In Loving Memory of one Iconic Place to Cheer and Jeer.
August 2009–August 2016, Whistler, British Columbia
Hecklers’ Rock, the supreme spot to congregate for the Canadian Open Downhill presented by IXS
, was born from a few racers' desire to watch how the pros cleaned a flying leap-to-rock-roll feature, which had become their nemesis.
Survived by founding father, Ryan Newton, and a menagerie of Australian racing compatriots, its creators knew the pro racers’ “quirks and quips" and set forth to level a little well-timed trash talk to throw them off their game.
"Hecklers' Rock" quickly became a lightning rod for mountain biking fandom, owning its space in gravity racing history as the unparalleled convergence of downhill superfans and one critical, if obscenely difficult, race feature.
To this day, no other feature in the world draws this volume of fans, in numbers or decibels.
Those who made the pilgrimage went to cheer.
They went to jeer.
And most of all, they went to see the most talented athletes in the world vault off a root-gnarled launch to touched down—25 feet later—into a right-hand turn, and fire straight down the most vertical of rock faces.
The racers battled, but this natural amphitheater's party-hungry amphibians took their victims, as a moment's weakness let the roar slither in, and many a grip loosens from the bars.
Hecklers' was a stickler for rules: “No shirts on the rock.”
It was remarkably talented at remaining stony in the face of uproarious hilarity.
It survived many a "wardrobe malfunction" and a naked gondola tower appearance, not to mention…
The arrival of dinosaur-sized Viking horns…
And the endless cacophony of hundreds, if not thousands, of Vuvuzelas.
It was multicultural and inclusive like that.
The first signs it had become sick hit the airwaves a few years before its demise. Access and a go-big-or-go-home attitude prove the downfall of many of history's greats and so it was for Hecklers. The very largesse of its abnormally enthusiastic community would eventually prove cancer.
Yet in the final Hecklers' Rock video
, it was nonetheless shocking.
Hecklers will forever be remembered for its endless, youthful revelry...
it's colourful attire...
it's lack of colourful attire...
And, of course… Brett Tippie.
In lieu of flowers—or beers on the hill—please raise a glass to the riders, professional and amateur, who make the Canadian Open Downhill presented by IXS memorable each and every year.
Hecklers may be gone, but it will never be forgotten, and its spirit will live on in the restless tires and truly raucous descents of those talented athletes who dare take on the course which sets the records for some of the best.
Rest In Peace Hecklers' Rock. While gone, you will never be forgotten.