Matt Hunter is a lucky guy. Who can describe their job as being paid to travel the world with friends and ride unreal trails on the latest and greatest bikes? Is it luck that he’s found himself in this enviable position, or has Hunter made the stars align with his work ethic and deep passion for riding? Tough call, it’s probably a little of both.
DIRT ISSUE 125 | JULY 2012
Words by Chris Winter. Photos by Mattias Fredriksson, John Gibson and Sterling Lawrence
The 28 year–old professional rider is known for his big mountain prowess, as seen in films and photographs hitting big airs in his backyard of Kamloops, British Columbia, with seeming ease or charging high–alpine singletrack like a mountain goat on speed in the Swiss Alps…or exploring sacred Icelandic trails amongst geysers and glaciers. There’s no doubt that Hunter has amazing talent on a bike, he is versatile and adaptable in any situation and he’s able to step it up to ballsy moves when they reveal themselves. Yet he’s got confidence to diversify his image and show that he can pedal uphill; he’s branching out from his big air roots and spending more time on an all–mountain bike, “my change into all–mountain riding is thanks to these amazing new bikes. It’s great. I’m leaving the truck at home and increasing my pedal time. When you arrive at the top of a climb, you’re already warmed up and the ride down is basically on a DH bike that’s lighter and just as much fun. For me it’s quality versus quantity, which I apply to all aspects of my life.” When asked what it’s like to ride with Hunter, mountain bike legend Wade Simmons is quick to answer, “he is an all–round rider with a keen eye for going big. He’s confident, he has the skills and he rides for the adventure and to find new lines. He’s a great mountain biker.” It’s evident that Simmons holds Hunter with high regard, “Oh yeah, without a doubt, he’s a rad dude and one of my favourite people to hang and ride with.”
That’s the thing about Hunter, there’s no question that he’s an amazing rider, and when you meet him you’ll really appreciate his personality; he’s humble and thoughtful and takes the time to talk to people, not necessarily natural traits of a world–renowned athlete. “I feel like I’m really lucky to be in this position, I’m fortunate to have these opportunities. Everything is available to you if you really want it, especially if you live in the privileged world that we do.” Luck? It sounds like Hunter is living his life just the way he wants to and life is delivering in return. “I’m constantly reminded to live each day to the fullest,” he says with a smile and a warm fire in his eyes. “I’m going riding now.”Dirt: What was it like growing up in Kamloops, BC?
Hunter: Growing up in there is tough, I don’t know anyone who really finishes growing up and becomes a proper adult. Seriously though there is a lot of freedom and space here and lots of things to do, so it’s quite amazing.The landscape looks semi–arid and the riding looks amazing.
Riding around Kamloops is really diverse, there are far more types of trails than we show in the films and photos. I think the only constant is that they are all really fast trails. Not much slow tight stuff here.All those big airs and high–speed lines over the years, you must have an injury or two from mishaps?
I have some old injuries that hurt in the morning, but none of them bother me at all when I am riding.I hear that you travel lots in the off–season, what do you get up to?
I surf and backcountry ski. I have a deep love for dirt, waves and powder and I’m fortunate that I can play in all of them.>>