PRESS RELEASE: Fox US Open of Mountain Biking
We recently announced that the Fox US Open race festival is moving to Big Bear Lake, CA this September and now we are excited to announce a brand new event, CLIF Slopestyle at Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield, NH on July 17th-21st.
As the only FMBA Gold event in the US this year, we are looking to reignite slopestyle in America. The CLIF Slopestyle will take place the week immediately following the Big White Invitational Slopestyle, hosted by Tom van Steenbergen. This gives international athletes a string of North American events and will be the final chance to accumulate points leading into Crankworx Joyride.
“I'm beyond hyped to have an FMBA Slopestyle at Highland! It’s the place I started riding mountain bikes, and I truly think it’s one of the sickest places to ride ever. Competing here is something all the riders are looking forward to. It’s gonna be rad.” – Nicholi Rogatkin
Nicholi Rogatkin with an early cash roll on the Freebird jump in 2013. Photo by Ryan Thibault
Steeped in history and holding a special place in the hearts of many slopestyle champions, Highland Mountain Bike Park has played a huge role in the development of the sport. Legends like Brandon Semenuk, Cam Zink and Aaron Chase made their mark during the iconic Claymore Challenge events, one of the original American slopestyle competitions, and today riders like Rogatkin, Rheeder, Nell, Boggs, McCaul and others regularly travel to New Hampshire to train, film or just have a relaxed session with friends.
Stacked podium with Martin Soderstrom, Brandon Semenuk and Brett Rheeder at the Claymore Challenge in 2012. Photo by Lee Trumpore
Despite the absence of slopestyle events in the United States, Highland continues to produce freestyle mountain bike athletes. The park maintains a full slopestyle course, dirt jumps and an indoor training facility, and their Ayr Academy camps give amateurs the chance to learn from real pros. David Lieb, a Highland local who has recently leapt onto the international FMBA scene, credits much of his success to the park.
“I’ve dedicated so much to this sport and I’m super excited to have the opportunity to compete at my favorite bike park in the world.” – David Lieb
David Lieb chatting with an Ayr Academy camper in the HTC at Highland Bike Park. Photo by Peter Jamison
The CLIF Slopestyle will feature FMBA Gold- and Bronze-level competition, and in the same way the Fox US Open race event gives up-and-coming athletes a shot at glory, the top Bronze athletes will advance onto the Gold-level qualifier the following day.
Kevin Sweeney flipping the infamous Freebird jump at the bottom of the Highland Slopestyle course. Photo by Dave Smutok
In addition to the main CLIF Slopestyle competition, we will hold a best whip competition on Friday night and a USO Next Gen youth downhill race on Sunday. Next Gen racing features age categories for intermediate and expert racers under 15 years old to compete on a shorter, youth-specific downhill track. Highland Mountain Bike Park will remain open for freeriding throughout the event week, so bring your bike. The fun vibe and strong local community at Highland will make the CLIF Slopestyle a guaranteed good time.
13 year-old Highland regular Anthony Lombardi styles it out on the signature Tombstone line. Photo by Dave Smutok
“We’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time and our whole team is very excited! It feels good to be able to contribute to the freeride industry and showcase what we have here for top-tier and aspiring athletes. Since the last Claymore, the scene at Highland has grown exponentially. We see many more families and youth advancing through our summer camps and lessons, and just riding and progressing here every weekend. We are looking forward to our community getting behind and experiencing an event like this.” – Dave Smutok, Highland Mountain Bike Park, VP
It takes industry support to bring an event like this to life. CLIF Bar and Fox Racing have committed to seeing a US-based slopestyle event. Additional support comes from Five Ten, GT Bicycles, Red Bull, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Horizon Hobby and MOS Gear.
Event schedule and athlete registration details will be available soon at usopen.bike