In the growing world of freeride mountain biking, Whistler has become the official laboratory where new riding styles, technologies and events are researched and tested on enthusiastic riders.
In the summer of 2003, Whistler hosted the first ever mountain bike slopestyle event, where riders were judged on their ability to ride a course of obstacles. With a huge crowd turning out to watch, that event quickly became the signature event of the first Crankworx mountain bike festival in 2004, along with several other events that have evolved out of previous bike festivals.
The final result is a lineup of events for this years Crankworx, Aug. 3-7, designed to show the evolution of the sport.
"We are always looking at how to make the events even bigger and better than before, because the riders here are the best in the world," said Eric Fremont, who is organizing the event with the Whistler Events Bureau (Whistler-Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler). "The events are ready to go, all the events surrounding Crankworx are moving along. Its going to be good."
So far registration is strong with over 50 people signed up more than a week in advance.
"About 90 per cent of mountain bike registration in Whistler comes within a week of the event, so were actually doing really well. The main events, like the Air Downhill and Garbanzo Enduro are capped at around 175 competitors anyway, and last year the Air Downhill sold out and the other events came pretty close," said Fremont.
Organizers also expect participants to take part in two or more events, and believe many riders will participate in all three competitions. The top riders after the festivals will be named the King and Queen of the mountain.
Crankworx returns with some new additions, some changes to existing events, and a beefed up entertainment component on festival nights.
The backbone of Crankworx is a series of five competitions with over $20,000 in prize money, three of which are open to the general public. The cost of registration is between $45 and $55, depending on your category, not including insurance, and there will be a $10 surcharge for event day sign-up. There will also be a $10 discount for riders that sign up for all three events.
You can register online at www.crankworx.com , or at Whistler-Blackcomb Guest Relations.
Jim Beam Air Downhill
Crankworx competition gets underway on Thursday, Aug. 4 with the Jim Beam Air Downhill from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Air Downhill, in its fifth year, is a rip down the Whistler Mountain Bike Parks famed A-Line run. A-Line features 100 man-made jumps and berms, as well as a couple of challenging rock drops, and is easily the most ridden trail in North America.