By Andrew Mitchell
Details for the fourth annual Kokanee Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival were released this week, with three new contests added to the nine days of competitions and demonstrations taking place from July 21 to 29.
Returning events include the Kokanee Slopestyle, Air Downhill, Garbanzo Downhill, and Biker Cross. New events include the WomenzWorx, a Dual Slalom and the Canadian Open Downhill.
WomenzWorx, which will be developed by Katrina Strand and Lisa Lefroy, will run over two days with an all-female, pro-am cast. The event includes a drop-in spokeswoman clinic, a special après party, and a new event called The Gala where amateurs will be grouped with pros to compete on a four or five stage course.
The dual slalom will take place at the base of the mountain, with riders going head to head through a series of tight gates.
The Canadian Open Downhill will feature a new course in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, replacing the national downhill championships that are heading back east for 2007.
Altogether, more than $50,000 in prizes will be available at events, and additional contests may be added closer to the date.
“The festival attracts the best riders in the world and they demand continuous progression from themselves and us,” said Rob McSkimming, vice president of business development for Whistler-Blackcomb. “We are committed to providing the ultimate forum for the evolution of freeride mountain biking.
“Integrating women in to the WomenzWorx event is an exciting evolution of the Kokanee Crankworx experience. As we move into our fourth year athletes and spectators can look forward to jaw-dropping freeride mountain bike action and an unbeatable summer festival experience in the epicentre of the world of freeride mountain biking.”
Crankworx is produced by Events Whistler — Tourism Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb and the Resort Municipality of Whistler. Last year a study by the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association found that Crankworx attracted roughly 55,000 unique visitors to the resort, contributing $11.5 million to the economy. The slopestyle event has also become the largest outdoor event in Whistler, with more than 20,000 spectators last year, according to organizers.