The team canoeing down the Columbia River during a cold snap in Revelstoke in early 2021. (Contributed by Nick Khattar)

The team canoeing down the Columbia River during a cold snap in Revelstoke in early 2021. (Contributed by Nick Khattar)

An expedition of learning: Local filmmakers document unique trip down Columbia River

Without a Paddle follows the journey of four snowboarders canoeing between Revelstoke and Mica dams

A group of intrepid snowboarders have put their journey down the legendary Columbia River that runs through Revelstoke to film in pursuit of sharing their personal experience and giving insight into the history of the nature that surrounds the community.

Without a Paddle, a canoe and snowboard film released on Feb. 25, blends a 140 km winter paddle from the foot of the Mica Dam to the top of the Revelstoke Dam with the history of the upper Columbia River, all the while battling the elements and keeping their equipment in shape.

Nick Khattar, Johan Rosen, Seb Grondin and Ben Howells, the team behind the creation of the film, wanted to follow in the footsteps of legendary explorer David Thompson, and also share not just the colonial history of the area, but the Indigenous history as well.

“The history of the area is a lot more important than the adventure,” said Khattar, director and photographer on the project.

“I hope it motivates them to learn a little bit more about the area that they live and play.”

A promotional poster for the film Without a Paddle. (Contributed by Nick Khattar)

A promotional poster for the film Without a Paddle. (Contributed by Nick Khattar)

Thompson was the first European to navigate the full length of the Columbia River in 1811. According to Khattar, one of the goals of the trip was to retrace the footsteps of those who came before, even though the landscape of the area has dramatically changed.

The film mixes stunning shots of nature and dramatic clips of snowboarding with clips of knowledge and history from Cathy English, curator at the Revelstoke Museum and Archives, and Marilyn James of the Sinixt.

The team behind without a paddle warming up in their tent. According to Khattar, temperatures reached extremes of -35°C during their expedition. (Contributed by Nick Khattar)

The team behind without a paddle warming up in their tent. According to Khattar, temperatures reached extremes of -35°C during their expedition. (Contributed by Nick Khattar)

Khattar worked closely with English in the creation of the project and said that she and the museum were invaluable assets to the film’s creation.

“I spent quite a bit of time there just doing research,” said Khattar. “They were really open to letting me go there and just sit there all day and go through the archives.”

Khattar said that being out in nature allows him to disconnect from everyday distractions, something he says is important to the whole group.

“Being out there and being in that state allows you to be in the moment and concentrate well beyond what I’m able to do on a day-to-day basis,” said Khattar.

The full length film can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoqdcxIOvzI.

A stylized photo of the trip down the Columbia River. (Contributed by Nick Khattar)

A stylized photo of the trip down the Columbia River. (Contributed by Nick Khattar)

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@josh_piercey
josh.piercey@revelstokereview.com

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