Everyone here at Ryders is super stoked for having the chance to interview Brett Tippie! James from Ryders Eyewear got the chance to interview Brett. For those who don’t know who he is, Brett is an icon in the mountain biking world. As a professional athlete, he actually started with snowboarding and he did very well! He started mountain biking in the 90s. What is so great about Brett is that on a personal level, Brett is a great guy and people can’t help but be happy and feel positive vibes around him. Read more below in a short interview with Brett Tippie:
James: You’ve been credited for being one of the pioneers in freeriding. In your opinion, what is the best trail/place for freeriding?
Brett: BC is definitely the best all around place I’ve ever been for freeriding! The North Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Kamloops triangle has every type of riding and conditions you could ever imagine or dream of! The Kootenays also have incredible diversity and Williams Lake, Revelstoke, Panorama, Kicking Horse, etc. all have gems of trails and terrain too! I can only imagine the untapped potential of Northern BC! If I had to pick one place to call the best, I would say Retallack Lodge though…it has incredible shuttle runs, heli-drops in the alpine, berms, rollers, jumps, steeps, and an awesome vibe at the wicked lodge…with a glow in the dark 18 hole disc golf course!!
James: Retallack Lodge sounds like a dream come true for MTBers. Will put that on my to-do list in the future. Brett, what is the craziest thing that happened to you while in a mountain biking event?
Brett: When I competed in Red Bull Rampage 2002, they had youthful prison offenders push our bikes up the hill for us athletes to help save our energy. When I got to the top of the course and waited for 45 minutes for my bike to arrive…it didn’t. The competition had started already and my bike wasn’t there! I was rider #11 to go so I ran 1000′ to the bottom of the venue and couldn’t find my bike anywhere in the pits. I was sprinting everywhere frantically searching and there was no sign of it. Eventually, I gave up and in a daze of disbelief walked back to my campsite down the road…and found my bike in the ditch 300 feet up the road!! I grabbed it and ran 1000′ back up the mtn to try and make my run! I made it barely, and out of breath, sweating, and with legs burning I dropped in! I was part way down the mtn when the helicopter who was filming came in to shoot me. The helicopter had just arrived and the pilot didn’t know how close to fly to the hill. He came too close and totally dusted me out with the windwash of dirt. I got dirt in one eye and rode the rest of the run with one eye shut.
I persevered, dropping cliffs and steeps till I got to the crux of my line: a series of 3 drops in a row that were 8, 10 and 12 feet. When I got there, there was a huge crowd of spectators standing all over the top of the drops in my way. I hollered “Move, please!!!” and they scampered out [of] the way as I tried to keep my flow. I then realized that the little rocks I had lined up like a little runway on the run to the first drop to give me my location and angle of takeoff were trampled by the crowd and were totally gone. I went for it anyways gauging where to take off from memory. I was pretty spot on but as I got close to the edge a girl stepped out from the crowd and staggered into my way screaming “giver Tippie!!”. I veered around her and barely missed her with my handlebar, but the little ridge I was riding onto was crowned and rolled away steeply on either side so you had to be in the middle of it. I was suddenly too far left of where I planned to be and I got pulled in by gravity and a lack of traction to no man’s land and into a steep, cliffed out area with massive rocks everywhere. My bike and I cartwheeled down the mtn and I separated my shoulder pinballing off one of the giant rocks. The crowd was silent.
When I raised my good arm to wave to the crowd and say, “it’s a tough way to make a living ladies and gentlemen!”, they went wild! I dragged my bike back onto the ridge below the 3 drops I was planning on hitting and then pedaled at the biggest drop on my line. I made it and my separated shoulder held but I slightly knuckled the landing and I smacked my junk so hard on my seat that I bent it…my seat that is. The crowd again gasped, and I said to the silent masses…”If you lose your left ball, is your right ball still your right ball? It’s your ball left!!” The crowd roared and I rode to the bottom of the mtn with one eye still closed from the helicopter wind wash shaking my head. That was the definitely the craziest series of events that ever happened to me in a mountain biking event!
James: That is definitely out-of-this-world and you still had the grit (pun intended) to shout out jokes! NICE! Next up: out of all the events you ride and work at, which one do you enjoy the most and why?
Brett: I have always enjoyed Crankworx because not only do I get some shredding in doing media events, sponsor rides and shooting for the Deep Summer Photographer Showdown, but I also get to see the best riders in the world absolutely shredding the mtn in their prospective disciplines. Very inspiring. The social aspect and nightly parties are off the hook and you have thousands and thousands of mtn bike freaks to hang with. I have to say though, the BC BIKE RACE is even better. It’s like a mtb summer camp for adults with 600 like-minded people riding 50km day of wicked trails and camping new places every night! It’s an amazing vibe and so much fun!!!
James: I totally agree. Crankworx and the BCBR are two events that many mtn bikers enjoy most. So, Brett, what is the most difficult/most awesome line you’ve done on your bike? Please describe it!
Brett: I did a ridiculously steep line called “Fly Paper” on Whistler. It is a very steep rock slab that ends in a 9-foot drop where you have 13 feet to slow down and turn right before you go over a lower 12′ cliff with a flat landing. It’s kinda stupid really. I tried it 4 times and only made it once. Even Cam Zink and Andreu Lacondeguy didn’t want any piece of it.
James: Sounds like an opportunity for massive spills! Yet, you did it! Okay… besides mountain biking, I know you are an accomplished professional snow boarder. What prompted you to try snowboarding?
Brett: I saw a picture of someone snowboarding in a tiny 3″ ad in an Action Now (Multisport) magazine back in the early 80’s. Surfing on snow instantly appealed to me and I hand built my first snowboard in 1983. It was basically a piece of plywood with a curved nose and strips of rubber cut from a BMX tire screwed in for bindings with inner tubes to hold your heels in. It worked and I’ve been a snowboarder ever since with 36 years [of] experience, a 10-year career racing pro, rode for Burton Snowboards on the Canadian National Team, won Bronze Duct Tape in Masters recently in the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom, and still try to get as much deep powder as possible to this day!!
James: Rad! A MTBer and a snowboarder for summers and winters. In addition to your sports career, you also do professional MCing for events throughout the world. What aspects of MCing do you enjoy?
Brett: My job is getting people stoked… and business is good!! ha ha I love getting people excited, telling a story (or a joke) with good information and humour, and keeping my finger on the pulse of the best up and comer kids and top pros in the world!
James: Yes, I see that in your videos that you are in. You definitely do a lot of MCing. Also, you do keep your finger on the pulse of up and comer kids. Most recently, you and FastFokus did a Dirt Diaries video and you won! Congratulations! The professional shot videos do cost money, so let’s talk business. In it, you and your wife Sarah makes a great team. What do you focus on and what does Sarah focus on in the business?
Brett: I travel a lot and announce the small, medium and big events, do the riding for the photo shoots, coaching and guiding and Sarah does the books, invoicing, travel logistics, schedule planning, taxes, insurance, and office admin…and we collaborate on media project concepts together. I do most of my social media myself but she’s there to have my back if I ever drop the ball! She is a long time, hardcore mtn biker herself and was raised down the street from the first mtb shop in Canada…The Deep Cove Bike Shop. She not only watched the first mtn bikes roll of the truck into the store…but actually watched pre-mtn bikes (like the Cook Bros. fat tired cruisers) roll off the truck into the store. We both have the bike passion and work well together playing hard and working hard. She also lets me steal her jokes!!
We don't know, maybe. We are asked this question constantly and it usually doesn't include any other information, which makes it really easy to say no. That said, if you think you're sponsorship material, we definitely want to hear from you. Send us your resumé/athletic accomplishments, your plans for the upcoming season and a description of how we can help. It would also be great to hear some ideas for how we can work together so everyone comes out ahead. Pictures, videos and social media links will help a lot. Please email Fraser at [email protected]
James: Now we know that you always had some help on the jokes! Thank you so much Brett for the interview. To end things, let me ask you: have you ever thought of ski jumping?
Take a look at Brett Tippie’s/FastFokus Crankworx/Dirt Diaries 1st Place Video: