Garett Buehler grew up in Nelson, British Columbia, surrounded by world-famous trails and the world-famous bikers who build and ride them. He first appeared in a bike film segment as a teenager, already spinning and flipping with the best, and hasn’t slowed down since then.
For Accomplice, Garett didn’t have to travel far, meeting up with Nico Vink, Andreu Lacondeguy, Kurt Sorge, and Graham Agassiz in Invermere, British Columbia for a session of big mountain freeride and some jump-hucking.
We got in touch with Buehler to learn a little bit more about where he came from and where he’s going:
What is your first bike-related memory?
Garett Buehler: It’s hard to say my first memory, but I have fond memories of growing up on and around bikes. I remember being hurled down the front lawn for the first time without the training wheels, and that really was probably the start of the passion. That moment when it clicks and you’re moving along without any help from anyone is a pretty huge accomplishment at that age, sort of the same feeling of riding a new line, or doing something exciting and new on your bike: just pure stoke!
What’s been one of your favorite bikes and why?
GB: I really like the bike I rode for this segment: the Knolly Delirium. It’s just a pure mountain bike: really good at handling diverse terrain, durable, and with a good ride geometry where it’s not quite as aggressively slack and low as a classic DH rig, making it easier to play around on if you’re not hauling ass, but still in the realm where if you wanna haul ass it’s got your back.
How has mountain biking been a tool for you?
GB: So many ways, from just those early days when you can make it to the store for a slushie on your own, all the way to creating footage to share with an audience like this film, and just making friends, and memories. I think bikes have a huge value in the world, especially in these times of environmental and social issues. Bikes sorta help draw lines which bring people together to share common experiences, and allow them to connect and be out in nature which can be a difficult thing for many people these days.
What does the mountain bike symbolize to you?
GB: Escape, freedom, and creativity.
If you could only ride one place in the world forever, where would it be?
GB: That’s tough, probably shouldn’t say, hahaha.
So your dad was a heli-guide for CMH. What made you lean towards biking instead of following in his footsteps?
GB: Good question. The first thing that comes to mind would be that moving to the town of Nelson, BC certainly had a big impact on the direction of my life. Being such a legendary place in the sport of freeride, it was really the best thing going in the community in my opinion, and it was hard to not want to be a part of it. Especially when you’re young, mountain bikes are accessible and something you can do anytime, you just grab your bike and go. It was sort of just about skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and bikes were the perfect summer alternative. So, it was sort of a natural progression, and being in the right place at the right time and having good mentors and role models who kept me motivated.
My dad worked in the field until he was 65, so I reckon I probably won’t be doing as gnarly stuff on a bike when I’m 40, but maybe I could be a guide then. So I still definitely am thinking about getting into that world, but it’s pretty hard work and takes a load of commitment to be a legitimate guide, which then comes with a certain lifestyle, and stress which is sometimes like, do I want that? It can create issues with working away all the time, if you wanna have a family.
A major part of my decision though was evaluating risk. Although a lot of people think big mountain riding is just nuts, which it kinda is, it’s manageable if you know yourself and your limits, and are able to listen to that before you cross the line and get hurt. You have to work up to things for sure, just like evaluating risks in the mountains, but mountain biking also generally has less of the man vs. environment aspect to deal with, like avalanches, crevasses, cornices, cold temps,etc… Those risks and being exposed to the level of decision making and experience you need to make calls in those environments, say if you’re heli-ski guiding, or guiding in the high mountains in general, can be fatal decisions fast. It can turn the best day to the worst day like that. You’re responsible for not just your life, but the lives of everyone else who you are guiding. That’s a lot of pressure and, in my eyes, being a mountain biker came naturally and was sorta the safer and easier road at the time.
My dad certainly instilled a level of fear around the mountains, which I think is important. I have a lot of respect for those guys like my dad, and I’m happy I was gifted with someone like that who taught me respect for the mountains, and that you’re better off leaving your ego at home, because the mountain doesn’t care who you are, and you can still have fun out there without a huge ego.
What’s your favorite trick? Why?
GB: Tricks are fun. I’m not really a huge trickster, but doing a nice superman seat grab or a 3 drop on a big bike are probably my favorites. They just feel good.
Biggest bike-related goal in 2020? Biggest non-bike-related goal?
GB: Well, I’ve been working on some different trails, some for myself at home, and now also starting a small trail building business, so I’m going to be building trails out of Nakusp, BC for the summer. Getting into this side of it and creating lines for communities complements the years of riding I’ve done. It’s been nice to find something which keeps me working on bike-related stuff, and it feels good to be able to give back. It’s also nice to not feel pressure to compete, and to not travel like I used to. Finishing these projects and hopefully filming them are the goals for biking, and I would love to be able to work on these projects like Accomplice and continue to pursue the adventure of big mountain riding. So hopefully TGR is stoked!
Non-biking-wise, I’ll probably just focus on getting my 8 to 9 hours of sleep, eating well, and keeping busy. I find if I’m not doing those things It’s easy to sorta go down the rabbit hole. So just staying healthy and working on myself off the bike are my non-bike-related goals.
What are your top three summer activities other than biking?
GB: Exploring and going on hikes, fishing, camping
Can you think of any funny anecdotes from your time shooting Accomplice?
GB: Oh boy. Well basically the last night there we had a celebratory wrap party…the entire thing was a funny anecdote. I think we all regretted that the next day when we had to pack up and get off the mountain, but it was a fun night with the crew nonetheless.