A crowd of over 10,000 flocked to the base of Whistler Mountain on Thursday for the third annual VW Best Trick competition, taking on two tricks in the bike park's Boneyard. The first line included a wall ride, a drop and a wood ramp onto a dirt landing that was built for inverted tricks. U.S. rider Greg Watts - winner of the 2009 Monster Energy Slopestyle - took it with a backflip and double tailwhip that pushed the jump about as far as you could go.
The athletes themselves judged the competition, and Watts - who built up the jump during the one-hour jam session - says it just felt right.
"I knew there was a potential for it this morning during practice. I was going a little larger and larger each time, and it just seemed like it was the perfect setup," he said. "I was thinking about what I was going to do and I just said 'why not?' It's a fun trick."
There was a bit of wind on the course but Watts said it doesn't affect you much when you're flipping and spinning. The course was also dry and dusty which meant landings had to be perfect, but Watts said he tried not to focus on that.
"If you think about that too much you won't be able to do anything," he said. "For me it was just 'I'll get to it when I get to it.'"
The second part of the competition was off the Kokanee Kicker at the base of the mountain, the final trick in Saturday's slopestyle. It consisted of a dirt ramp over a 10-metre table, landing on a steep and loose transition at the base of the mountain. A few riders had issues with the landing and Sam Pilgrim, a rider from the U.K. who was taking shots all day, injured his ankle after getting wrapped up with his bike after a tailwhip.
Darren Berrecloth was obviously building up to something big, landing one trick after another before heading immediately back up the hill while the other riders sat this one out. He landed front heavy on one 360 attempt, but instead of giving up he pledged that the "next one will be better" before heading uphill with photographer Sterling Lorence in tow. He didn't disappoint, landing a never before seen Switch 360 Look Back - essentially twisting his body in one direction and holding it while his bike spun 360 in the other direction. The landing was invisible for most of the trick.
"I wanted to do a big new trick in this competition and this was the perfect jump for it. I was training this all day to be able to stomp it," said Berrecloth, who lives on Vancouver Island.
Berrecloth said he couldn't see the landing area, but tried to focus on the Kokanee sign under the jump while holding his look back. "I could feel myself coming down, and said 'yeah, it's time to turn around now.'"
Both Watts and Berrecloth earned $3,000 for their efforts, while the announcers handed out another $2,000 in cash to the riders while watching the tricks.