After being granted special permission by the First Nation of British Columbia, freeride legend and mountain bike storyteller Graham Agassiz crossed off another bucket list dream. Aggy’s latest video, “North River”, pays homage to the unique terrain of the landscape while respecting its deep cultural heritage.
Due to the nature of this project, Aggy and his team spent time living by the ways of the First Nation. From using boats and canoes to get around and camping on a small island, the whole crew were inspired by the traditions of the Simpcw First Nation.
Part of the permission meant Aggy was joined on the trip by Dino, a cultural surveyor from the First Nation. Dino was on hand to ensure nothing of cultural significance was disturbed, but ultimately his presence around the crew meant much more…
“I think he liked the creative process of what we were doing. He saw that it was much more than just riding down a hill and pointing a camera at it.”Graham Agassiz
“We bonded over our love for animals, fishing and hunting. I think he liked the creative process of what we were doing. He saw that it was much more than just riding down a hill and pointing a camera at it. At one point, Dino even picked up a rake and helped me clean up an old game trail down a ridge through the forest that ran along the river backdrop. ‘This is a great piece of trail now; I can’t wait to show my daughter’, he said. I thought that was really cool.”
The legendary mountain bike freerider goes on to share; “The landscape was fairly unique in the sense that it was mostly sand mixed with loose gravel, and the majority of the run-outs for these lines went directly into the river. So it was either try and shut it down early or just or just plough into the water. Both aren’t ideal exit strategies, no matter where you are when it comes to riding “freeride” lines and chutes. However, that was part of the risk and what really pushed me to come to explore this area with my bike.
Access to these zones was only available by jet boat. We had a fairly small crew (myself, Mason Mashon, Leo Hoorn, Joel Bareow, Anthony Vitale and Colin Davies), and each morning and evening, I would pick up and drop off Dino, the cultural surveyor. We had a lot of gear and equipment, and there were a lot of moving parts each day; you could say we were a bit ambitious, but it was a challenge we gladly welcomed.
We are all very comfortable with backcountry camping and cooking. So, despite the colder temperatures of late October, we were all set up comfortably and ate great too! I would also need the canoe to get myself and bike across certain sections of the river and back again, as there weren’t always good spots to pull up my jet boat with the fluctuating and already low water levels. I had made a scouting trip earlier in the year, shortly after I got my boat to scout out camp and a few of the lines, but I didn’t take into consideration how much lower the water would come down towards the end of a fairly dry fall. So the canoe came in handy several times, not just because I didn’t really trust anyone else with the keys to my new vessel haha.”