Chasing Trail: Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Dec 26, 2016
by SCOTT Sports  

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB
49.62° N, 123.20° W

There are important places in everyone’s life, places that leave an impact, places that are seared into your memories, places that breathe life into who you are. These places can be located anywhere from remote corners of the world to just in your backyard. This is a story about our backyard. Full disclaimer, I didn’t build any of the trails featured in this piece, but I tip my hat to those who did, DR, JD, PF, JN and the trails moto club.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Mountain biking in Squamish is pretty easy, not the actual trails, but everything surrounding the actual riding is easy. Navigation-wise, it’s easy, everything is built off three main roads, ride to the top, point it downhill and keep going and you will hit your vehicle at the bottom. Traffic wise, it's easy, driving from downtown to the trail head will never take longer than 10 minutes, even at 6pm the Friday of a long weekend when all of the Pacific Northwest is driving to Whistler. The trails are busy enough that you don’t need to bring tools or a tube, someone will ride by in the next 20 minutes and they’ll sort you out.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB


Better yet, you can grab that tube you forgot from the bike shop that is right at the bottom of the hill, or grab a delicious donair from the Farm to Table Food truck 300 meters away from the shop. The laps can be lunchtime ride quick; you can hammer a really fun loop out in 45 minutes door to door. Should you require emergency assistance Squamish SAR and Squamish Ambulance are minutes away from a response, and you have cell service to call them.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

I’ll be the first to admit, I love this ease, most of the time.

Sometimes you want more, more challenge, more variables, more risk...more adventure. Overcoming these additional factors always makes the descent sweeter. This leads you to seek out the big rides, the ones that count. The stakes get higher on these big rides, the risk increases and you only bring your most trusted riding buddies. That’s where the magic comes from, knocking out hefty objectives with some of your best friends. There happens to be a classic big ride right down the road, Disney Land…lucky us.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

This is an epic, in every overused sense of the word, in our backyard, starting from 5500ft and descending right to the ocean. Living here you are exposed to the tails about Disneyland, hilarious stories from the first times mountain bikers attempted it. Dropping into insane steeps with 4-inch travel forks and those old Hayes Disc brakes, half shell helmets and amour pilfered from their hockey bags. Occasionally these stories would be illustrated with a film segment or some photos in the magazines from the area. I have been engrossed with these stories and images long before I moved here they created a certain mystic around this area for me.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

ChEpisode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

My first exposure to this place was in the passenger seat of my friend Stu’s RT-44 helicopter, flying over a recently burned out logging clear cut looking for a place to build some freeride lines [you read that right, freeride lines, that flight was over 8 years ago]. Our cut block was low down, barely scratching the surface of what was available to us on the ridge above. After some exploration on the neighboring trials, moto trails we started piecing together great rides through some phenomenal terrain.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Soon thereafter one of Squamish’s [name redacted] most dedicated trail builders started crafting some mountain bike specific lines. After catching a cheeky shuttle up with him and riding his first creation, G-String, I was hooked. This first mountain bike specific trail was easily the best ride in the corridor. Again this trail was barely scratching the surface, only using a 1/3 of the available elevation.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

This builder was dedicated; quickly there was an upper connection, Tramp Stamp. Then a line snaking out to an area colloquially known as the Pretty Slabs, other trail builders followed cutting mountain bike specific trails through the lower elevations. Delicate land management issues soon arose, the gate was locked and this zone became pedal power only. Well, pedal power or rotor power…

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Summer 2015, we had two sling loads of bikes and 12 friends from around the world ready to fly to the top. This was to be all of our first times heli dropping this trail from the top, the anticipation at the log sort was so thick it could be cut by a rotor.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Landing in the alpine, overlooking the ocean with a faint ribbon of trail winding through the meadow we knew we were in for a good time. With high expectations we dropped in, through the alpine, into the trees, into incredible steep loam, into even steeper loam.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Riding down these steep chutes was more like mountain bike skiing. Sustained now had a new definition, steeps, after steeps, after steeps, on more than one occasion we had to stop to marvel at the superhuman effort required to muscle a trials moto up these sections. After several hours of this we arrived at the cabin, which marks the start of the mountain bike specific trails. We still had three more trails to go with over 3200ft of descending left to get to the ocean.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

The trials moto club has been cutting trails here for over 30 years creating a vast network of brown ribbons through mossy granite and perfect forest. They are the stewards of this ridge and we are their guests. Their network is too vast to explore in a day, even with an engine, and extends into way more terrain then I have ventured into. Photographer and adventure aficionado of the highest degree, Margus Riga and I have spent a few nights in the cabin doing our best to explore this network. The cabin is barely large enough for two, but it protected us from the rain and had a woodstove to dry our kit with.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Spring 2016, Dustin Adams and I were gearing up at the base; it was his first time, with no understanding of what was to come. After a hefty climb, 3200 grueling feet up we dropped into Tramp Stamp. The turns were divine, the rock rolls intimidating as always and a recent rain added some extra spice to the exposed roots. Over a beer at the bottom, Dustin wondered why you ride anywhere else. From this point on we never rode together in Squamish, always juggling our schedules to make the time to ride here.

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

Chasing Trail Episode 8 - Disneyland for MTB

You can search the world for the best trails, but sometimes they are located in your own backyard. This is a story about our backyard, but I guarantee this place exists in your backyard. All you have to do is find it, good thing the hunt is a blast.

Still Photography: Margus Riga
Produced by: Kevin Landry
Cinematography: Cameron Sylvester, Max Berkowitz, Jordie Lepage, Patrick Henry
UAV: Patrick Henry / Jordie Lepage – TOPO Films
Post Production: Leigh Powis
Colorist: Leigh Powis
Maverick: Darren Taylor / Black Tusk Heli

For More Episodes of Chasing Trail, click HERE!


MENTIONS: @SCOTT-Sports / @Margus



Posted In:
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59 Comments

  • + 103
 "The trails are busy enough that you don’t need to bring tools or a tube, someone will ride by in the next 20 minutes and they’ll sort you out."

Wow... and what if everyone does this??? And waiting 20 minutes on the side of a trail is pretty... boring... you can fix 5 flat tires in 20 minutes...

Anyone who goes riding without tubes and tools are future potential parasites

Bring your own tubes and tools... parasites!
  • + 6
 I wish I could up-vote this more
  • + 6
 I usually ride with a tube or two strap'd onto my frame, like some EWS riders do...

If I ever ride the Disneyland trail network, you can bet I'll keep my tubes well hidden into my pockets...

Flat tire guy : "Hey dude bruh, you haz a tube???"
Me : "Sorry Mickey Mouse... I was counting on you for my next flat anyways... geez..."
  • + 3
 While I would say anyone who is helidropped for a ride and not bringing tube/tools is an idiot, I would also say that if you are max 2 or 3 miles from your car, just push it out the once a year it happens. Bikes and components are so reliable and as long as you use good tires (i.e. thick enough sidewalls) and keep sealant in them, it will be rare to have a problem. I even have friends use Maxxis trail EXO tires for dh (and they do occasionally have a problem). I probably have more broken derailleur cables than flats nowadays. Just a few years ago that was not true and I always had a saddle bag and opened it once a month on the trails.
  • + 4
 While it could have been worded better, I think Kevin meant more along the lines of if you forget a tube, it's not the end of the word. You can just walk / freewheel back down the hill and someone might well be along with something to help you with in the meantime. As for Disneyland, you can clearly see Kevin wearing a pretty well loaded pack.
  • + 10
 In Austraya we call those people Dumb Cunts
  • + 45
 The attitude towards riding prepared and within your limits is scary in this article. Don't bring tools or a tube because someone else will sort you out?! Come on...
And Squamish SAR and ambulance are minutes away... This is a highly uninformed comment and a dangerous attitude to have. SAR is all volunteer, like everywhere in BC, and minutes away is simply not accurate. Ambulance might be minutes away from the trail head, but they're not supposed to leave the pavement. How's that gonna help when you're an hour away on singletrack?
Attitudes like this is how people become complacent and die from exposure merely metres from marked trails, or launch that creek gap and die waiting for that "minutes away" rescue.
  • + 10
 The line about not bringing tools really got to me as well. I have sorted plenty of people out on the trail and they have mostly been beginners. But there seems to be a new trend developing for even experienced riders to take the risk and rely on buddies or other riders, not on.
  • + 14
 What got me was the idea of enjoying stuff in your backyard. From someone living in Squamish, that's like living in Playboy Villa and telling someone to appreciate life and not fk around in Vegas. Well if you live on Shetlands then it is hard to appreciate what you, have you spoiled bumpot! Big Grin If you want to put your money where your mouth is, go move to London Berlin or Netherlands and then if you manage to enjoy your home trails I may listen to you. All I need now is Remy Metailler telling me about philosophy of getting a piece of mind by leaving work and getting 100 lift days in my local bike park... very few things enraged me as much as Mike Levys article to not go to work for a day and go out riding... what the fk... best trails are in your backyard... Geeezus! Send Santa to kick that mans balls!
  • + 9
 Shit can go sideways fast in the mountains. Waiting an hour for a rescue that may or may not be able to reach you can be the difference between live and death. SAR is volunteer, no guarantee that they are coming at all! Granted, with the dedicated SAR members in the sea to sky region, this almost never happens but relying on that as your only plan out is naive.
Squamish (or Whistler Valley and Pemberton) is not the bike park. No one is getting paid to come and rescue you. Have a backup plan that doesn't involve a cell phone. Carry a pack. Have a first aid kit (and knowledge to use it). Bring a map and compass, something to light a fire, a foil blanket. Don't get caught out. These are big mountains with nasty drainages and cliffs. Plan for the worst and don't put volunteers in danger as they come to try and save your unprepared stupid ass!
  • + 3
 @OdysseyMTB: Agreed...I'm tired of the enduro bros who know better bringing nothing and expecting me (carrying tools and parts) to stop, give them my parts and time to save their ass. Get your shit together.
  • + 15
 Cool video, except for the helicopter ride. WTF ever happen to the back to the basics, rugged individualism, mtb used to embrace. Guess mtb means different things to different people.
  • - 24
flag smgishot13 (Dec 26, 2016 at 9:31) (Below Threshold)
 You are retarded MikerJ
  • + 6
 @smgishot13: And I'm surprised you can even spell "retarded".
  • + 3
 There are some who push up into this trail network, Pinkbike featured riders hiking up and riding down in this area of Squamish sometime around last summer if I recall correctly.

I'd take a heli ride up there if offered, but like most of us, it's pedal power 100% of the time.
  • + 6
 I can assure you I have rode in Squamish, Pemberton and Whistler and even though I'm from Sheffield (UK) I ca honestly say I do not have trails like Half Nelson, Tramp Stamp and Tunnel Vision at home. Best trails I have ever ridden. BC riding is ace.
  • + 5
 remember back in the 90' that VHS video with people riding Dinsneyland.. since that day I have this dream of Helibiking. Was 2 months in Europe this summer and could not found any Helibiking. One day I will ride Disneyland.
  • + 2
 "The trails are busy enough that you don’t need to bring tools or a tube, someone will ride by in the next 20 minutes and they’ll sort you out." Whaaaa?? Is this guy serious?
  • + 2
 This epic trail net work has been on my bucket list for over a decade. I have heard you can ride up. You need to go with some one that knows the area. Getting hurt or breaking down up there is not an option! Sick edit BTW!
  • + 3
 Neat photos, but the white balance in that video is horrendous.

imgur.com/a/4srVX

wtf @SCOTT-Sports
  • + 3
 I was not a fan of the color grading as well. I get the fall color, but I liked the more natural look shown in the photos. But to each and their own.
  • + 2
 It was a great area 15 years ago when people respected the work of local trials riders to bad it's been shown to the world now.
  • + 4
 amazing . ive hiked most of that trail , no need for a heli
  • + 2
 sucks to live in quebec we dont have mountains like that. still loving the sport
  • + 1
 The most elevation I can find in my backyard is 1000'. But I make the most of it. The best part is that I have trails available for lunch time rides.
  • + 1
 What is about yoy and helicopters? No charming backyard imo. I´ll stick with my own backard including loose dogs,drug and alcohol addicts,and crazy car drivers
  • + 0
 So I figured out exactly where the lower trails start and where the climb starts after some online sleuthing. Should these only be attempted with some guidance?
  • + 2
 I've not ridden Disneyland yet, however I spent some time piecing the basic route out in anticipation of putting an adventure together with the boys. Reading tales of the area written long ago by @leelau to the more recent photo trips by @bretttippie, it's a tempting proposition to do at least Once.

The first and most common route up that I'm familiar with is the trail up to Petgill Lake that begins at Brittania Beach (browning lake actually). Then continue Eastward mostly following the ridgeline up to to the Papoose and as far as you want on Goat Ridge. As the article alludes, there are multiple routes down, but they seem to all be roughly in that vicinity. There's also a fireroad nearby that may get you up to the Petgill Lake area with an easier climb, but I'm unclear if there's a trail that connects. May have to bushwack North to the lake and then follow the trail up.

bivouac.com/TripPg.asp?TripId=5009
  • + 1
 @boxxerace: its more like taking your bike for a long walk but the heli isnt necessary so you're right about that. Let me know way in advance and we'll go for a pleasant ramble up there
  • + 0
 @leelau: Roger that Lee. Thanks!
  • + 1
 @leelau: This report is newer than perhaps one of your original trips into the area, not bad for a ghetto camera phone! This also confirms my suspicions that the fireroad is the way to go, even if it's a half push up / half ride.

Is the Petgill lake kosher to ride bikes on, or is it a hiker only trail? Looks like you came back down the same way you went up.
  • + 1
 @boxxerace: will take this to PMs
  • + 1
 So does that make the Sunshine Coast Magic Mountain and the North Shore Knotts Berry Farm?
  • + 2
 Thanks for all that unwanted exposure.
  • + 2
 Beautiful photos and video. Too bad this place is getting played out.
  • + 1
 Just rode this. Absolutely, definitely, 109%, not played out. One of the best riding experiences in my 27 years of mountain biking. Squamish and the area is for real.
  • + 2
 Maybe Scott bikes for all the builders?
  • + 2
 This seems sdsdo tame after just watching norbs video! Epic scenery though
  • + 1
 @somismtb minimum a week here this summer
  • + 1
 Wow. Who is the chicken shit on the delete button?
  • + 1
 The "retro" slo mo backpedal shot... as classic as DisneyLand.
  • + 1
 I now that's my kind of Disneyland!!!
  • + 1
 What no women in this video what the the what
  • + 1
 I would love the heli drop - specially because I hate climbing. Smile
  • + 1
 where were these trails in the wood in the video ?? sad
  • + 2
 sad?

49.62° N, 123.20° W

They give you the exact location in the article.
  • + 1
 So. Sick.
  • - 1
 Easy and cheap ride, hell yeahhhhh!
  • + 1
 yeah cheap for sure ... lmao
  • - 2
 Disneyland for MTB = whistler.
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