Brett Tippie

60 seconds with… Brett Tippie

A quick catch-up with the irrepressible Canadian freerider and presenter

What Rob Warner is to us Brits, in many ways Brett Tippie is to Canadians – a pro rider turned presenter, responsible for bringing us some of the biggest MTB events on earth, but with possibly even more stoke and dodgy one-liners. As an inductee to the MTB Hall of Fame, Tippie is one of the true pioneers of the sport, who, alongside Richie Schley and Wade Simmons, made up the world’s first freeride team – the Rocky Mountain Fro Riders – and helped shape the discipline as we know it. He’s also an ex-professional snowboard racer and, despite being in his 51st year, he still rips, whether on a bike or a board.

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Who is Brett Tippie?

The father of two beautiful daughters and husband to a lovely wife. I try to balance being a family man with riding bikes and snowboards, as well as creating content to inform, entertain and inspire.

Where do you call home?

I was raised in Kamloops, British Columbia, but since 2008 I’ve lived in North Vancouver.

What was your first bike?

In 1975 I got a hand-me-down girls’ bike from my cousin. My first proper MTB was a 1983 Kuwahara. I whacked my nuts so much on the steel frame that I’m surprised I have kids!

What’s your current go-to bike?

My YT Capra CF 29. The best all-rounder I’ve ever ridden.

What gets you excited to ride?

There’s something timeless about being the first person ever to ride a line. I also enjoy trails that are new to me. You only have one chance to analyse, interpret, react and execute.

Favourite rider to watch?

In freeride, probably Graham Agassiz or James Doerfling – they ride nasty terrain with confidence and style. When it comes to racers, it was always Steve Peat, Ratboy [Josh Bryceland] and Steve Smith, but currently, I’d say Danny Hart or Sam Blenkinsop.

Favourite bike film?

Kranked 4 – Search for the Holey Trail, New World Disorder 8: Smack Down, Where the Trail Ends, Deathgrip and any of Brandon Semenuk’s films.

Best trail you’ve ridden this year?

King Brown in Maydena Bike Park, Tasmania. It was so fun! Awesome dirt and steep pitches into perfect catch-berms.

Biggest jump you’ve hit?

On a snowboard I’ve hit a 70ft drop into waist-deep powder, but on an MTB the biggest is 25ft. I’ve attempted some 30-plus-footers but I crashed! For distance, it’s a gap in Squamish that Matt Hunter and Thomas Vanderham hit in a Collective film.

Worst crash you’ve had?

I fell off of a 42ft cliff in Kamloops and hit the ground really hard despite some trees breaking my fall. Somehow, I was unhurt and went back up and stuck the line! I’ve separated shoulders, broken ribs and had hundreds of stitches. And once in California I smashed my face on my stem off a cliff drop and, looking in the mirror, I could see my skull through a flap of skin on my forehead.

Dream non-bike sponsor?

Blackcomb Helicopters, for endless heli-biking and backcountry snowboarding.

How far can you wheelie?

Sometimes to the end of the driveway, sometimes for half a block.

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

My Grandpa Tippie’s line: “Live your life like you want to remember it.”

What would you do if you weren’t a mountain biker?

I’d be an actor and play a crazy bad guy in a James Bond movie!

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Tippie’s still riding some pretty crazy stuff. Check out the next issue of MBUK (385, out Tuesday) for the story behind this shot, which earned this spot the nickname ‘the Drama Line’ .