Brett Rheeder had the weight of the world on his shoulders going into the Red Bull Joyride in 2015.
The Ontarian had won the first two competitions in Rotorua, New Zealand and Let Gets, France, and was looking for a $25,000 Triple Crown of Slopestyle bonus.
But Rheeder fell sick under the pressure on the day of the competition and crashed out on both his runs, allowing Brandon Semenuk to win the event for the third year in a row.
This time around, however, Rheeder blazed through his first run and scored an even 93.00, pressuring the rest of the field for their respective second runs through the course. Only Belgian and 2012 winner Thomas Genon came close, posting a 91.20 his second time through, allowing Rheeder to take a victory lap and bask in the glory of his first triumph in Whistler. He also won $25,000 as the overall slopestyle champion for 2016.
"I feel amazing. I feel a hundred-billion times better than I did last year," Rheeder said. "I had two crashes last year and to put down a solid run on that course - I think it was the longest one ever - was amazing."
Rheeder acknowledged he was still feeling a little bit nervous heading into Sunday's competition, but managed to find a way to calm his nerves enough to make it through the course and claim victory.
Max Fredriksson scored a third-place result and was thrilled with his accomplishment.
"It was the biggest dream of mine to even get into Joyride, and now I managed to land a podium, which was completely out of my expectation," he said.
Local rider and three-time defending champion Brandon Semenuk struggled in both runs and placed 14th.
Other big news coming from the last day of Crankworx Whistler was announced Sunday as the Crankworx World Tour will expand into Innsbruck, Austria to create a four-stop circuit. The inaugural festival is slated to take place in July, 2017.
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