Elevation promises to be bigger, break new ground 

BMX dirt jump contest brings out top names

Red Bull Elevation was created, designed and executed with only one thing in mind – the rider. If spectators and sponsors are into it, then so much the better.

According to event founder Jay Miron, Canada’s top BMX athlete for over a decade, most of the pro dirt jump events out there are not keeping pace with the progression of the sport. He wanted an event with the bigger jumps the athletes were currently riding, held on a downhill grade to minimize pedaling and to create a sense of flow where the last hit is as big as the first.

He also wanted to see an event with a jam format, giving riders more opportunities to try out new tricks without the pressure of making the podium with just two runs.

Red Bull Elevation is now in its second year. The practice session is today, Thursday, June 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The qualifier will be held on Friday from noon to 6 p.m., narrowing the field down from 40 invited riders to 20 for the finals. The finals take place on Saturday, July 1 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the base of Whistler Mountain.

Miron has been told to expect twice as many spectators as last year – partly because it’s the Canada Day/Independence Day long weekend, and partly because of the success of last year’s inaugural Red Bull Elevation.

"It’s going to be nuts if twice as many people come, and based on what I’m hearing I think it’s going to be absolutely nuts," he said. "Last year a lot of people didn’t know what to expect or what would happen, but have since heard about it and seen the footage. We were also up against Slam City Jam last year, which attracts a similar crowd, but that’s not happening this year."

Miron, who hails from Coquitlam, says there is also a lot more media interest this year from around the world based on the success of last year’s competition.

Although Mountain Square will be busy, one of the advantages of the Red Bull Elevation is that the action takes place high in the air over the jumps or on a downslope. Spectators will also be allowed to watch from the side of the course, which starts up the service road on Whistler Mountain, curves around and finishes at the bottom of the ski out in the village.

The course will look the same as last year, but according to Miron there have been a few changes.

"To the general public it’s not going to seem a lot different, but for the riders it will be a new game," said Miron. "Last year we made the biggest, scariest jumps we could but this year’s setup is better. This year we cut into the hill so the run-ins weren’t so steep, the angles are different. Even though the jumps are bigger they’re safer to ride, you can go higher and do bigger tricks. Basically we tried to take every little mistake and oversight from last year and fix it for this event so it would be perfect."

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