The format often goes the same way at a slopestyle final; the favorite stomps an insane first run that nobody can touch, the competition fizzles hard on second runs and all we see is a victory lap with a token trick on the last jump for the crowds. Well nope, not this time. This time we were treated to a quite the showdown, a real face-off... a battle royale if you will. It was Nicholi Rogatkin versus Brett Rheeder and the gloves were off.
Having laid down a 94.33 in run 1, it seemed Rheeder had the green light to push on to Whistler ready to fight for the triple crown and the $25,000 bounty, but Rogatkin turned out to have other ideas, like taking it for himself, and threw down one of the most downright aggressive and mind-blowingly technical runs in the history of mountain biking, to end with a cashroll tail whip.
Great, combo-rich rides from Tomas Lemoine, sheer trick madness from Szymon Godziek and dialled, technical brilliance from Emil Johansson were among the other highlights that made the freshman year at Crankworx Innsbruck truly one to remember. With every rider dropping in pulling out all the stops to impress on a well-shaped course in front of the magnificent Austrian Alps, we had one unmissable summer's day on our hands.