For years, fans have had the opportunity to manage superstar fantasy teams of football, hockey and baseball players.
Now, they'll have the chance to bank on their favourite Crankworx riders in the hopes of winning prizes.
Leading up to Crankworx's second festival of the season, from June 16 to 19 in their new French venue of Les Gets, fans can build a roster of racers with the aim of assembling a championship squad.
Crankworx Events Inc. general manager Darren Kinnaird cited the booming interest in fantasy sports generally, a faction in which he counts himself, and saw an opportunity to create another way for fans to get involved.
"I'm big into it myself," he said. "In other sports, there are crazy fans and it's super engaging. It gets the fan a little bit more involved and have a different vested interest rather than just cheering for their favourite athlete or country. It just gets them more engaged.
"And for some athletes that may have been a little bit further down the ranks, it brings their profile to the forefront because you can't just pick all superstars in this."
Each rider will be assigned a salary value and each team must stick to its assigned budget when building its squad. The salary cap is low enough that players must sprinkle in an underdog or two and hope for an upset as opposed to taking the big names in each event.
"It's something that everyone can play because everyone is on a level playing field," Kinnaird said. "The salary that each rider has been allotted is comparable to the relative chance or likelihood of winning or doing well in an event. There's a huge element of luck. There's a skill to it to be aware of who the athletes are and choose the right ones and who might do well on a certain day or course."
In the downhill and slopestyle events, riders will earn points in the game based on where they finish in the event. In the women's dual slalom, men's dual style and speed and the pumptrack challenge, riders will earn points for advancing from each round. Teams will be made of 14 riders — two each from the dual speed and style, dual slalom and slopestyle and four each from the downhill and pumptrack events.
Kinnaird hopes to draw 10,000 entries from all over the world, as anyone is eligible to play. However, due to difficulties in navigating contest laws of various countries, only residents of Canada, the United States, New Zealand, France, Germany and the United Kingdom can win.
"Australia, for example, has really different rules and it makes it really difficult to run contests in Australia," he said.
The grand prize includes a five-day trip here to Whistler for the second half of the season-ending Crankworx trip in August, as well as VIP tickets to all the action and accommodation at the Aava Hotel.
Those looking for more information or to draft a roster can visit fantasy.crankworx.com.