Slopestyle will crown a world champion for the first time at the end of this year, as Crankworx World Tour and Freeride Mountain Bike Association (FMBA) are combining to make one, unified series. The two organizations will merge their events into the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championships (SWC) season. The new unified SWC season will award more than $200, 000 USD through the series, which will culminate in naming the first Slopestyle world champion at Red Bull Joyride in Whistler. The Crankworx Triple Crown of Slopestyle will remain in place, awarding an additional $25, 000 prize to any athlete who can win three out of four Crankworx Slopestyle competitions in one season.
“Crankworx and the FMBA creating one overall title doesn’t only simplify the sport for fans but also legitimizes and builds it in the direction we need,” says Brett Rheeder, one of the sport’s most decorated competitors. “My greater goal as an athlete in the sport is to push mountain bike Slopestyle to the Olympics. I feel that with the progressive riding level, event coverage and now with Crankworx and the FMBA working together, it will help get the attention the sport needs in order to do so.”
Six riders will pre-qualify for the inaugural Crankworx FMBA SWC season based on their standings at the start of 2018, with an additional eight spots available at each event. Additionally, winners of Red Bull Joyride, Slopestyle’s marquee event, will be given lifetime entry to SWC series events. This key detail makes it possible for five time Red Bull Joyride winner, Brandon Semenuk to return to the Whistler event this summer even though he no longer contests a full FMBA season.
The move to merge the Crankworx and FMB series is designed to simplify rankings and progress the discipline to new heights. With a unified series, global athlete ranking and qualification processes for the most prestigious events will be clearer for up and coming athletes. “When it comes to how we recognize the athletes that are competing at the highest level, it makes sense to have one elite-level championship series,” said Crankworx World Tour General Manager Darren Kinnaird. “Having the SWC will make it easier for fans to follow along and be more logical for our athletes who are competing on the FMB World Tour circuit on the hunt for a coveted spot to compete on the sport’s biggest stage at Crankworx.” FMBA as the governing body of the sport will continue to operate the FMB World Tour, which includes events classified into Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Diamond level events through which athlete qualify for spots on SWC start lists.
The six riders who pre-qualify for the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship in 2018 are:
Emil Johansson (SWE)
Nicholi Rogatkin (USA)
Szymon Godziek (POL)
Ryan Nyquist (USA)
Brett Rheeder (CAN)
Diego Caverzasi (ITA)