Work, play and life outdoors

He calls it work, but we suspect that Kurt Tilbury enjoys his paid activities as much as he does his play

by Marie Milner

Kurt Tilbury, sledder, of Sicamous, B.C.
Kurt Tilbury of Sicamous, B.C., is in his element, sledding the area's challenging alpine terrain. Rob Alford photo

Kurt Tilbury of Sicamous, B.C., is dedicated to the outdoors. His profession as a silviculture contractor and his multiple avocations as an instructor in avalanche safety and stunt rider for films and commercials keep him busy in the backcountry in all seasons. Tilbury agreed to tell us some details about his life and career.

We heard you have had something of a film career. Can you tell us about that?

I was a skier before I became a snowmobiler, but I always wanted to get into snowmobiling. I had done a little bit of film work with skiing, and as I got into snowmobiling, some of  those film contacts transferred over and I was asked to do some stunt work—skiing, mountain biking and then snowmobiling. I appeared in a couple of seasons of the BRAAAP movie series, some TV snowmobile episodes and some commercials. I did work for clients like Marlborough cigarettes and Ride Guide TV just to name a few.

For example, Marlborough was advertising their product and highlighting high-adrenaline sports, and snowmobiling was one of them. I was a rider for their ad and a few others. 

My familiarity with the areas and the backcountry around Revelstoke (B.C.), the East Kootenays and both the east and west slopes of the Rockies lent itself very well to what was needed. The last movie that I appeared in was done in 2008, but I did some advertising stills just last year.

Is life a bit less dramatic now that you’re not doing so much on camera?

Less public, maybe, but still very active. Something that I brought from skiing to snowmobiling is my interest in avalanche safety. I’m an active member of the Canadian Avalanche Association and I took the safety course through them. I started teaching avalanche safety courses to snowmobilers specifically in 1999, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Last year was a very entertaining year for me. I was working for Carl Kuster Mountain Park (CKMP), located between Revelstoke and Sicamous. They don’t advertise much, but they are a pretty big player (in backcountry adventure). Carl is a long-time professional snowcross racer for BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products), and he has a guiding service and a large lodge, and I’m one of the guides. This year we’ll be doing avalanche courses right out of his operation.

Aside from guiding and teaching, do you have a specific profession?

I’m a silviculture contractor, doing less silviculture these days and working more for the coal mines and such with their environmental restoration. My business is called Green Space Silviculture Services Ltd.

What's ahead for you now?

With all my snowmobile-modifying experience and practices over the years, I’ve learned a great deal and I’m going to open a shop in Revelstoke. Pretty much everything I learned was from Brent Linderman at Arctic Edge Motorsports—without him I wouldn’t have a fraction of the knowledge I do have.

My business will be called Epicentre Powder Sports, and we’ll be open on November 1. The shop will specialize in snowbikes, and I’ll have snowmobiles, too. We’re sharing a building with Full Speed Rentals & Marina. This year, the bikes will really be taking off, because all the major film companies will have a segment on snowbikes. The bikes themselves are being made by motorcycle manufacturers, and there are about three manufacturers of retrofit kits that you can install onto your motorcycle. The most popular one is the Mountain Horse, made by Timbersled Products.

It’s exciting that there will be another kit coming out very soon, and it’s being designed and made in the Sicamous area by C3 Powersports. It will be pretty exotic—all carbon fibre and titanium. The bulk of the manufacturing will be done in Edmonton, Alberta, once the demand is there. 

I've pretty much dedicated my life to the outdoors, and opening the shop is a good next step for me.

Name: Kurt Tilbury

Lives in: Sicamous, B.C.

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Age: 48

Occupation: Silviculture contractor, avalanche safety course instructor, guide for Carl Kuster Mountain Park located between Revelstoke (B.C.) and Sicamous

His ride: The new Ski-Doo Summit XM—a one-piece carbon fibre dream machine

Favourite area to ride: Eagle Pass, about 20 minutes from Sicamous. It has a great deal of technical riding, which I like, with changing demands every minute. Riding there requires full high-level athleticism.

Tell us about your film career:  I had done a little bit of film work with skiing, and as I got into snowmobiling, some of those film contacts transferred over and I was asked to do some stunt work—skiing, mountain biking and then snowmobiling. I appeared in a couple of seasons of the BRAAAP movie series, some TV snowmobile episodes and some commercials. My familiarity with the areas and the backcountry around Revelstoke, the East Kootenay and both the east and west slopes of the Rockies lent itself very well to what was needed.

What is ahead for you? With all my snowmobile-modifying experience and practices over the years, I've learned a great deal and I'm going to open a shop in Revelstoke. My business will be called Epicentre Powder Sports, and we'll open on November 1. The shop will specialize in snowbikes, and I'll have snowmobiles, too. This year, the bikes will really be taking off, because all the major film companies wil have a segment on snowbikes.

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