Movin' on up 

Dual slalom and dual speed and style events heading to Blackcomb Base 2

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - NEW BASE The 100% Dual Slalom (and CLIF Speed and Style) at Crankworx Whistler will be held at Blackcomb Base 2 starting this August.
  • File photo by Dan Falloon
  • NEW BASE The 100% Dual Slalom (and CLIF Speed and Style) at Crankworx Whistler will be held at Blackcomb Base 2 starting this August.

While it's beneficial in some ways to have the Boneyard as a central hub during Crankworx Whistler, organizers are betting it'll be better to give a few events some breathing room.

For the 2019 festival, the dual slalom and dual speed and style events will move up to Blackcomb Base 2.

Crankworx World Tour executive director Darren Kinnaird said the festival had hoped to make the change for 2018, but construction of the new Blackcomb Gondola monopolized the tube park and made the move impossible.

Kinnaird said reducing congestion down in the village should be a boon for athletes across the slate of events.

"That's going to make the athlete experience just that much better. (There will be) more training opportunities, more dedicated training opportunities, more dedicated training for the slopestyle athletes as well," he said, adding that spectators should also enjoy the new sightlines.

Joyride Bike Parks president Paddy Kaye is excited for the move, working with "new canvas" to create a fresh look. He added that the focus on slopestyle made it difficult to get creative with the other disciplines.

"We've been really limited over the past two years as the slopestyle track grew. It put a bit of a squeeze on the other track. Last year, we added the pump track into the whole mix in the Boneyard, so we've been limited with what we can do with the dual slalom and the speed and style," he said. "This new venue is going to allow us to put some more focus on the tracks themselves."

Kaye explained that the dual slalom and dual speed and style events will share a start gate and finish corral, but will otherwise be their own beasts.

"They'll have their own style and design," he said. "They'll roll through the first feature, which will be something simple, and then the dual slalom would break off to the right-hand side and the speed-and-style would go to the left-hand side. They'd work their way down the slope and then perhaps cross, is what we're looking at."

Meanwhile, the course for the new women's speed and style event is being considered to use the top of the dual slalom track before hitting the men's speed and style course at the intersection. Kaye explained designers and builders are taking the same tack as they do with the slopestyle course, balancing being a challenge for athletes and a draw for fans while also being fun and safe to ride.

"It's managing the size of the features. Safety is a huge thing. We also want to encourage women to race hard and push themselves but also to have a good experience, come back in the future and help grow the sport," he said. "A big part of it is making the track accessible."

Though stressing that the course is still being designed, Kaye offered that the separated speed and style course could see additional slopestyle features, like a flat drop or a cannon log.

"It would bridge the gap, so to speak, between old-school and new-school racing, and try to spice it up. That being said, they would be rideable, raceable features, nothing huge and not part of the judged features," he said.

The 100% Dual Slalom is set to run on Aug. 14 while the CLIF Speed and Style is set for Aug. 16.

In other Crankworx news, Kinnaird said there will be additional Kidsworx events this year, including an invitational speed and style with 16 boys and eight girls aged 13 to 15.

As well, there will be a pump track clinic on Aug. 12 featuring pro riders Anneke Beerten and Martin Soderstrom. The duo previously held a similar event in Rotorua and are eager to connect with local groms.

For more information, visit www.crankworx.com.

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