretty stacked with stuff already, starting with officially kicking off the season at Crankworx New Zealand, where I’ll be doing the official daily Crankworx reports, my own show, “Just the Tip”, and 30 Second-ish Bike Checks. Then we have Sea Otter, the rest of the entire Crankworx events in France, Austria and Whistler, plus many hosting, announcing events such as the BC Bike Race, BC Cup and Canada Cup DH (including the Stevie Smith memorial) and of course filming and shooting whenever possible for projects like Freeride Entertainments “Nothings for Free”, the Kranked throwback movie, and photoshoots in cool MTB locations with bad ass photographers like my buds Ale di Lullo, Margus Riga and others.
Every mountain biker in the world seems to know you. How the heck did you become that famous?
Hmmm, oh boy. That’s a long story! I filmed for the first freeride MTB film, Pulp Traction, in 1995 with Greg Stump, Christian Begin and Bjorn Enga. It kind of rolled on from there to make the original Kranked in 1997/98, the movie that really brought freeride to the masses. After that, three of us (Wade Simmons, Richie Schley and I) got signed as the world’s first professional freeride team, the Froriders, and continued to shoot for years for the Kranked series, NWD, and numerous TV shows and magazines. In the last decade or so, I have added hosting and producing webisodes for Pinkbike and sponsors, as well as live announcing various action events like World Cup and World Championships in MTB, Snowboarding, Skiing, BMX, Rallycross and Crashed Ice DH Icecross. Throughout it all, I have maintained a healthy addiction and love of anything MTB and tried to promote myself, fellow riders, sponsors and the sport in general as best I can.
Enduro, trail or downhill?
Freeride! But I’m glued to watching World Cup DH, EWS, Fest Series and cool trail edits too.
What happened to freeride in the last years? What do you think the future will bring?
Everything ebbs and flows, freeride will always have a place in mountain biking, but in more places, different varieties and disciplines.
Who’s your most inspiring rider?
I’ve always admired Steve Peat for his longevity, skills, passion, professionalism, approach to life, and the fact that he’s always having fun. In the entire sporting world, Craig Kelly, a pioneering snowboarder, and extreme skier Glen Plake were a huge influence. At the Rampage, my favorites to watch are Andreu, Zink, Aggy, Sorge, Claw and Doerfling.
What’s the best thing riding has given you?
Freedom to pursue my passion professionally around the world in amazing terrain, family (I met my wife at Crankworx!) and lots of cool, crazy friends. (In the native world, you are wealthy when you have many friends and memories, so I must be loaded!!)
What non-bike related hobbies do you have?
Snowboarding. In my life before being a professional free rider, I raced World Cup Giant Slalom and Boardercross on the Canadian National team for Burton Snowboards, before retiring as the Canadian Grand National Boardercross Champion. I love freeriding deep powder on my board and snowmobile. I always travel with a 170 gram Frisbee with a built-in light, and love to play disc whenever and wherever I can.
What would you do for a living if you wouldn’t have joined the mountain bike industry?
I probably would’ve been a comedian or actor and hopefully fulfilled my dream of being a crazy bad guy in a James Bond movie!
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Mountain biking and boarding I hope! I once said in an interview, that I’m a “lifer” and if there were to be a nuclear holocaust, the only things left would be Keith Richards, Sam Hill’s eyebrows, Richie Schley’s hair products and my big mouth.
What meaning does mountain biking have for you?
For me it’s all about being in the mountains/forest/desert, breathtaking scenery, cool technology, camaraderie and high fives with awesome people.
It’s the zombie apocalypse: What are the five songs first on your playlist?
AC/DC-Back in Black, Led Zeppelin-Fool in the Rain, Metallica-Master of Puppets, Tech N9ne-The Rain, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers-cover of Higher Ground.
Your favorite riding spot worldwide?
I’d have to say British Columbia. From the Sea to Sky corridor (North Shore, Squamish, Whistler, Whistler Bike Park and Pemberton) to my home of Kamloops in the BC Interior including the Sun Peaks Bike Park. Very different types of terrain. Internationally, I have really enjoyed Northern Italy, Southern France, New Zealand and Utah.
If you could turn back time, to which moment would you like to return?
I’d like to return to competing in Rampage due to over partying and a comedy of errors (my bike was stolen) and another shot at qualifying for the Olympics in Snowboarding GS. I’d also like to return to any number of days throughout the decades where the dirt was perfect tackiness, I was in the zone, and I was riding a trail or line for the very first time. You only get to do those once in the real world.
Do you have any hidden talents that people wouldn’t expect from you?
I can juggle and can also blow bubbles out of my eyes when submerged in water! I also like to draw and occasionally paint water color, like my father did.
Is your family involved in mountain biking, too? How do your private and your professional life blend with each other?
My wife Sarah grew up in Deep Cove, during the birth of mountain biking in Canada. She got her first mountain bike in 1986! She’s a solid rider who loves to shred the bike park on her big bike, and trail ride when she can. Behind the scenes, she works hard with getting me from A to B, organizing all the logistics behind the scenes so that I can do as much as I can do, and looking after our kids and home life. My 8-year-old girl has been riding since 3 and has even joined me on night rides on the north shore in the rain, and my 5-year-old daughter is on a big run bike with brakes. They are still quite young and I don’t push it too hard on them.
Clipless or flats?
Flats for life for me! (I rode clips in the 90’s but with 5.10’s these days I prefer flats.)
If you had one super power, it would be?
I used to want to be able to fly but I think I’d actually prefer to have regenerative powers like the Wolverine so I could go as hard as I wanted every day!
Was there a point when you actively decided to go pro and be part of the industry or did it just happen?
It kind of happened accidentally. I used to MTB to get my kicks and train when there was no snow to snowboard in BC. Then I was hired to be a Frorider. Before that, mountain bikers earned a pay check racing and being on the clock. I always found it ironic that after years on the clock racing myself, after I stopped, picked up a bike more regularly and starting riding for thrills that I was more well-known and earned enough money to make a living, something I never did while racing!
Did the way to enter the business change since then? Like becoming a career path, for example?
I’m sure it has. All I can say is, working hard, shooting lots, being professional and a helpful person along the way (putting up booths, tearing down booths etc.) is what helped me. My advice to people who want to get into professional riding is work hard, be on time, network, be yourself, ride with the best riders you can, take chances but pick and choose your battles, be positive and consistent with media, look ahead and of course, have some fun with it!
Your favorite after ride meal?
How does a typical Brett Tippie day look like, once you are at home?
Wake up with my kids at 7:30am, help get them to school, check the weather, do a quick surf online, take care of business or tasks, go for a shred in the local mountains, pick up my girls from school, do some activities with them (skiing, swimming, bike riding, Frisbee, Brownies, ballet, art, etc.), have dinner, tune bikes and/or boards, put my kids to bed, go for a night ride in the local woods, surf online, return emails, and go to bed at 2-3am. Recharge and repeat.
The proudest moments of your career?
Being sponsored as a Frorider in the 90’s stomping some of the first cliff drops and steep lines in the original movies, cracking the top 10 in World Cup GS and SBX racing, getting sober from drugs and alcohol 9 years ago, being inducted into the MTB Hall of Fame, hosting for Pinkbike, and continuing to ride professionally as an OG sharing good times and stoking people to ride bikes!
What’s the next big thing in mountain biking? In the sense of future, not wheel size.
I think people will continue to obviously go faster and bigger with crazier tricks in more exotic locations. I can see POV virtual reality experiences booming for entertainment and instruction.
What would you like to be the next big thing in mountain biking?
I’d like to see awesome bikes become more affordable for kids and more everyday people and crossover athletes from various sports start to MTB and find their niche.
Your favorite TV show?
I don’t watch TV very often. It seems I’m always too pinned trying to keep on top of work, riding and parenting to sit down and watch TV.
Is there something you really miss in the sport?
I miss our fallen brothers and sisters who have passed away or have lost their ability or passion to shred the mountains. Enjoy it now because life is short.
If you could be someone else, who (or what) would that be?
I wish I could clone myself so I could do more in a day! I’d shred more places, with more people, create more content, do more with my family and share more good times experiences with the world! If I could clone myself, I’d be so happy…I’d be beside myself!!