Crankworx set for a showdown 

Top freeriders face off in Red Bull Joyride

The stage is set for what promises to be an entertaining and groundbreaking, event - the Red Bull Joyride, billed as the "Evolution of Slopestyle."

Thursday evening will give fans their first taste of what's to come with the Joyride Qualifier from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., followed by the $10,000 Teva Best Trick Showdown until 6:30 p.m. Some 25 invited riders will be taking part, including athletes looking to qualify for Joyride and a few athletes that have already qualified, but are looking for more time on the course. The first trick obstacle is the step-up booter at the top of the Joyride course, the second is the Kokanee Cabin at the base of the mountain.

Thursday also marks the return of the Pump Track Challenge from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., presented by Rock Shox at the top of the Boneyard. There's a whole new course this year, with lots of turns and humps for riders to pump speed. The finals will be decided by a two-run time trials, and the head-to-head format is back for the finals with riders starting on opposite ends of the track and racing to get back to where they started.

The Giant Slalom, sponsored by Giant, takes place on Friday evening with a two-run time trial format on the burly course that winds through the Boneyard. The amateur riders race from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., while pros race from 4:45 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The main Joyride event will get underway on Saturday evening (after the Trialworx trials competition winds up and the Canadian Cheese Rolling Championships have crowned two new winners) with athletes hitting the course from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

With upwards of 20,000 spectators expected it might be a good idea to get there a bit early to watch 16 riders vying for a share of the $45,000 prize purse - including $25,000 for first place, $10,000 for second, $5,000 for third, $3,500 for fourth and $1,500 for fifth.

All of the riders will get two runs to start with, with the top riders moving into the super final round.

The field of athletes is a who's who of freeriding, with some top names in the sport failing to even make the pre-qualified list this year - including past Crankworx winners like Paul Basagoitia, Greg Watts and Andreu Lacondeguy, and familiar names like Cam McCaul, Tyler McCaul, Antoine Bizet, Geoff Gulevich and Jamie Goldman.

Whistler's Brandon Semenuk is leading the list of pre-qualified athletes as he's currently the leader of the Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) World Tour with wins at Jump Ship, 26Trix and the Claymore Challenge.

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