RAVES & FAVES

A Lo­cal’s Per­spec­tive

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - CONTENT - STORY BY DAVID BURKE IMAGES BY JOERN RO­HDE

Brett Tippie leads what many would con­sider a charmed life. In his late 40s, he has a wife (Sarah) and two daugh­ters (Jess, 9, and Alix, 6), has en­joyed sus­tained suc­cess in two sports, is revered in his com­mu­nity — this past spring he was voted Favourite Lo­cal Leg­end at the Whistler Cham­ber of Com­merce’s an­nual ex­cel­lence awards cer­e­mony — and is known to col­leagues as the “Direc­tor of Good Times” for his gre­gar­i­ous na­ture. While in school, Tippie was de­fen­sive cap­tain of a two-time pro­vin­cial cham­pion foot­ball team from Kam­loops, earn­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as a hard-hit­ting player — one sea­son, he cracked three hel­mets. He grav­i­tated to­ward snow­board­ing in the early 1980s, even craft­ing his own board out of ply­wood when he was 13. He came to Whistler in the late ‘80s to pur­sue com­pet­i­tive rid­ing, en­joy­ing 12 years on the World Cup gi­ant slalom and snow­board­cross cir­cuits, earn­ing the ti­tle of Cana­dian board­er­cross (as it was called then) cham­pion in 2000. Down­hill bik­ing — par­tic­u­larly “freerid­ing,” which fo­cuses on tricks, style and tech­ni­cal fea­tures — be­came his pas­sion in the early 1990s. Tippie, Richie Sch­ley and Wade Sim­mons were dubbed the Rocky Moun­tain Fror­id­ers (pro­fes­sional freerid­ers); and in 2010, the three “God­fa­thers of Freeride” were named to the Moun­tain Bike Hall of Fame. Tippie is one of the Whistler Moun­tain Bike Park’s best­known char­ac­ters and trav­els the world film­ing for pop­u­lar moun­tain bike ac­tion films. De­spite the risks, Tippie has largely man­aged to avoid se­ri­ous in­jury. “I guess I’m a good crasher,” he says with a chuckle. “You’ve got to keep your wits about you when you’re crash­ing.”

What drew you to Whistler? Why did you de­cide to stay?

NAME: BRETT TIPPIE OC­CU­PA­TION: SELF-EM­PLOYED — ATH­LETE, MOUN­TAIN BIKE HALL OF FAMER, AN­NOUNCER & VIDEO HOST

Snow­board­ing and beau­ti­ful ladies drew me to Whistler; but moun­tain bik­ing made me de­cide to stay. I first came here to shred deep pow­der in the late ‘80s when they started to al­low boards up the lifts on Black­comb. I was also moun­tain bik­ing the val­ley trails on a fully rigid moun­tain bike. I bounced be­tween Whistler and Kam­loops for years and re­turned to train GS for the snow­board­ing World Cup, even­tu­ally mak­ing the first Cana­dian Na­tional Snow­board Team. I bugged the moun­tain for years to al­low moun­tain bikes up the lifts and when they did, I was here to shred with the gang.

What’s the origin of the ti­tle “Direc­tor of Good Times”?

My wife Sarah came up with “Direc­tor of Good Times” for a ti­tle on my busi­ness card to go to the In­ter­bike tradeshow and it stuck. I love hav­ing good times and a laugh with good peo­ple.

How did you be­come a mem­ber of the “Fror­id­ers”?

I had been rid­ing steep lines moun­tain bik­ing since the ‘80s and filmed for the first moun­tain bike freerid­ing films: Greg Stump’s Pulp Trac­tion and Chris­tian Be­gin’s Tao of Rid­ing in 1995 and 1996. In 1997, I shot for Kranked by Be­gin and Bjørn Enga, which broke open freerid­ing to the world in a big way. Rocky Moun­tain hired Wade Sim­mons, Richie Sch­ley and me to be the world’s first pro­fes­sional freeride team in the fall of 1997, and we had a press re­lease ad ap­pear in the mag­a­zines. Rocky got a le­gal let­ter from Can­non­dale stat­ing they had trade­marked the word “freeride” and we couldn’t call our team the “Rocky Moun­tain Freerid­ers,” so we put out an ad in the next Bike mag­a­zine in­tro­duc­ing the “Rocky Moun­tain Fror­id­ers” which had us sit­ting on our bikes wear­ing gi­gan­tic Afro wigs! Con­tro­versy and hu­mour al­ways rule and it to­tally caught on! We were sent around the world to ride gnarly lines, and shoot for mag­a­zines, TV and movies. It was in­sane and more fun than I can say!

For what are you most thank­ful? Has hav­ing a fam­ily changed the way you ap­proach your rid­ing?

I’m most thank­ful for my fam­ily and friends. I met my wife at Crankworx. We had our first date rid­ing the bike park. I pro­posed at the fol­low­ing Crankworx in front of 20,000 peo­ple and got mar­ried at Crankworx by the Round­house be­fore rid­ing down with 75 of our fam­ily and friends with tacky soil to the Garibaldi Lift Co. to party. Ex­cept for my girls be­ing born, it was the best day of my life. I’m thank­ful my job has al­lowed me to travel the world and make friends with peo­ple from around the planet. Hav­ing a fam­ily has mel­lowed out some of my line-choice op­tions. I need to be around to raise my lit­tle ones. In terms of gen­eral rid­ing, I’ve had to be­come much more or­ga­nized in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate and bal­ance life’s de­mands, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and rid­ing time. I’m lucky and thank­ful my wife is on the ball! I’m also very thank­ful to still be work­ing in the in­dus­try at my age, as the long­est signed pro­fes­sional freerider, and have cool spon­sors like YT In­dus­tries and Lam­borgh­ini. I’m over the hill, but just pick­ing up speed!

When you’re not rid­ing or oth­er­wise work­ing, what are your favourite Whistler hang­outs?

I am al­ways work­ing or rid­ing! I en­joy din­ner at Earl’s, late-night glow-in-the dark Fris­bee ses­sions on the driv­ing range be­hind the Aava ho­tel, and BS ses­sions over a slice of pizza at Fat Tony’s.

Favourite trail in the Bike Park?

My favourite trail is the next one! A-line and Dirt Mer­chant are fun jump trails, French Con­nec­tion and Joyride are rowdy tech, Top of the World is beau­ti­ful, ran­dom Garbo (Gar­banzo) gnarl is in­vig­o­rat­ing, but I love rid­ing tacky dirt on any trail with my girls. There’s noth­ing bet­ter!

BRETT AN­NOUNC­ING AT CRANKWORX WITH WIN­NER BRAN­DON SEMENUK

BRETT AND WIFE SARAH AT WHISTLER EX­CEL­LENCE AWARDS

BRETT AND DIREC­TOR BJØRN ENGA

BRETT AT WHISTLER BIKE PARK OPEN­ING

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