In the world of mountain biking, Whistler occupies a special
place at the top.
Not only is the town the epicentre for lift-assisted mountain
biking, with a bike park and model that resorts around the world are trying to
match, it’s also on the forefront of freeriding, and the birthplace of the
mountain bike slopestyle. In the five years since the first slopestyle even was
held, contests have cropped up around the world to create an actual tour for
the top athletes. Whistler’s event is still the biggest, drawing an estimated
15,000 spectators to the base of the mountain.
Whistler is also home to the world’s biggest mountain bike
club, WORCA, with more than 1,000 members each year, and there are more than
300 km of trails to enjoy in the valley, including 160 km of singletrack.
The Bike Park adds another 200 km of lift-serviced trails, and is constantly
being upgraded and expanded.
For nine days in August, Aug. 9 to 17, Whistler celebrates
mountain biking with the Kokanee Crankworx freeride mountain bike festival.
That’s nine days of music, expos, demos, and industry parties, but the main
attraction has always been the events.
This year the festival features 10 bike events, with three
downhill races, three slopestyle/trick contests, two dual slaloms, a trials
competition, and a team cross country race. This year there is a cash purse of
$70,000 available for the pro riders, plus a huge number of prizes for competitors
racing in the age categories.
For good measure, Crankworx also features the debut of the
Canadian Cheese Rolling Championship — competitors rolling two wheels of
specialty cheeses down the slopes at the base of Blackcomb.
Registration for most events is available online at
www.crankworx.com, or by going straight to the Karelo site at www.karelo.com.
Aug. 9 — Dual Slalom
The first dual slalom event of the competition takes place from
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the base of Whistler Mountain on the new Double Vision
course. The contest is open to everybody, with a prize purse of $6,500 for the
top four pro men and pro women. The competition is extremely spectator
friendly, as riders make their way down through a set of parallel gates to the
finish. Each pairing of riders goes twice, once in each lane, and the rider
with the lowest combined time moves on to the next round.