Escape From Chaos with Brett Tippie

Sep 28, 2016
by Danielle Baker  
Photo by parisgore

Those who work in the bike industry, especially those involved specifically with the events, can attest to the exhaustion that comes with fitting everything into the short window that we call summer. It can be a challenge to find a moment of solace amongst the double booked weekends and multi-leg travel itineraries. Even harder can be finding time to ride for yourself. Someone who knows this routine better than most is Brett Tippie. Often found in the heart of the chaos at events - thumb wrestling children, tearing t-shirts off at Heckler's Rock, or simply being the entertainment where there is none, Tippie is one of the most hard working professionals in the business.

A question often posed to Brett's wife/Manager, Sarah is, 'does Tippie actually sleep?' His incredible high energy is a force to be reckoned with and definitely not one to be silenced at mountain bike and extreme sports' events around the world. He's made a name for himself being quite at home amidst the chaos, especially during Crankworx. But behind the scenes, a subdued Brett Tippie takes the time to reflect, relax and chill - and of course to learn new jokes! Tagging along on a mini-escape during Crankworx this past month, we had the opportunity to witness the quiet side of the man with the megaphone - and it turns out his laugh is just as loud without it.

Photo by parisgore
Photo by parisgore

Photo by parisgore

We headed a short drive north along the highway for a brief respite before returning to the hectic Whistler Village. Tippie took a nap in his Tepui tent, fixed a flat, and answered some questions. With his natural gift for storytelling, it's hard not to be hanging on his every word - following the twists and turns - and at the same time wondering, 'is this going to end in a punchline?'

What exactly is your job title?

Director of Good Times, one of the Godfathers of Freeride, Brand Ambassador, Product Tester, Pinkbike Video Host, Live Events Announcer, Guide, Coach, and Dad.

What do you love about the career you've chosen?

It kind of chose me! I love people, so meeting people and getting them stoked on riding makes me happy. I'm very appreciative and love every moment of my work. I love the variety of tasks and locations and the fact that I'm usually bringing my bike or board to work; the benefits are awesome!

Everyone gets to see you at events, having a great time, stoking the crowd, and getting up to all sorts of crazy antics, but how much work goes into you career that people don't see?

There's a lot of research and strategic planning of schedules to maximize my time and value to my clients and sponsors. Definitely lots of travel, airports, sleeping in (hopefully) the window seat, too much time away from my family, and not really having the normal social life to see enough friends and family that I'd like. It also hops over to my wife's life in a way that she single-parents for half the year. Sometimes not enough time in the saddle when there's event after event, but it's not really a complaint, it's just time-wise an impossibility to do it all! After counting the days on the calendar, I realized I am away for over half the year. Away at amazing places with cool people, mind you! I wish I could clone myself sometimes...if I could, I'd be so happy that I'd be beside myself!

Photo by parisgore

What is a career highlight for you?

Oh man, I don't know where to begin! First it was in the snow being on the Canadian National Team racing GS and Snowboardcross on the World Cup snowboard circuit riding for Burton Snowboards in the '90's, retiring as the Canadian Grand National Boardercross Champ in 2000, and most recently getting 3rd place (Bronze Duct Tape) in Masters at the 30th Annual 2016 Mt. Baker Banked Slalom. For mountain biking, it was pioneering some of the first big mountain lines carving turns, doing drops and steeps in the original freeride movies that modern riders are still filming today, being part of the Rocky Mountain Froriders (the world's first professional freeride team), taking mountain biking to the media in a new, exciting way, and shooting in various exotic locations with rad humans. There's also competing in Rampage, winning CWX Deep Summer with photographer Ale di Lullo, and just being one of the first freeriders who's still an active athlete today. On the mic, it's hosting Crankworx, 'Just the Tip' vids at events like Red Bull Rampage, and Sea Otter. A few World Champs are highlights as well, and doing some live announcing at the Canada Cup DH, BC Cup DH, FIS World Cup Snowboardcross, BC Snowboard Slopestyle and SBX Series, UCI BMX World Cup Finals, Red Bull Crashed Ice (World Ice-cross Championships), Red Bull GRC Rally Car Championships, and my first FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Downhill and Super-G (Olympic test event) in preparation for the South Korea 2018 Winter Olympics! I feel so lucky to be around so many crazy, talented athletes in many different sports doing their thing! It's inspiring!

Photo by parisgore

What are your favourite things to do in your down time? How do you keep the balance?

What's down time? Just kidding! Catching up with my family is definitely number one. I love taking my girls for a shred in the woods. Next would be carving it up on my snowboard in untouched powder, it is one of the closest things to heaven on earth for me. I love to go for night rides in the quiet local North Shore forest after my kids go to sleep with my trusty Niterider lights and listen to funky owls and other wildlife out there. I'm also always stoked on a wicked frisbee session with anyone who can throw laser beams!

If there are any kids out there who want to grow up to be a 'Director of Good Times' what would your advice to them be?

Be on time and be helpful; even if it's just offering to help set up and take down the display or booth. Be positive, professional, and yourself at all times. Do your research ahead of time on whatever you are attending, keep bullet point notes, thank the sponsors, organizers and of course the volunteers. The kids of today are the bosses of tomorrow, you never know who is going where, be nice to everyone because it makes everyone feel good. The majority of the honest-to-goodness real badass ski/sled/moto/board/mountain bike heroes I've met over the years are really positive, friendly, happy people, and that, along with determination, work ethic, talent and some luck, is the magic combination. And, last but not least, enjoy the moment and enjoy being where you are!

Photo by parisgore
Photo by parisgore

Photo by parisgore

From the outside, a career as the self-titled Director of Good Times may seem easy, but the unseen portion is where the hard work comes in. Tippie has stood for hours in the middle of the woods with a racer list in hand calling the individual names of riders during the BC Bike race - just to fuel the stoke that will get them the final 20 kilometres to the finish line. For every event, he has announced, and for every interview that he has conducted, he has spent equal amounts of time preparing, gathering knowledge, and working to make it an entertaining experience that allows every off-the-cuff comment, joke, and question to be delivered effortlessly.

Not to say that working in the event arena of the mountain bike industry doesn't have its perks - it certainly does - but having the opportunity to just go for a ride on a sunny summer day without purpose, without clients, without a motive is a rare opportunity. And so we followed Tippie down Out There, we enjoyed the quiet, and we revelled in the simplicity of the morning. We knew we would have to return to the masses, to the loud speakers, and giveaway scuffles sooner or later, but for a few hours we got to just enjoy riding bikes. And seeing Tippie grinning his signature ear-to-ear smile while riding made us wonder if his natural environment is the chaos or the quiet - or maybe somewhere in between.

MENTIONS: @bretttippie

Author Info:
daniellebaker avatar

Member since May 10, 2007
235 articles

  • 154 1
 I love tipple. At a time when every writer or insider just wants to be controversial and talk of doom and gloom, tippie reminds us how fortunate we really are to be mountain bikers. Thanks, man!!!
  • 18 2
 Mad Tippie love! The advice he gives the kids who aspire to be "Director of good times". Is great advice for all people everywhere. Tippie you are a gem!
  • 2 1
 The title is kind of funny to ma as I though Brett Tippie's middle name was Chaos. Go Tippster!
  • 2 2
 Good job not being a farkus Markus.

(You owe me for picking up the slack @weebleswobbles)
  • 1 0
 he forgot to say "most awesome dude on the planet" for job title
  • 81 1
 Anyone else read this in a super fast speed, as if @bretttippie were saying this into a microphone?
  • 18 1
 with his signature laugh thrown in a few times
  • 12 1
 I read it in Swahili .
  • 1 0
 I also felt the need to throw in a few mildly funny, but high energy jokes in between questions.
  • 33 2
 And don't forget, he can RIDE. He had some cool segments back in the early Kranked series and still sends it today.
  • 5 1
 Also, never seen anyone take a hit harder than Tippie, then get back up and try the line 2 or 2 more times!
  • 5 1
 I recently hiked up to the line he and Simmons pioneered at Top of the World....His bad ass factor is REAL!!!
  • 17 1
 Director of Good Times, one of the Godfathers of Freeride, Brand Ambassador, Product Tester, Pinkbike Video Host, Live Events Announcer, Guide, Coach... Well I'm a Dad but as I sit in the office reading this can't help but think I've missed the boat a bit on the others! Keep up the stoke Tippie you legend, seems to be genuinely aware of how fortunate he is to live the life he does.
  • 11 1
 @bretttippie Congrats on the duct tape last year at Baker I can believe I didn't notice your name in the results at first! Would you PLEASE do a Just The Tip from the Legendary Banked Slalom this winter?!?!
  • 14 1
 Tippie sleeps?!?!?!
  • 7 1
 I bet he just rests his eyes at night. Arguably one of the most loved guys in mountain biking.
  • 2 0
 Chuck Norris drinks cans of Tippie for the energy he needs to run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.
  • 10 2
 Love this guy. He's been there since we all started and he'll probably still be here after we turn into beings of pure energy. I actually ran into him on the trails in Whistler and he was every bit as humble and nice as you'd expect.
  • 9 1
 I wish I had just an ounce of his energy and ability to stay so positive, seemingly all the time. I'm 49 and I aspire to be more like this in my life! nice to everyone because it makes everyone feel good. The majority of the honest-to-goodness real badass ski/sled/moto/board/mountain bike heroes I've met over the years are really positive, friendly, happy people, and that, along with determination, work ethic, talent and some luck, is the magic combination. And, last but not least, enjoy the moment and enjoy being where you are!....

Just freakin' awesome!
  • 12 2
 Over the hill and pickn' up speed!! Keep on given 'er, Tip.
  • 3 5
 over the hill WTF?
  • 9 1
 Fantastic article. His "advice" section could be transferred to almost any industry one wants to be successful in... That enthusiasm is contagious!!
  • 12 3
 Tippie is the man! Just the most positive and hardest working guy in the game.
  • 4 0
 Thanks Tippie for all you give and do! As amazing as it all can be to be The Director of Good Times, well earned and masterfully executed, I'm sure at the end of the day there is no place like home. Here's to you having it all and the time to enjoy it. Love ya buddy!
  • 5 1
 amazing guy , did the BCBR last year and couldn't believe it when we rode up to the aid station on the north shore stage to see( and hear) tippee handing out the watermelon ,he has time for everyone
  • 6 1
 As I read this I could hear Tippie laughing as he said it, "I wish I could clone myself sometimes...if I could, I'd be so happy that I'd be beside myself!"
  • 5 1
 Wow, if everyone took his Tips (insert classic Tippie laugh!!) the world would be a better place altogether. Keep it up Brett, thanks for the never ending inspiration.
  • 9 2
  • 7 0
 Of the USA! (Please. No really.)
  • 5 1
 Had the pleasure of meeting and riding with him this summer. Such a rad person !!
  • 5 1
 Got to meet him at Crankworx in 2015... Super nice guy and he seems like a friend right from the get go.
  • 6 2
 Can I write Tippie in the ballot for POTUS? Though why the hell would you want to move down the US with us fools?
  • 1 0
 Let's do it! At least then I could have a reason to vote!
  • 6 2
 Great advice for all generations and words to live by! Cheers Tippie!
  • 5 1
 freeride is state of mind. this guy has it!
  • 4 1
 You're not really asleep!! You're just pretending so you can cuddle with your sleeping bag.
  • 3 3
 Didn't realize you made it to the banked slalom last season,that weekend was such good conditions up high I missed the entire race to get freshies and save one ***hole from a big avalanche,props on still staying active for so many years!
  • 5 1
 Tequila tonight, tomorrow we ride!
  • 3 0
 Looks that 6 bike North shore rack folds like the 4 bike version, or do my eyes deceive me?
  • 2 0
 Nothing but good things to say about Tippie. A man who truly gets life. Would love to be fortunate enough to meet him and ride with him one day.
  • 6 2
 The legend!
  • 5 2
 I read that whole interview in Brett's voice lol
  • 5 2
 Long live Tippie!
  • 6 5
 And there I was looking for an example of an oxymoron for my literature class, and this aptly named article popped up.
  • 4 0
 Not sure if people just thought your comment was lame, or if they don't know what an oxymoron is...
  • 3 0
 @TheR: Oxymorons are clearly confusing to some, and my comment not serioisly funny enough for others. That is a definite maybe.Wink
  • 4 2
 That first photo is fake, Tippie doesn't sleep....
  • 3 0
  • 2 0
 How does he do it without booze and drugs ?!!
  • 3 0
 He recovered from those crutches and lives life to the fullest! Love it! (and yes, I still like good beer, but it's the principle here)
  • 2 0
 Why is he not riding the new Slayer?
  • 3 0
 The best!
  • 3 0
 Top bloke.
  • 1 0
 Tippie is a super cool guy! He took the time to take some photo's with me at RAMPAGE last year. I was stoked!
  • 5 4
 living the dream in the rooftop tent.
  • 2 1
 What is the fork he's running on his Altitude?
  • 5 1
 Looks like a Suntour Durolox, at least according to the sticker on it
  • 3 2
 Living the dream
  • 1 0
 chaos never sleeps
  • 3 3
 Dream trip
  • 2 3
  • 4 0
 Is it a Tundra?

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