WHISTLER, British Columbia (BRAIN)—The Crankworx crew churned out another successful event in Whistler, as bike industry vendors, professional riders and thousands of spectators swarmed the Canadian resort for the annual nine-day free ride festival.
Kokanee Crankworx wrapped up its fifth year on August 17.
“We’re really, really happy with the way this year’s event ended up,” said Jeremy Roche, general manager of Kokanee Crankworx. “We’re still waiting on some numbers to come through, but our instincts are that we smashed a number of records.”
Roche doesn’t yet know the total number of festivalgoers or riders in the bike park during the event, but said a record 20,000 people showed up to watch the slopestyle contest last Saturday.
About 70 vendors from the bike industry set up in the expo area in the pedestrian village at the base of Whistler’s bike park, and a half-dozen or so brands, including Specialized, Felt, Cannondale and Trek, took part in the new demo zone.
Specialized used the demo area to give consumers a chance to ride 2009 bikes.
“We probably did between 60 and 100 demos a day so it was definitely worthwhile,” said Nic Sims, with Specialized’s global marketing department.
Other manufacturers timed product launches with Crankworx to capture the attention of the international media covering the event.
SRAM introduced Truvativ’s new HammerSchmidt two-speed crankset focused on the freeride, all-mountain rider in Pemberton, a small town outside Whistler, and Kona and Giant both launched select 2009 bikes.
Crankworx added two new events to the slate of contests this year—the trick showdown and giant slalom—both of which were well-received among spectators and athletes and will likely be back next year, Roche said.
Athletes also competed in downhill, trials, cross-country, air downhill, slopestyle and dual slalom races for a total prize purse of more than $70,000, the largest in the festival’s history.
Also this year, Crankworx handed out the first Richard Juryn Memorial Award, which SRAM’s Tyler Morland won. The award is presented to an amateur or professional award who exudes endless effort, dedication, passion and enthusiasm. Juryn, one of the founders of Crankworx, died last October in a kayaking accident in British Columbia.
For more details on Kokanee Crankworx, be sure to read the October issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.
(PHOTO by Ryan Cleek. Lance McDermott going big.)