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The Insiders’ Guide to Crankworx Whistler

A day in the life of the world’s best mountain biking festival
Insider's Guide
Crankworx Whistler Joyride Slopestyle Podium

There’s no better way to experience these mountains and this town than during Crankworx when Whistler is at its very summertime best. For 10 days in August Whistler puts on the ultimate show—the best mountain bikers in the world competing at the very best arena in the world.

It doesn’t take long to realize why Whistler is the ultimate stop in the world tour. Here is your guide to making the most of all Crankworx and Whistler has to offer during the 10-day festival. From morning to night, here’s how to enjoy a day in the life of a Crankworx junkie.

 

Ride the trails

Set your day up the right way by getting on your bike.

The Whistler Mountain Bike Park may be the heart of the action for all things Crankworx, but Whistler’s soul can be discovered in the dirt beyond the Village, home to more than 200 single track trails, snaking all over the valley with more added, it seems, every year. That’s all thanks to the local bike club—the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association, or WORCA. The club has a hand in Crankworx too, working with organizers for the Enduro World Series (EWS), part of which takes place on local trails. The EWS events take place over the first weekend of Crankworx, beginning Friday August 5.

“WORCA is very excited to see the return of Crankworx and the enthusiasm for mountain biking that is such a part of the summer culture of Whistler,” says club president Dale Mikkelsen. “WORCA is keen to share our amazing singletrack network with the world, with several trails being featured in the Enduro World Series! There are so many great trails in the Whistler Valley that are not in the bike park and accessible only by pedal power.  So if you're visiting Whistler for Crankworx, or anytime, grab your trail bike or enduro bike and challenge yourself in the valley.” Check out the sidebar for some of Mikkelsen’s insider suggestions.

 

Chill Out

After working up a morning sweat, it’s time to chill out before heading back out again. If you’re lucky enough to be staying in a Village hotel, like Crankworx partner Aava Whistler, go for a dip in the outdoor pool. But Whistler has you covered if there’s no pool at your lodgings. There are five valley lakes in the area, all easily accessible by bike or bus. The most popular is arguably Lost Lake, close to the Village, in the heart of Lost Lake Park, and has the added bonus of Whistler’s long-established nudie dock for those who want to bare it all. If Lost Lake is busy, get ready to explore beyond to Alta, Alpha, Green and Nita Lakes. Whistler’s lakes are clean and refreshing and the perfect way to cap off a morning ride and ready yourself for the day ahead.

 

Stroll the Stroll

After your morning fun exploring Whistler, it’s time to get into the Crankworx groove. Look no further than the Village Stroll. Whistler was designed for this kind of festival, coming alive with all kinds of activation like the tech and demo zone with all the latest and greatest on display. It’s set up to be a fun and interactive experience, designed to get you wandering through the Village and enjoying the vibe of the mountains. Sign up for the free workshops and events. This will also get you stoked to get back on your bike! Also, don’t forget to look up. That’s Whistler Mountain calling, home to the world’s biggest bike park.

 

Afternoon park laps

Think of every superlative out there to describe something outstandingly awesome. That gives you some idea of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Biggest. Greatest. Coolest. Once you get up, you’ll soon understand. There’s about 5,000 vertical feet of lift-serviced trails in four main zones. This year the Creek Zone is close due to upgrades to the Creekside Gondola and Big Red Express. Don’t worry—there’s plenty of park still to ride! You’ll see little groms ripping it up and beginners finding their first downhill flows. There’s absolutely something for everyone. Here’s another insider tip that will help you along the way: Though the park is very well signed and it’s easy to find your way, it also pays to download TrailForks and see exactly where you’re going and how to get there.

 

Enjoy a legendary apres

After park laps, there is no other place to go than the straight for an apres. Don’t shower. Don’t change. Don’t even think of doing anything else except enjoying that well-deserved beer. It will never taste as good as it does right at this moment. Though Whistler has a renowned apres scene, talked about the world over, it’s really hard to beat the GLC patio for apres during Crankworx. With its prime spot nestled into the base of Whistler Mountain, the GLC is known for its legendary apres scene summer and winter, festival or no festival. Crankworx, however, provides non-stop action as the backdrop with the patio a mere stone’s throw from the GLC Drop, the last jump on the park’s legendary A-Line trail. You can almost feel the same thrill as the athletes…from the comfort (and safety) of your patio chair!

 

Meet your heroes

Speaking of athletes…Make sure you know exactly what’s going on with the Crankworx pro action by checking out the daily schedule at crankworx.com. Now, here’s one of the best tips from the inside. While you’re hanging out at the finish line or cheering on at the medals ceremonies, don’t be afraid to say hello to your heroes.

“The athletes are very approachable,” says Crankworx manager Darren Kinnaird. “They’re so great with kids.”

Often athletes will take photos; they’ll sign jerseys; they’ll give high fives.

It’s one of the best things about Crankworx; your heroes are in the crowd, making the most of their Crankworx experience too.

 

Whistler at Dark

As dusk settles and the sun begins to dip behind the mountains, bikes are washed and stored away ready to ride again the following day, Whistler transforms once again. Crankworx brings back Dirt Diaries and Deep Summer once again. Here’s where you get to see another aspect of mountain biking’s creative juices. Dirt Diaries brings the big screen to Whistler when five separate filmmakers showcase their talents in four-to six minute videos showcasing an athlete in each. It never disappoints. Dirt Diaries kicks off at 8:30 on Thursday Aug. 11. Don’t miss it. The same is true of Deep Summer which takes place at 8:30 on Tuesday Aug. 9. This is a photo showdown, with photographers telling their stories of mountain biking through their unique lens. Both events will have you looking at your dirt lines in a new light. And let’s not forget about the parties and more parties and even more parties happening throughout the Village. Soak up all the fun Crankworx has to offer. One more insider tip before signing off: Once you experience Crankworx, you too will be hooked. Start planning for 2023 while you’re here—scope of the trails you want to ride next year, make your dinner reservations, plan ahead for another epic adventure.

Stay tuned to all the action and events at crankworx.com

 

SIDEBAR: Riding Beyond

There’s a little something for every mountain biker when visiting Whistler. Take this advice straight from WORCA club president Dale Mikkelsen:

“If you're a strong intermediate rider, then the Cheakamus area is your mecca with modern, technical and flowing singletrack easily accessible off the Cheakamus Interpretive Forest Trail Head. Ride up the Farside and Farout climbing trails and then up SCAP to the Hi's - a triple threat of amazing singletrack - Hiside, HiHi, and Highline. From the top of Highline turn right on the Microwave Road and grind a few steep hills to get to Tunnel Vision, a classic that is being reinterpreted into a modern enduro track, flowing right into HindSight (used in the 2018 EWS). From the bottom of Hindsight, it's a beauty of a climb up SingleTrack Mind to get back to the Microwave Road. Turn right off the road and onto Business Time, an absolute stellar test of technical ability, up and down.  When you hit the junction to Upper AMPM, drop down this short section and straight into Lower AMPM - probably one of Whistler's most ridden trails, right back to the staging area.

If you're looking for expert terrain like none other, WORCA would recommend hitting up the "Trilogy" on the famous Westside. The Westside is chock-a-block with steep technical and gnarly terrain, but the Trilogy is a taste of all the greatness of the Westside. Climb up the Stonebridge paved road and then up the Darwin's Climb. From the top of Darwin's, it's a right turn onto the Flank trail into beautiful terrain to the top of the Trilogy. The Trilogy starts with Rockwork Orange and warms you up with some amazing black diamond slabs and rock rolls along with some of the punchy jank famous on the Westside. From Rockwork, you dip back onto the Flank for a few seconds and then drop into Korova Milkbar, which drops even steeper and burlier with some super advanced rock moves (but there are single black ride-arounds for the hardest moves). From the bottom of Korova, you're into Wizard Burial Ground - a true Whistler test-piece. Don't be ashamed if you have to walk many (or most) of the features on this trail, but it's amazing to ride and understand that the Trilogy was a piece of the 2017 EWS. Imagine racing these three trails! From the bottom of Wizard, you're not done. Hit up Lower Beaver Pass to get you down to Alta Lake Road. Carrying on with the enduro theme, this trail was part of the 4th stage of the Canadian National Enduro Championships in 2021.