Crankworx is the biggest, baddest MTB festival around, and holy smokes does it leave you exhausted. After ten days of riding, jumping, shooting, drinking, winning, drinking, crashing and cheering, it leaves people needing some decompressing. Ale Di Lullo, Richie Schley and Brett Tippie were coming off their Crankworx Deep Summer Photo Challenge win - they definitely needed a change of pace, and were keen for some killer singletrack. As for myself, a couple days prior to Crankworx, I had an opportunity to shoot a video for the GoPro Dirt Diaries contest. One of the locations I chose was an epic old-school trail called Disneyland, located between Squamish and Vancouver. Filming Disneyland reminded me of how bloody sick this network is; it had been a popular destination 5-10 years ago in the “freeride” heyday.
That trip confirmed it is the best bang-for-your-buck heli-drop in the Sea to Sky corridor. So I planned for a repeat heli-drop the day after Crankworx to satisfy our needs. It is possible to climb/hike up Disneyland if one has a full day to kill and the goat legs for it, but the preferred method is to heli, and at that, it still takes 6+hours to ride out. If you find yourself sessioning along the way, it’s more like an 8-9 hour day. Cheap for the $150 scenic flight!
|The truth is, Disneyland is only one trail among many in the vast network, but the name seems to embody it all. Starting at 1700m in the alpine high up on Goat Ridge, the trail is faintly marked with cairns left by motorcycle trials riders, the original creators, and has plenty of craggy alpine features to ride and shoot. This was the time for a safety meeting with Tippie: "Dude, we are out here so don't get messed up!' A bad crash or a broken bike would mean an ugly hike out.|
Burning through two hours way too quickly, we basically had to peel Ale away from the scenic alpine and get moving; ahead was still four to five hours of mind-blowing riding. Nearing the end of the ridge, we eventually passed a couple of lakes terminating the subalpine experience. This is the point where shit gets serious. Riding through the last of the alpine berry bushes the floor appears to drop away as if god himself wanted to pour you out. I had been anticipating this, wanting and waiting to see the look of fear on the guy’s faces! From here down, riders are thrown into an elevator-like descent through woods that seem to go on forever. These pitches are the steepest I have ever ridden. It’s daunting because the conditions are always perfect skiddy loam and the pitch doesn’t ease for a good 10 minutes. It’s described best as bicycle powder skiing down unstoppable chutes. Either you ride or you crash.
Relieved to escape the “hellevators” unscathed, we were stoked to see the trail level off a bit take on a different nature entering the land of gnomes and mossy old growth forest. This is where the many granite slabs that made Disneyland famous are found. Continuing on, the trail predominately descends, but is punctuated by healthy un-rideable climbs reminding us we are at the mercy of trials motorcycle terrain.
Descending on, the obvious glaciated islands of the Howe Sound revealed themselves as the trail weaved through forest linking various granite slabs in a repeated sequence. We attempted to stop at every worthy shoot location but there were just too many for the waning light.
Taking a quick breather on one of the last rock outcroppings and soaking up the lazy sun, we laughed at the contrast of our lives and of this sport over the last 10 days. From the crazy Crankworx circus to an empty amusement park, we agreed it was odd that we had to come to a place called Disneyland to get away from Crankworx. It very well may be “the happiest place on earth!”Wade put together this POV footage video of himself, Richie Schley, and Brett Tippie as they ride Disneyland:
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