Canadian Open Downhill by Steve Andrews
Surfing has the Triple Crown. Snowboarding has the US Open. But the multidisciplinary nature of Mountain biking made it quite the effort to get all the different sects of the sport into one place at one time. Thanks to industry visionary, Skip Taylor, that was made possible.
See, ten years ago, Mountain biking was a sport that meant different things depending on who you asked. Each discipline had it’s own ‘scene’ that more or less kept to themselves; racers would go on their respective race circuits, and freestylers didn’t even have a way to showcase their talent for the world.
Fast-forward to present day where we have an entire industry currently converging on Whistler, BC — a place that every single mountain biker has heard of since they first realized gravity and bikes make a wonderful relationship. The bike park, trails in the valley, and lively village all collide to create the perfect venue for one of the most fun, exciting, overstimulating festivals in all of action sports.
Above the rooftops by Steve Andrews
Crankworx has become synonymous with mountain biking’s evolution over the past ten years. Indeed, the sport owes much to this summertime staple for anything mountain bike related. The entire industry converges for nine days of events, parties, demos, and anything else that happens when athletes and industry titans are all together in some of the most amazing terrain on earth.
I had a chance to speak with Skip Taylor, one of the people involved with the creation of Crankworx. He continues to develop the festival to new heights as the Executive Producer. He’s seen the event grow from an idea in a meeting to it’s current status as a must-stop for all pro athletes, industry workers, and fans of a sport that hasn’t always had a central spot for everyone to converge.
It’s funny where names for things originate. “There was this skit on SNL with Mike Myers called ‘Sprockets’”, Skip tells me with a laugh. “One of the skits had a dating show within it called Loverworx, and we would always joke about it. Anyway we were losing our minds about ‘loverworx’ and then we started saying ‘Crankworx’, and it was all this joke, but then we started talking about the brand, and how that could work…”
Red Bull Joyride by Steve Andrews
And so the Crankworx Freeride Mountain Bike Festival was born in 2004 as a four-day series of events spanning various disciplen within the burgeoning sport of downhill mountain biking.
“I never anticipated in my wildest dreams that it would grow to what it is now,” Skip remarks as we discuss the past decade. We are now featured on Network Television (NBC) for a two hour special. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. But even more so, we are a full-blown ten day festival that is now a model for a resort to showcase their product to the best in the world.”
Showcasing their product is something that Crankworx does well. The festival is backed by Whistler/Blackcomb, owners and creators of the oft-copied-never-replicated Whistler Mountain Bike Park, the standard by which all other mountain bike parks aspire to become.
Beyond the live in-house production, the Crankworx producers have worked hard to make sure the events are showcased at the highest quality to the world. “We have invested a lot in content to give our viewers the best experience possible. We have footage from helicopters, cable cams, and much more, as well as live updates on our mobile app. We really do our best to be on the cutting edge of technology so that if you can’t be here to witness the action in person, you will still get a ton out of the event.”
All the action can be found at www.crankworx.com. If you ride a mountain bike, you will be inspired to get out there and see what is possible on two wheels. Even if you aren’t a mountain biker, you will want to tune in to see the best athletes in the world competing on some of the world’s best terrain — a great combo if I’ve ever seen one.
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