The old ‘left line’ of road gap and kicker seems to be back in vogue
So here it is, the event that’s become synonymous with the entire festival, the example you give when describing what Crankworx is to those not in the know, “it’s the jumpy flippy spinny bit”, it’s the Slopestyle finals. This year there was $30,000 in the pot for the top three, so you can be sure the riders were willing to lay it all on the line.
Funnily enough, come Saturday morning I wasn’t too interested in watching the spectacle at all; last year had felt like the format was a little old, the crowd and riders weren’t 100% into it, and I wasn’t relishing a few hours baking in the hot Whistler sun again. Turns out I was wrong; way wrong. Huge changes to the course included more lines through the Boneyard, extra gaps, drops and jumps, and finally the slightly smaller but more whippier S-box drop to the finish line, as seen in the Best Trick competition.. One of last year’s major complaints from the riders was that the Gap-O-Tron was simply too big, the landing too gnarly to even contemplate anything other than a straight air off. Nice to see the organisers taking the feedback on board.
It wasn’t simply the course builders who stepped it up this year, either; there was a real buzz among the particpants during qualifying, each of them cheering on their colleagues, commenting on their runs and congratulating successful landings.
As I mentioned for the Best Trick contest, back flips are definitely ‘out’ this year, you really had to pull something bigger to earn the top spot. Perhaps I should’ve been a bit more specific – “single” backflips are out, “double” backflips are very much in, as Andreu Lacondeguy proved by stomping his third attempt shortly into his final run, much to the crowd’s delight.
Manchester lad Lance McDermott and Brandon Semenuk put in banger final runs (including Lance’s butter-smooth back-flip-on, front-flip-off of the last drop) that made for a nailbiting finish, but in the end, the shock and awe of Andreu’s technical run couldn’t be topped, and he walked away $15,000 heavier.
Slopestyle just got the shot in the arm it badly needed.
It doesn’t always go to plan… Cam Zink pushes the eject button
Giant Slalom results
1 Andreu Lacondeguy (Kona)
2 Lance Mcdermott (Scott)
3 Brandon Semenuk ( Trek, Nike, SRAM< Rockshox,Camelback, Smith)
360 off the Monster drop. True to its name, that the landing you’re looking for is bottom left. Scary stuff