Chris Kovarik is not a builder. He'd be the first to admit it: spending time with a shovel in hand would take away from the focus required to be the fastest racer in the world. Would we recognize The Karver as an icon of downhill if he’d spent his formative years building jumps rather than finding new ways to inflict terror on rock gardens? This raises an obvious question in any viewer's mind - why is Kovarik in a movie about trail building?

Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern
Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern

bigquotes I've been coming to Whistler since 2005, but it's been more of a home since marrying my wife Claire. Whistler has given a lot of people - not just riders - the opportunity to create a lifestyle, whether it be work, filming, or riding to hone their skills. It's produced a lot of talent and is helping the industry in a ton of ways. It's been the benchmark for events with Crankworx, and for building with the bike park's trails. The variety of trails right on our doorstep, the trails in and outside of the park, are some of the most hardcore trails I've ever ridden. The friends I have here and the lifestyle I can lead, have helped me do what I love a hell of a lot more.

Chris Kovarik

Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern
Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern

The Karver

Kovarik became a household name after winning the 2002 Fort William World Cup by an astonishing 14.3 seconds. In a sport where margins of victories can be smaller than the difference between rear axle ‘standards,’ this was domination on an entirely different level. Kovarik is a four-time Australian National DH Champion: 2000, ’01, ’02, and '10, and won three World Cups by age 24: Mont-Sainte-Anne in 2001; Fort William and Maribor in 2002. One wonders what could have been were it not for a catastrophic motorcycle injury. The crash shattered Kovarik’s ankle and tibia, keeping him off the bike for seven months, and erasing his 2004 season. A comeback win at the 2006 World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne was his fourth, final, and most sweetly vindictive win.

Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern
Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern


Kovarik, 37, is soft spoken, seemingly at odds with his heavy metal and drifting persona. He lives in Whistler during the summer, coaching and racing with his wife, fellow Intense team pro racer Claire Buchar. The riding you see in Kovarik's Summer of Summit videos is nothing like a race run for him. Gone are the flashy drifts and doubles; he keeps his body centred on the bike - so strong as to be virtually motionless - there is no wasted movement, he's the antithesis to Sam Blenkinsop's wild style. He races like he coaches, with an emphasis on teaching his pupils to find the straightest and fastest line down the mountain. Kovarik’s mentorship has influenced Whip Off World Champion Finn Iles, his brother Jack, and 12 year old phenom Seth Sherlock, possibly Canada's next great racers.

Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern
Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern

Basic Instinct

The stereotypical view of Whistler as a paradise of endless perfectly sculpted jumps and corners is only partially true, it also has some of the roughest, fastest, and most technical trails in the world. It really is the perfect training ground for any rider at any skill level. For Builder I wanted to show how the Whistler Trail Crew operates, and to hopefully take you inside Kovarik’s head during a race run. What separates the fastest riders in the world from all the rest? Endless repetition of bike handling skills and an ability to ignore the basic instinct of self-preservation.

Buy Builder - iTunes - Google Play - Vimeo on Demand - XBox Video - Amazon Video
Pre-order your copy of Builder on DVD/Blu Ray here.

Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern
Images from Chris Kovarik s Builder section by Baxter Redfern

Builder World Tour
World Premiere - Monterey, California, USA - April 17
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - April 23rd
Corvallis, Oregon, USA - April 25th
Mt. Buller, Australia - April 25th
Victoria, BC, Canada - May 6th
Sooke, BC, Canada - May 8th
MSS Bike Park, Quebec, Canada - May 8th
Prince George BC, Canada - May 9th
Vancouver BC, Canada - May 15th
Kaupanger, Norway - May 15th
Kendal, Cumbria, Uk - May 15th
Whistler BC, Canada - May 16th
Mission BC, Canada - May 16th
Squamish BC, Canada - May 17th
Boulder, CO, USA - May 18th
Quadra Island, BC, Canada - May 22nd
Merritt, BC, Canada - May 22nd
Coleman, AB, Canada - May 22nd
Extreme Zone Cycles, Santiago, Chile - May 22nd
Banbridge, Northern Ireland - July 2nd
Cordoba, Argentina - May 22nd
Moscow, Russia - May 22nd
Krakow, Poland - May 22nd
Angelfire Bike Park NM, USA - May 24th
Campbell River, BC, Canada - May 26th
Novato, California, USA - May 29th
Valemount, BC, Canada - May 29th
Rossland, BC, Canada - May 30th
Bristol, England - June 4th
Hood River OR, USA - June 4th
Bracknell, England - June 8th
Revelstoke, BC, Canada - June 11th
Bellingham, WA, USA - June 11th
Penticton, BC, Canada - June 19th
St Louis, MO, USA - June 24th
Koblenz, Germany - June 24th
Silverstar Mountain Resort - June 27th
Glasgow, Scotland - June 27th
Stowe, VT, USA - June 27th
Juneau, AK, USA - June 30
Innsbruck, Austria - July 7th
Canmore, AB, Canada - July 8th
Crankworx Les 2 Alpes, France - July 11th
Monthey, Switzerland - July 11th
Taichung City, Taiwan - July 25th
Tucson, AZ, USA - July 29th

Please contact rose@pinkbike.com if you are interested in hosting a screening

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MENTIONS @pinkbike @trailforks @scottsecco @Hayescomponents @intensecyclesusa @KNOLLYBIKES @FiveTen @Maxxis @Contour @SRSuntour @iXSsports @mountainequipmentcoop @Margus @parisgore @bhawley @RedfernMedia @cmac @BangBangTheMovie @claw @EeehhZink @stephen @thomaswalker @mattmacduff


  • + 128
 i met him at a race here in aus, was my first nationals that i flew out to, was in a mad rush to get up the hill and get practice in before timed practice started otherwise i wouldn't have been aloud to race. he noticed were were in a rush to get my bike together, so stepped in and helped me build it whilst i got my gear on, and then gave us directions for the quickest way to the top of the hill,. will always remember that!
can now say ive had kovarik build my bike haha, oh and he pumped my tires up too :')
  • + 2
  • - 15
flag syncro (May 12, 2015 at 17:45) (Below Threshold)
 Kovarik's dog bit my son, he lucky to be alive...( the dog).
  • + 3
 Anyone ever seen Chris 3 hop an intense m6?
Now you have...
  • + 1
 First of all....I kinda dislike when they just regurgitate main posts on the site. Especially failed ones. But buyer pays...so whatever. Last comments were in May...it's f*ckin October.
My drive to comment was about dogs....I have big aggro dogs..I leave them home. I've also ran into a situation where a "Pro" mtb athletes dog was with them in public and not just nips, but BIT my Daughter...hard. I stayed calm and we left...I regret it. I should have lost my shit 100% and held everyone complicit 100% accountable.
  • + 38
 I met him in Hafjell. As I was starting to roll down towards the Boulder trail I saw him getting off the lift, putting his goggles on. No more than 2 minutes later I heard someone hauling brakes behind me and as I shied away to the outside to let through whoever it was (as it sounded as someone really on it) I recognized his glowy kit and surfing shorts passing on the inside of the corner. I could observe him for 4 more turns, that is less than 15 seconds. That sound of his tyres slicing the dirt...
  • + 27
 Waki, sounds like 15 seconds of your life that you will forever remember...
  • + 81
 Late at night and alone... With a box of tissues...
  • + 6
 I followed him down A-line 2 years ago. I use the term follow lightly though, as he smoked me in about 20 seconds, he turned the crank once and pumped the rest while throwing whips, but was completely gone from sight within those first 3-4 jumps....
  • + 1
 WAKI- How hard was it on your ride down or did you wait at least 10 minutes before dropping in? Wink
  • + 22
 It didn't really hit me hard, I am pretty realistic about my skills and accepted my suckness long time ago. I take it, at least from Kovarik or one of those guys Big Grin Later on that day I couldn't keep up with Nigel Page either. But if I met Jclnv, Protour or Deeeight... FIRE!
  • + 3
 Was just at Port Angelas and during practice i pulled over to check a line,seriously heard rumbling and around the corner came Kovarik. It seriously sounded like he was ripping the ground out by the hair.
  • + 7
 WAKI- I was asking if you had a boner or not, haha.
  • + 28
 Seems like a top guy. Anyone who puts back that much into whatever they are passionate about deservers respect. That last pic makes me sad...I wonder how many riders (pros included) who use tear offs will walk back up the track to pick them up?
  • + 6
 Every day at a bikepark I pick a few up myself and stuff them in a pocket. Leave the place cleaner than you found it...
  • + 0
 Aren't they biodegradable nowadays?
  • + 1
 Biodegradable plastic still takes years to decompose. I've seen the evidence first hand with biodegradable plastic bags not breaking down on compost heaps.
  • + 15
 CAN WE HAVE A VIDEO OF HIS RUN IN 2002 ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????,
  • + 13
 I spent a night getting trashed with Chris and Claire at a friends place a few years ago.

The beer & captain Morgans was flowing - and I said "lovely to finally meet you Chris" (imagine squeaky teen voice from southpark)

His response was along the lines of "If you ever say "lovely" to me again I'll destroy you - but thanks, nice to meet you too"

Many laughs were had - Rad Guy. 10/10 would drink with again.
  • + 14
 No berms were harmed, abused or destroyed during the making of this article
  • + 12
 No, I'm pretty sure they were!
  • + 1
 Way to work against a disclaimer and shred in peace.
  • + 13
 Can't wait for the movie!
  • + 3
 I remember seeing him in sol vista. 20 people watching the rock garden section during the pro race. Many riders had come by and then we all hear this rumbling coming like a freight train. We all jumped back at least 5 feet as karver blast in to sight, and hucks the whole rock garden. Mind blowing speed. To bad he pinch flated when he landed. Haha Bikes are not strong enough for that guy.
  • + 8
  • + 2
 wait for it... ary
  • + 1
 Yeah, pump it, barney
  • + 7
 you will never see him with SPD's or gloves on
  • + 3
 Funny how little his body position changes in all these pictures, his form is totally locked in. And the bright goggle frames against the dark helmet make him look even more imposing.
  • + 2
 totally, I noticed the same thing. I mean, the photog is editing to get the best shots but I bet Kovarik always looks like that. the photo of him coming down that ravine is like a clinic. attack position, feet planted, head up. Love watching this guy tear s*** up.
  • + 5
 "Endless repetition of bike handling skills and an ability to ignore the basic instinct of self-preservation." Awesome!
  • + 0
 when he came to Brazil world cup 2006 he was drinking a bottle of vodka in the night before the race. in training he was looking like a trash in the pits... very diferent aproach from Nicolas Vouillos...did some 50 DH races in Brazil and never whent to the nightclub before the race, was a focused racer... he is a legend but I was disapointed with his drunk style...
  • + 2
 Did a skill clinic with him last year in whistler.. Really nice guy and a amazing rider. The lines he sees to will blow your mind.
  • + 2
 yea that was a good day even though I had trouble keeping up with ya all
  • + 1
 saw him with a shovel in Morzine a few years a go. building a new secret trail .... he build greate trails. and he is a great person.
  • + 2
 This film suddenly became even more greatly anticipated than it already was...
  • + 2
 Wow sick shots! I can't wait for the full movie
  • + 2
 Good to see him Karving new lines
  • + 0
 You hot to see him Kovaring lines?
  • + 0
 *got to...
  • + 2
 jesus! cant wait for this movie!
  • + 1
 Awesome guy did a 3 hour coaching session with him last September while I was over in whistler.
  • + 2
 man, i wish I'd met Chris Kovarik. *puts bike in the bin*
  • + 1
 I remember him in NWD doing nose wheelies like a champ down the street in his fox kit
  • + 2
 why is there no east coast movie premeres
  • + 2
 We'd love to have some man! Why don't you organize one? Email: rose@pinkbike.com if you have a venue.
  • + 1
 Ha anybpdy seen this movie yet?
  • + 1
 No ontario date. Hmm.
  • + 0
 5.10 flats and Lime Green, my personal favorite.
  • + 0
 nice juan
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