WINTER PARK, CO (BRAIN)—In its second year, Colorado Crankworx drew more athletes and vendors and helped Winter Park Resort sell more lift tickets to its Trestle Bike Park than the first time around. Still, event organizers and bike industry exhibitors say the young festival still has plenty of room for growth.
Because the event is free, the resort can’t measure the number of consumers watching the action, but vendors seemed pleased with the crowds on Saturday after a bit of a slow start on Thursday and Friday.
Employees at the Kona Bike tent said all 15 of its demo bikes were out all day on Saturday.
“This is the busiest mountain bike festival I’ve been to all summer in Colorado,” said Willy Warren, Kona’s sales rep for Colorado and Utah, comparing the event to the Fruita Fat Tire Festival, the Teva Mountain Games and the Mountain States Cup Series.
The four-day freeride festival, which included cross-country, slopestyle and dual slalom contests as well as vendor exhibits and food booths, is the U.S. version of Whistler, B.C.’s popular nine-day Kokanee Crankworx Festival.
“Whistler draws huge crowds and it’s a much bigger event in terms of length as well. That’s certainly something that’s appealing to us and kind of a future goal to see that take place here as well,” said Darcy Morse, communications manager for Winter Park.
The resort has taken steps to grow the festival and its bike park visits by working with the U.S. Forest Service to gain preliminary approval to build 10 miles of new downhill trails over the next three years, bringing the resort’s total lift-accessed offerings to 50 miles.
Morse said there’s plenty of potential for Colorado Crankworx to balloon to Whistler-sized proportions.
“We have great location. Our terrain is ideal for the mountain biking that you’ll see at Crankworx, we’re close to Denver International Airport and we’re expanding in terms of infrastructure at the base so there will be a new village next year (with room for more exhibitors),” Morse said.
First-time vendor Jennifer Steketee, president of Harlot Clothing Company, which manufactures freeride apparel, said she’ll be back next year.
“It’s great to see something like this in the states. The hope would be to see the event get to the size and enthusiasm as the Whistler event. People just have to stick with it,” Steketee said.
For more on Colorado Crankworx, and growth in lift-accessed mountain biking, be sure to read the September issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.
—Nicole Formosa (Story, Photo)