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5 Things We Learned at Crankworx Whistler 2022

Aug 16, 2022 at 23:27
by Alicia Leggett  
Tim Bringer on the hip.

We've spent the last week and a half wandering the Whistler village, riding the bike park, watching some mindblowing riding, and so much more. Here are a few of our takeaways from a wild week in British Columbia.

1. Freeride ain't dead

We saw crashes, we saw insane trick combos, we saw the highs and lows of the sport this weekend, but the defining moment of this year's Joyride was Tomas Lemoine's big send. Yep, out of all the absurdly technical moves, the one we'll remember is a big old huck.

While most riders approached the final feature as a step-on-step-off, airing up and maybe throwing a barspin before tricking the flat drop off, Lemoine charged in and took off from what was barely a lip, cleared the first case opportunity at the end of the drop and kept soaring over it all to the landing. That type of chaotic, send-it, rockstar energy is what created freeride and what we hope to keep seeing in the future.

Tomas Lemoine on going all in I can t believe I had the courage to do it in the second run because I was almost going to be happy with second. But Joyride doesn t happen every week you know I said you re here you have a second chance try your best we ll see what happens
Going biiiiig.

2. Technical difficulty still wins Joyride

Technical wizard Emil Johansson took his eighth consecutive win at a Crankworx slopestyle event, to no one's surprise. The Swede manages to pack more tricks into his combos than anyone else, and the technical difficulty of what he lays out on the course is unmatchable by his competitors. The difficulty of Johansson's tricks is so hard to comprehend that some feel he's overscored. For us mere mortals, an ultra-technical double downside tailwhip 360 or triple truckdriver or big invert 540 at some point all start to just look like a bunch of crazy spins that don't look all that much different from the other, less difficult combos we saw from the rest of the field. That doesn't undermine his run by any means, and I personally think he hands-down deserved the win. We can't award a win based on vibes and cajones alone, no matter how great the big huck energy.

Emil with a Nac out of the sphere.
That nac out of the dish was so stylish.

3. Australia dominated the Canadian Open DH

We've all heard the jokes about Whistralia given the high number of Aussies living in Whistler, but this time it's about the podium. Five of the six podium finishers in the pro men's and women's fields at the Canadian Open DH were from Australia. In the men's, Troy Brosnan took the top honors, followed by Peter Knott and Kye A'Hern. The next three finishers - 4th, 5th, and 6th place - were all Canadians, but Australian Aaron Gungl took 7th. In the top 10, there was representation from five Canadians, four Australians, and one New Zealander.

We saw a similar situation in the women's race. Tracey Hannah topped the podium, followed closely by Sian A'Hern (a good day for the A'Herns), and Louise Ferguson, a Scot living in New Zealand, took third. Of the 10 riders on the start list, four were from Australia, three were Canadian, and we saw one each from Chile, Argentina, and Great Britain.

Sian A Hern making sure to soak her brother Kye with champagne moments before Kye returned the favor.
A largely Australian affair.

4. Women's tricks are at an all-time high

There was one moment that hit me especially hard as I watched the women's Speed & Style play on the big screen in the Whistler village: Harriet Burbidge-Smith and Alma Wiggberg were matched up in the round of eight riders, and as both aired off the first big jump on the course, Haz backflipped as Alma threw a 360. Just last year, Robin Goomes put down the first-ever backflip in Crankworx women's competition. This year, at least half the riders in that round of eight had backflips on lock, many able to incorporate other tricks into their flip combos. Harriet's backflip in that run wasn't even enough for her to advance to the next round. Despite being at the sharp end of women's freeride progression, the level is just that high. It's incredible.

Goomes with a big backflip nac
Robin Goomes with the flip nac.

5. Jackson Goldstone can throw down outside of the race tape, too

We've become accustomed to seeing Jackson Goldstone on top of the World Cup juniors podium, but it's sometimes easy to forget how well-rounded a rider the young Canadian is. His 5th place finish in Speed & Style was plenty respectable in that particular men's field, and we saw him throw down some insane style in the Whip-Off to take the win - actually the third Whip-Off victory of his career - ahead of a stacked category of Crankworx podium veterans.

Jackson asserting his dominance
Jackson for the win.

Other tidbits:
• Tim Bringer took home 2nd place at his first-ever Joyride (though not his first Crankworx), so we expect to see lots more from him in the future.
• Adding the satellite dish feature to the Joyride course allowed riders to add in a bit of flair that they normally wouldn't try to pack into a slope run - Emil Johansson with the nac-nac, for example. I'd like to see more unique features like that one on these courses.
• The new pump track format was a bit odd, favoring the riders who could power through the straightaway and disadvantaging the riders who are especially strong in the corners. The four-rider head-to-head thing was... interesting. Exciting and efficient, I guess? The jury is out on whether that change makes sense, and I'm curious to see what Joyride does with that in the future.

Author Info:
alicialeggett avatar

Member since Jun 19, 2015
745 articles

  • 140 4
 What I learned: Women need a slopestyle competition, not just speed and style. I was very impressed by the tricks and style from the ladies in speed in style, but they need an event to showcase those tricks where they aren't having to hit jumps at sketchy speeds. A true slopestyle format would allow the women to show us their best tricks in a fluid manner rather than having to try and throw their biggest tricks in unpredictable racing conditions.
  • 103 28
 Speed and style is such a stupid contest format.
  • 11 5
 @BobbyHillbomb: completely agree on this, it is the bottom feeder of Crankworx
  • 14 0
 Agreed. The right thing to do would be to have a Women's Slopestyle and we can all sit back and watch the quality of competition skyrocket from year to year.

At very least bring back the Best Trick comp, that's all people care about on the S&S anyways.
  • 2 0
 on the same course?
  • 6 0
 @kmoter: yes. I think we've seen that enough of the girls can now confidently hit an entire gold course. It won't be like the last time years ago where it was a contest of who makes it the farthest down the course and is the least scary looking.
  • 3 0
 @kmoter: Judging by what's going on with Rampage qualifications and events like Elevation, I'd guess yes. You'd obviously want input from the competitors, but I doubt the course would need to be modified much beyond a few alternate ramps, if at all.
  • 3 0
 @safety: making it down the course is one thing but the event should also be attractive to watch. Is it possible to session the course outside the competition? Maybe Crankworx could use its course(s) to make a test event for female athletes? I would love to see women throwing down!
  • 6 2
 Maybe instead of speed and style they should do SPEED and style, where every competitor has to take speed so they are off their tits on the drug before they they then throw down their most inebriated run they can. (This is sarcasm people. Probably don't actually do this. But if you do, video that shit.)
  • 1 0
  • 3 0
 @bigtim: I'd watch that. All events should have a category for unlimited substances
  • 87 0
 I learned that if you are at the event watching Joyride and the start of the event is delayed an hour you need to bring enough beer to cover the delay. Critical error on my part that will never happen again.
  • 5 3
 What's your drink of choice?
  • 43 2
 @robokfc: What is this a dating app?
  • 27 0
 Whatever is cheap and cold. No beer snob here.
  • 7 1
"What's your drink of choice?"


He just said so.
  • 57 0
 The Jury has just returned on the case of the missing pump track - Straightaway 4-cross is fine and welcomed, but don't call it pump track. Host it as a different event under a different title, or add in some turns!
  • 2 1
  • 66 0
 Or just bring back 4X
  • 6 0
 @brandaneisma: ALSO THIS
  • 6 0
 I think it was just lame. Bring back the normal pump track.
  • 11 0
 @brandaneisma: 4X for the win.
Why isn’t it more popular, should make for great tv, and on-site viewing.
I want it back
Always interesting bikes in 4X
  • 2 0
 Straight rhythm was redbulls moto thing right?
This sure turned into a pretty odd kids event. Basically a pedalled drag race.
  • 6 0
 @brandaneisma: 4x is by far the best format for TV viewership. Just sayin......
  • 1 1
 Or use the full BMX track. 8 wide, no chain, elbows out. Big corners, hi-lows, jumps, manuals....puking at the finish.
  • 1 0
 @juanny: pretty impressive if they were able to pedal, considering they were all chainless
  • 1 0
 @ParkerLikesToBike: kids weren't chain less.
  • 1 1
 @juanny: sorry man, I'm diabetic and missed the kids part
  • 48 7
 #6 - The slopestyle judging format is holding the sport back. There's no reward for innovation, creativity, or courage if it's not executed flawlessly. I've been to every Whistler Joyride but one since 2004 and the contests before that, and this was probably the least compelling. The riding was exceptional, but EVERY OTHER YEAR (except maybe one of Semnuk's victories) the event has pushed the sport forward. If it weren't for Lemoine, this year's event would have just been a repeat of any other slopestyle stop. Judging needs to encourage riders to push what's possible on a bike, even if it means they slip a pedal or toboggan the next jump. I already mostly forget what Emil did in his winning run, but I can describe in great detail what it was like to see Berrecloth land the firtst 360 off a drop, Paul B pulling a backflip AND a tailwhip in one jump, Timo starting what Thomas finished, or Nicholai throwing HUGE lawn darts.
  • 19 0
 Is it just that the limits have been pushed so far already that the only difference left are minutiae on already familiar moves?

Someone doing the first 360 off a drop is going to be more mind blowing than someone doing three barspins instead of two.

I don’t know enough about it. Genuinely interested to know what the next big thing could be.
  • 12 0
 @Mooweeman: I would love to see it become more like a mega-sized mix of jumps and "street" style skatepark. Multiple line options with features that can be ridden in multiple ways. I think the dish was a good start. I would like to see more "boxes" that can be ridden however you want (trick up-land in a manual- trick out, or 180 up-fakie across- half cab down kind of stuff). A quarter pipe with a flat deck on top for deck tricks would be cool too.

All the current slopestyle contests have the same features, and as @safety (sory for the downvote, meant to upvote) said, there needs to be more flexibility with actually trying "unique" stuff without being penalized for slipping a pedal. The riders have to pour so much time into just doing the same tricks on repeat to make sure they are perfect that the individual riding styles kind of get lost. It would be cool to see it become about who actually has the best bike handling skills... I still think Emil would win though haha!
  • 16 1
 I think there should be a greater emphasis on variety of tricks. Specifically, points should withheld for repeat tricks, extra points for larger variety of tricks. Emil's run was insane but I don't think first place should go to a run without a single backflip, frontflip, 720, cashroll, superman seatgrab or big extension trick, etc.
  • 8 0
 That messere big air quarter pipe should always be there... The bigger/taller more points...
  • 1 0
 @Mooweeman: I thought the same thing about skateboarding in the 90s, that it had peaked and there was nowhere to go. Boy was I wrong. I don't think Slopestyle will stagnate like other judged sports unless the courses are standardized, and no spectator wants that.
  • 7 1
 @Davy-Gravy: No need to make this even more like figure skating by having prescriptive requirements for each performance.
  • 3 1
 i remember my dad explaining boxing's strange "10 point must system" -- he asked, "which guy would you rather be at the end of each round?"

Definitely would rather be the dude that made the crowd go bananas on this one.

Judged freestyle competitions always get worse. Jam format with a few different awards (voted on by the riders) seems to the be the least worst option.
  • 2 0
 @Davy-Gravy: I was thinking the same. It was a 360 fest, oppo and switch.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 @Davy-Gravy: Those tricks you just listed don't score as high as the tricks he does soooo
  • 3 0
 @Davy-Gravy: +1 for big extension tricks.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: That's a fair point!
  • 1 0
 @Rafmiller: Right, but combos of those tricks could.
  • 29 0
 We have had dogworx and truckworx, but where is Cranktwerks? Give the people what they want
  • 5 0
 That's on PH+. Sorry I mean Outside+.
  • 19 0
 Key learning: we all will miss Rob Warner and Eliot Jackson's extremely entertaining but profound DH commentaries - big time!
  • 17 1
 #7 - King and Queen of Crankworx is a cool concept that should be expanded to Prince and Princess. Those juniors are mind-blowingly good and deserve recognition.
  • 2 0
 It Was a thing until this year. Not sure why it stopped
  • 17 0
 So Goldstone whips and rips
  • 3 0
 That picture of his INSANE whip just has me dumbfounded as to how that is even possible without grabbing a rev on the throttle to get it back. Major Props kiddo!!
  • 9 1
 Hey Crankworx crew. Let’s get some grandstands going at the bottom of the slopestyle and DH race.
That will elevate the event 100x, provide an epic experience and the crowd pictures of the event will be next level.
  • 1 0
 What now?
  • 5 0
 And have Crankworx Whistler properly start with the EWS. It needs to have a better fan experience right at the get go.
  • 9 2
 It’s slopeSTYLE and not slope tricks, we don’t want to see it turn into the same thing as snowboarding.
  • 9 0
  • 3 0
 With huge wallrides for upper overtaking...
  • 8 2
 Speed and Style: Still boring.
  • 3 0
 but not as boring as the "pumptrack" this year. Also, meh it was pretty cool.
  • 1 0
 @kokofosho: and the location up there is pretty terrible too
  • 2 0
 The organizers should definitely think about 4x but maybe a more extreme version than the regular 4x tour. And Joyride can be designed to more freeride orientated although that will probably create some judging controversies. It seems like most people were ok with Emil having the winning run but obviously everyone loved the big huck.
  • 3 0
 Lemoine definitely had the move of the day, but Emil had the run of the day hands down.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: I totally agree. Emil is amazing.
  • 3 0
 @leon-forfar: 100% agree most other riders don't even come close to how technical Emil's runs are. sad that rheeder and semenuk aren't in it now to give it that extra hype.
  • 1 0
 Random question unrelated to the article. What are the bikes called that are tested as prototypes and don’t make it to production? Then are able to be sold to your average joe? Design may even be shared with another manufacturer.
  • 2 0
 I'd still consider that a prototype, maybe a "test mule" or a "pre production model"
  • 1 0
 @Gregmurray50: I forget what podcast I was listening too but they had mentioned that they are sometimes available for purchase. Have you heard of that before?
  • 2 0
 @LMo86: Orange sometimes do this. Their prototype bikes are branded as “Strange”
  • 6 0
 Go Jackson!
  • 5 0
 We need to know more about Peter Knott - make it happen pinkbike!
  • 5 0
  • 4 0
 I've learned that you don't need to do a single backflip to win a contest
  • 1 0
 backflips dont score as high as 360s
  • 1 0
 @Rafmiller: this is also true in the Grim Donut video game. Coincidence? Only @brianpark knows.
  • 4 0
 I heard Lemoine crashed in practice trying the gap?!
  • 2 0
 This was shown in the broadcast before his run.
  • 7 8
 Learned about all kinds of hate and vitriol about some lifted trucks, which was more than expected. Also there is lots of misunderstanding, judgement, and virtual signal grandstanding around the subject.. Might be the most commented article in recent memory
  • 3 2
 More things learned: Folks get really worked up over a few pictures of some lifted trucks!
  • 3 1
 Being a Canadian article did anyone else read Other TimBits at the bottom?
  • 3 1
 #6 - Jake Polito got robbed at the whip off. Norbs level robbed.
  • 1 0
 Is it worth noting Bernard Kerr won Dual Slalom on a big enduro bike? Not sure what everyone else was rocking
  • 1 0
 I learned Australians love the dry and dusty!
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