It truly feels like the summer has come to a head by the time Crankworx Whistler rolls around. The flagship festival of the world tour, the Whistler rendition is Crankworx on steroids. Ten jam-packed days of both pro and amateur comps, group rides and parties – there’s a reason it’s every rider’s dream holiday.
This year, Whistler stepped it up yet again, re-designing several of the comp venues and cramming over 30, 000 spectators into the Boneyard to watch the final slopestyle event of the series, Redbull Joyride. Let’s jump into this recap, shall we?
There are countless events at Crankworx Whistler and almost every year, new ones get added. Some of our favourites include the EWS, Fox Air DH, Best Trick, Deep Summer Photo Challenge, Dirt Diaries and Dual Slalom.
The festival kicked off with a crowd pleaser; the Official World Whip-Off Championships.
Mons athlete Peter Kaiser has cleaned up this year in this event, earning first place in Rotorua and third in Innsbruck. This time, he was joined by fellow Mons athlete Conor Macfarlane. The whip-off takes place in the daytime at the infamous Crabapple Hits in the Whistler Bike Park. At this edition, athletes got as sideways as possible and, in some cases, got inverted to appease the sizeable crowd.
In the night-time Pumptrack session, the legendary Jill Kintner returned to the track. And although Kialani Hines has made a good showing this year in the event, Kintner predictably took first place.
The opposite was true for the men though, where newcomer Tommy Zula beat seasoned vet Adrien Loron for the top spot.
Of course, we can't forget about the Speed & Style. The course was moved up to Base 2 on Blackcomb this year and was built as spicy as ever. Blood, sweat and tears was the literal name of the game here, as many of the competitors in the women’s field succumbed to injury or crashes. Even Mons’ own Peter Kaiser had a nasty slide-out on the first berm of the course, leading to the end of his comp day.
Hometown hero Brett Rheeder was once again only one win away from Triple Crown glory (he’s been consistently thwarted at the Whistler slopestyle in the past). And with a brand new course with a “choose your adventure” vibe, this was where Brett would really be able to pull away from the pack.
However, the comeback kid Emil Johansson had missed the win by a mere half-point in Innsbruck and his track record in Whistler has been pristine.
With flawless technical combos and smooth-as-butter landings, Emil stole the win (and subsequently the chance at the Triple Crown) from Rheeder. After more than year of health struggles, the Canadian crowd was stoked to see the Swede take the victory, even if it meant BC boy Rheeder would only climb as far as the second step on the podium.
Well that’s all she wrote for the Crankworx World Tour in 2019. And with Crankworx Rotorua officially locked in for 2020, we’re counting down the days until the bikes roll into town again.
Photos: Jay French
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