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Reaping the dirt at Harvest Huckfest

Slopestyle, dual slalom take place this weekend

Just as crops in Pemberton have had an entire season to grow before harvesting, so have Whistler mountain bikers had a chance to perfect their own skills for Harvest Huckfest.

Huckfest has been taking place for five of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park’s last 10 years, with events ranging from enduro downhill contests to jams in the Air Dome. This year the event has been moved up three weeks to capitalize on better weather, and the events taking place include a slopestyle on Saturday, Sept. 20 and the Gunner Vision Dual Slalom on Sunday, Sept. 21. Both formats are very spectator friendly, with lots of great places to watch near the base of Whistler Mountain.

The slopestyle is open to men and women, 13 years old and up. Full-face helmets are mandatory, and, because it’s an amateur contest, no inverted tricks are allowed. The course is a selection of wood and dirt features in the Boneyard, stuff that’s normally open to the public, and competitors will be judged for line choice, the difficulty of tricks and combinations, their ability to flow from one trick to another, general aggressiveness and air time.

The morning check-in is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by training from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The contest gets underway at noon, with each competitor getting two runs.

“Depending on how many riders are registered we might do what we did with the Boneyard Air Affair and take the top eight riders and put them into a big final,” said Seb Fremont, who is organizing the event for Whistler-Blackcomb. “We’re also ranking riders per category, two chances and the best score wins.”

Fremont is expecting about 40 riders to take part, based on early registration.

“The word is really getting out there from and the media, so we expect a lot of riders to show up on the morning of the race ready to go,” he said.

The Gunner Vision Dual Slalom, named after course designer Andrew Gunner, pits riders against each other and the clock.

The format is the same as Crankworx. On Saturday, riders will take two seeding runs — one on the red course and one on the blue — from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and their combined time will determine their spot in the bracket on Sunday (fastest against the slowest).

Riders go head to head on the course, swapping lanes after the first run, and the rider with the lowest combined time moves on to the next round. If a rider crashes or goes off course, the maximum time differential is 1.5 seconds for the second run.

The course includes rollers, step-ups, step-downs, tables, tight berms, a gate section, and even a water hazard to keep things interesting.

“We included the slalom based on feedback from the riders. They really like the course and it offers something new and different from Harvest Huckfest,” said Fremont.

The Sunday morning check-in is at 10 a.m., followed by training at 10:30 a.m. The ladders get underway at 11:45 a.m.

Registration is $40 per event, and lift tickets are available for $5. Foreign riders need proof of insurance, and riders under the age of 18 need a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. Full-face helmets are mandatory for both contests.

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