Crankworx is coming back to Canada earlier than expected, but it’s not headed back to Whistler. Or, at least, not right away.
A new Crankworx B.C. festival, announced Saturday, will travel around the province from September 6-19, 2021. Like last year’s Crankworx Summer Series, the new Crankworx B.C. festival will visit SilverStar Mountain Resort (Vernon), Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (Golden) and Sun Peaks Resort (Kamloops).
Over 12 days, 32 riders (16 men, 16 women) will race for King and Queen of Crankworx points alongside 14 Slopestyle riders in nine competitions. Events will include Downhill, Dual Slalom, Air DH, Pump Track, and Slopestyle. With the new festival adding to Crankworx Innsbruck and Rotorua, the coveted Triple Crown of Slopestyle prize is back in play for 2021.
Today’s announcement is months in the making, but only possible due to recent changes to relevant health guidelines. It is not yet set whether spectators will be allowed and what the festival will include beyond racing.
Summer Series, but make it international
The new three-stop event will roughly follow the format of 2020’s Crankworx Summer Series. Since Crankworx BC will be part of the Crankworx World Tour – and count towards King and Queen of Crankworx titles, it will follow a slightly more traditional Crankworx format.
Summer Series was an excellent opportunity for younger Canadian athletes that don’t always make the live feed at races to line up side-by-side with internationally recognized riders like Finn Iles, Casey Brown, Mark Wallace, Miranda Miller, Vaea Verbeeck and Jesse Melamed. Kasper Woolley, who made a long list of Summer Series podiums, was just one rider that used the series as a platform to wider recognition.
Inclusion in Crankworx World Tour, though, means that there will be a more international look to the 32 rider roster, plus the 14 Slopestyle athletes. Hopefully there’s still a solid Canadian representation, from whatever riders can squeeze a three-stop tour into their EWS or World Cup race calendars.
2020’s Summer Series was also notable for mixing top racers from the diverse, and usually somewhat separated worlds of World Cup downhill, freeride, and Enduro World Series. It made for exciting racing, and more unpredictable results. (It also showed us that Iles and Verbeeck are exceptionally talented, no matter what bike they are riding).
Whistler is still in the works
When Crankworx cancelled its 2021 visit to Whistler, the series also announced it intends to return there in August 2022. Today’s announcement doesn’t change that. Organizers are still saying making a last-minute return to Whistler this year is just not feasible.
“As Whistler is home to the largest lift-access bike park in the world, part of the largest ski resort in North America, the number of stakeholders involved in planning an international competition event was beyond the scope and lead time available this year.”
2021 Crankworx World Tour
June 16-20: Crankworx Innsbruck
September 6-19: Crankworx B.C.
November 1-7: Crankworx Rotorua