By Andrew Mitchell
Although it’s still more than a month away, Crankworx event director Jeremy Roche has a message for local riders — sign up early. Registration opens this Friday, June 15.
“At this stage we’re already getting requests from all over the world from athletes looking to register, and we definitely expect people to be waiting online to register on Friday,” said Roche. “We have a cap on the number of entries, and we expect everything to sell out in advance.”
The Kokanee Crankworx freeride mountain bike festival runs nine days, from July 21-29, and features seven mountain bike contests. Four of those contests are annual events, including the Jim Beam Air Downhill on A-Line, the 1,100 vertical metre Garbanzo Downhill, the Volkswagen Biker X, and the Kokanee Slopestyle.
New contests on the schedule are the Canadian Open Downhill, the Telus Dual Slalom, and Womenzworx women’s event.
The Canadian Open Downhill, July 29, will take place on a course designed by Whistler’s Tyler Morland, and takes the place of the national championships held last year.
The Telus Dual Slalom, July 27, is a throwback event to the early years of mountain biking, with riders going head to head on a short, gated course. All of the action will be visible from the village.
Womenzworx, July 23 to 24, is a new event designed by and for women of all riding abilities. There are categories for pros and amateurs, free lift passes for the first 100 women at the bike park, discounted clinics, a women only freeride event in the Boneyard, and a semi-formal awards ceremony and party.
Most events are wide open to the public and have age categories for riders as young as 13. The slopestyle is for pro men only, with the top-24 riders from last year getting an automatic entry. Other riders will be selected through a random lottery.
As always the course will have a few new twists this year.
“This year’s course promises to be more exciting than ever with the addition of new lines and features like the Satellite Dish, the Hitching Post, and the Giro Trailer Wall Ride,” said Roche.
The total cash prize purse for this year is $44,000. There will also be awards and draw prizes presented for every competition.
The competitions are only one component of Crankworx. The festival features an industry expo at the base of Whistler Mountain, live music, movie premiers, parties, trials demonstrations by Ryan Leach, and other events. Details will be announced in the coming weeks, says Roche, once they can be confirmed.
“Our first priority was to get the events side of things running, but there’s a lot more to come,” said Roche. “We’ve been working on all the other things that will be going on during the festival, and it’s all coming together.”
Festival organizers expect Crankworx to draw more than 215,000 people to Whistler, and more than 15,000 are expected to attend the Slopestyle — an event format that was invented in Whistler, and still attracts the top freeriders in the world.
Registration is available online this Friday at www.crankworx.com .
Organizers are still looking for volunteers to help out in a variety of positions over the festival, and want to hear from people who can donate a few days or even a few hours to the festival, in exchange for festival schwag and an invite to the volunteer party. For more information visit the festival website.