For a lot of people who attend Crankworx, Whistler's annual two-wheeled mountain bike fest, the event is about two things: mountain biking (obviously), and partying. And while there are sponsored and organized parties happening in the village bars every night of the week-long event, the pirate gong show that is Heckler's Rock is one celebration that has long made both the Crankworx management team and Whistler Bike Park nervous.
Heckler's Rock is just off the side of the Canadian Open downhill track, and its wide open location under the chairlift makes it the ideal spot for rowdy fans to congregate together and have a good time, but the 2016 ''Rock'' may have taken things too far. Public intoxication, blow-up dicks taped to sticks, and a massive number of partygoers, some of whom were launching beer cans and rocks at riders passing overhead on the chairlift led to the police making a trip up to Heckler's Rock to shut things down. As a result, it's rumored that Crankworx officials are going to re-route the Canadian Open downhill course for 2017 to bypass the controversial feature.
Is their decision justified, or are they being the fun police?
I'm of two minds when it comes to Heckler's Rock. On the one hand, I don't want to see anyone nailed in the face by a full can of beer (they should catch it before it hits them), and the Crankworx officials have good reason to be concerned about someone being injured up there, be it a drunk spectator or an innocent bystander. But while I'm not the kind of guy who'd be half-cut, half naked, and fully sunburnt while chucking things at people, the sight of a rowdy party on the side of a hill during one of the most anticipated events of the year puts a smile on my face. Sure, you could say that true race fans would be found on the side of the course cheering on competitors instead of mobbing under the chairlift and chanting 'YOU f*ckED UP,'' over and over again with a blood-alcohol level of 0.25, and you'd probably be right. But Crankworx isn't really about racing, and I'd argue that it's not even about the slopestyle competition; it's about a ton of riders together in one place to have a good time. I'm pretty sure that a few of those people that passed over Heckler's Rock on the chairlift weren't having a good time, but it looks as though most were into it just as much fun as the drunks below them. Regardless, it sounds like 2016 was the Rock's final year.
So, tell us what you think: did things go too far this year? Or would Crankworx be overreacting by shutting down Heckler's Rock?