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Mike Hopkins in the BC interior

Sampling the Rilor Wilderness

Words by Mike Hopkins. Photos by Bryan Ralph.
June 23rd, 2009

nsmb hopkins corner
Hopkins. Ripping.

I received a phone call from friend and fellow cycling enthusiast Riley McIntosh inquiring if I would like to join him on the shores of the Slocan Lake, for a few days of riding and filming with Andre Nutini (check the video, the kid knows a thing or two about putting an edit together), and the always entertaining photographic talents of Bryan Ralph. Riley is well known throughout the bike industry as one of the most talented trail builders in the world. His reputation and creations have taken him from the beaches of the west coast to the Austrian Alps, and now to the BC Interior. The very essence of mountain biking is carried not only by the riders but in the creative intuition of the individuals who develop the single most important ingredient of the sport … trails. Riley is one of those individuals.

nsmb riley mcintosh trail work
Riley’s handiwork. Now you can hire him to take you up in a chopper to sample the goods in the BC Interior.

nsmb slocan
Post session planning about sessioning.

nsmb bikes with a view
Bikes are like dogs: they like to roll around in the dirt and spend all their time outside.

Riley has matured and grown with the sport of mountain biking. He is the mind behind the daunting and visibly breathtaking features that grace the silver screen in the New World Disorder films and the glossy pages of all the magazines … but that was then and this is now. Presently Riley is using the tools he has built a career on to fabricate his most ambitious challenge yet … A business. “Rilor” is a backcountry bike operation, that has all the amenities of a first class heli ski adventure (including the heli) combined with the welcoming warmth of the summer breeze. The lodges frame a view of pristine old world British Columbia, transporting one to a time when vast wilderness dominated the landscape, rather than the scattered clear cut remains of ominous wooden giants. The pure natural beauty of the area correlates with Riley’s raw ability to manipulate his surroundings into ribbons of loamy undulating entertainment. With trails for any and all abilities, luxurious accommodations, home cooked meals, and the atmosphere of the great Canadian wilderness, you might just say Riley is building his business one shovel full at a time.

Rilor Wilderness from andre nutini on Vimeo.

Riley is currently delving deep into the paperwork of gaining a commercial recreation land use tenure license for crown land trails. He hopes to have it complete within the next year and in the mean time is concentrating on escorting visitors to the area on authorized trails, maintaining established trails, and working on some notable film projects, namely Lifecycles and Anthill‘s Follow Me, and continuing to work closely with both Kokanee Falls Cottages and Retallack Lodge.

Riley’s dream is to build himself a backyard of epic descents to take his guests on, and also to help his community gain valuable tourist dollars. Riley believes that BC is a mecca for mountain biking and that within that the West Kootenay holds unparalled potential for amazing, authorized trails maintained by himself and local clubs. Stayed tuned for his progress, and hope you enjoy Webisode Numero Uno!!

Riley is sponsored by Knolly Bikes, Chromag, and Dakine.

Mike Hopkins’ updates are all available on his web site.

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Got questions about the experience? Head over to the boards.