Obituary: Heckler's Rock (2009–2016)

Aug 1, 2017 at 9:16
by Official Crankworx  

Obituary Heckler s Rock 2009 - 2016

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.

Obituary Heckler s Rock 2009 - 2016

"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.

Tracey Hannah during the Canadian Open DH presented by iXS in Whislter British Columbia Photo by clint trahan crankworx

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.

Casey Brown during the Canadian Open DH presented by iXS in Whislter British Columbia Photo by clint trahan crankworx

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…

Obituary Heckler s Rock 2009 - 2016

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...

Obituary Heckler s Rock 2009 - 2016

it's lack of colourful attire...

Obituary Heckler s Rock 2009 - 2016

And, of course… Brett Tippie.

Obituary Heckler s Rock 2009 - 2016

Obituary Heckler s Rock 2009 - 2016

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.


MENTIONS: @officialcrankworx
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117 Comments

  • + 74
 Heckler's was nothing but good supportive enthusiasm, no matter age, gender, etc. All comer's were welcome and while lots of beer was involved, no one was ever derogatory to others. I remember two years ago, hiking up with my 10 year old son who wanted to see Heckler's in real life. We stood across from the rock and within minutes, "no shirts, no shirts, no shirts" chant started going off and my kid was asked to cross into the group. He took his shirt off, and the rock went insane. He was part of the family. No attitude, just inclusive good times. RIP.
  • + 8
 what a legend!!!
  • + 141
 The last year, cops had to be called, beer and stones where being thrown at riders and people on the chair, the party was often in the way of riders, and it generally was becoming unsafe for the riders. Hecklers rock went down hill fast becoming nothing but drunk idiots. Lots of people who had been on the rock for many years just walked away disgusted. ... To bad as it was a good atmosphere for many years and lots of fun.. . Crankworks and Whistler Blackcomb made the right call to shut it down in my mind.
  • + 45
 It was like that, up until last year. Some assholes took it too far - a streaker climbed the lift tower and was arrested, 3 or 4 teenagers were throwing cans and rocks at the lift, people were getting pushed through the tape into the course. The race was stopped multiple times as a result, and eventually everyone was told to leave under threat of trespass. People who had no interest in the race were there just to riot, and ruined it.
  • + 81
 Last year was an utter disgrace, thanks to a few idiots who were akin to the people who go to peaceful protests to incite riots. Riders were wearing helmets up for fear of getting pelted with FULL, yes full, cans of beer and rocks. Paying customers to the bike park were being soaked with beer and empty cans and berated with young children on the lift. It was the epitome of what not to do when a large, licensed, corporation and venue is already looking the other way when it comes to open containers and copious amounts of booze. Not to mention the disaster that was left of trash, empty cans, bottles and signs.
  • + 11
 Not disagreeing that it went the wrong way last year. Too bad. We were out of town for Crankworx, but heard the stories. I'll just remember how cool it used to be and agree that CW/WB made the right call.
  • + 17
 It was really pathetic last year and it's thanks to those idiots that ruined it for all. I was a marshall there during Crankworx and there were people there throwing FULL beers cans and batteries at people on the lift. Who the F does that? One of the projectiles hit a child on the lift. RIP heckler's rock.

I think they should reopen it, but for paid patrons only that way there is some type of limited crowd control.
  • + 2
 @whitehonky: Was he on your shoulders for a bit? I was there two years ago and I remember the rock absolutely going beserk for him. Was really cool to see
  • + 12
 @mickmart: You should have to pass a test to get on the rock by naming a bunch of famous WCDH racers.

I wish the resort/police had been able to identify the a*sholes causing problems and issue them lifetime bans, and/or a complimentary bus ride to YVR and rescinded Canadian work visa.
  • - 7
flag mikealive (Aug 1, 2017 at 12:41) (Below Threshold)
 Did nobody watch the video? I agree, it looks like things went waaaay overboard last year, but it is pretty clear that it was *because* they knew it was going to be the last year, not the other way around. The guy narrating the video says this multiple times "...rumor that that this will be the last year for the rock" and references Whistler's new management. So it looks like the writing was on the wall, and this crowd just went full rip because of it.
  • + 12
 got beer thrown at me last year and was chanted at with a saying that included the word c*nt... hecklers rock turned into the sketchy back alley of whistler, im stoked they shut it down because the people on it last year were absolutely f*cked hahahahaha



edit: i obviously love hecklers rock, last year was truly out of hand though and anyone who experienced it would understand
  • + 8
 @krashDH85: yup... that was likely him. Too bad those days are gone. We'll still be there this year cheering home our Canadian and BC boys and girls. The boy qualified for one of the few grom spots in the Air DH this year as well.
  • + 5
 @mikealive: could all be true but that still doesn't excuse the behaviour.
  • + 0
 @karatechris: Oh for sure, not saying it excuses it, but it does provide a reason as to why it was turned up to 11 last year.
  • + 43
 Let's be honest : it was the Aussies
  • + 9
 @Ride12: That's a phrase I heard a lot when I lived in Canada!
  • + 1
 What part of "good supportive enthusiasm" was the part where innocent chairlift riders were injured because people were throwing full beer cans?
  • + 3
 I never took part in the party, but it wasn't a fun section of the course to race.
  • + 55
 life lesson - never be THAT GUY at the party. in this case, the party was crankworx and THAT GUY was australians who work at the resort
  • + 22
 As an Australian living in Van I wholeheartedly agree....
  • + 26
 What the Heck!?
  • + 1
 This has rocked my world Frown *



*However, getting a beer bottle launch at me while cruising over last year makes me believe this is the correct decision.
  • + 17
 As an attendee from 2009 to 2016, last year was a out of control. The first few years were pretty light hearted with the majority of people of the rock actual riders that rode there. Last year there were no bikes, the crowd had shifted from riders to people not giving a shit about the race and just getting as fucked up as possible. That's fine, but the second the first object got thrown it should have stopped there. The bike crowd policed stuff like that and the original 'organisers' like Ryno would bring garbage bags and clean up without a trace. Since those guys have gone all respect went out the window because the majority won't be there the next year to care if it got canceled. Throwing cans at random guests on the lift was a guaranteed way to get things shut down. That's why we can't have nice things here...
  • + 4
 You can even see in the pictures from years past, most people are wearing bike shoes/shorts/knee pads. Last year, tons of random non-bikers. Too bad there couldn't be self policing to not allow non-bikers up somehow.
  • + 4
 The more something gets "mainstream", the worse it will get. Works with everything including the internet...
  • + 21
 .005% women
  • + 4
 And a good thing too! It was only a matter of time before the fairer sex got assaulted up there, if they hadn't already.
  • + 10
 Yeah, I chuckled at "It was multicultural and inclusive like that"
  • + 3
 @pdxkid: Not sure why you are getting downvoted as you are 100% correct. it was only matter of time before someone got assaulted with so many drunken idiots.
  • + 11
 I didn't realize a load of white dudes from Surrey and Australia counted as multicultural. Maybe I will bother to take the 30 minute drive up the road one day to check out this cultural paradise!
  • + 1
 seriously impressed if you took the time to do the counting! ;-)
  • + 0
 @wallheater: Surrey??? Where are you getting that from?
  • + 1
 Lol there is no white dudes in surrey
  • + 12
 Morons that don't ride ruined it This is why most us locals avoid crankworks
  • + 8
 too bad, never did hear of any fights ever tho, which is pretty impressive considering the amount of ppl and beer there last year.
  • + 11
 well, I lived in Canada for almost two years and I've never seen a fight at all. Chill people you are
  • + 15
 @ismasan: I fought a guy once. He won. I left with a bleeding nose, bleeding ears, and two blacks eyes, one of which swelled shut for 3 days. But before my eye had even opened up again, we said sorry and became friends. 9 years strong now lol
  • + 3
 @ismasan: gotta go to the right spots man (downtown edmonton lol)
  • + 2
 @jaycubzz: that's where you get shot. There's a difference.
  • + 2
 @juicebanger: That's normal in hockey Wink
  • + 1
 @rrolly: It wasn't during a game, but it did stem from a Leafs vs Sens argument plus a few wobbly pops
  • + 5
 I have been on the rock 3 times and it was always fun, top's off on the rock! One year I walked in on my room mate trying to shave his back with a ladies razor taped to the end of my Park Pedal Wrench, handsome sight to behold Smile
  • + 9
 We just can't have nice things...
  • + 3
 I was on hecklers rock every year the course went that way. I took off my shirt the first time i was there because it was hot & i was wearing my regular riding gear. It was really fun watching the pros ride that section along with the ama's, regular park riders & aome ama racers that i saw casing bits earlier in the day. The fun and focus of that viewpoint was lost, and know i'll find a great spot on the course this year.
  • + 5
 I was on a lift once with a guy who claimed he had graffitied the heckle fest on the rock, bet theres a few joeys who claim that!
  • + 7
 Whomever really made their mark, isn't stupid enough to brag about it....
  • + 0
 @FTOD: Never break the code.
  • + 0
 @endlessblockades: first rule of fight club.....
  • + 5
 I retouched it for 2013 and promptly fell off the rock wrapped in my pirate cape. We've all seen the picture. I certainly wasn't responsible for the initial painting though.
  • + 2
 Is anyone surprised by this? After last year's antics and Whistler's new owner, the writing was on the wall... er...rock. It was a really cool part of mountain biking history. If a grandstand of sorts can make it into the hall of fame, this would be my nomination.
  • + 1
 This is the way of a lot of cool things. Eventually dumb people come and phuck it up!

Even the Whip Off's aren't as cool anymore now that they've gone "official". LOL How long before you can no longer stand right next to the course, there will be security cruising on the look out for brews (this year for sure), and they turn the music down because they are worried about peoples hearing?
  • + 6
 @BDKR: Yeah that's the problem though isn't it Organisers/venues have tried to turn a blind eye so people can have fun, then some utterly selfish pr!cks take it too far and ruin it for everyone. It's sh!t because it then becomes a liability and litigious issue for venues/organisers and all of a sudden you get rules and security so they have demonstrated they have done their bit to create a 'safe environment' when they inevitably get sued.
  • + 8
 Not surprised at all. People throwing rocks/cans at chairlifts causing whistler to shut down the damn lift during the race can go f*ck themselves, after seeing that I was hoping they'd shut this shit down. It went from being "Holy shit mountain biking is so renegade/cool look at this weird tradition they have, badass!" to "yeah those f*cking kids being f*ckfaces again"
  • + 1
 @anchoricex: couldn't have said it any better!!!
  • + 1
 This echo's of the same thing that happened to Competition Hill in Glamis in the late 90's early 2000's. Comp Hill was easy to get to considering the rest of fun hills in Glamis. Night time drag racing was a blast until hoards of people that had no off-road equipment came out to cause mayhem. BLM shut it down at night during big weekends due to the chaos and it has not been the same since. Burning cars, stabbings and broken glass everywhere. Although fun before it got out of hand, it needed to be squashed. This is why we can't have nice things.
  • + 2
 Aw. Nothing like herd mentality, misogynistic slurs, rape culture, sexual harassment, verbal abuse and reckless disregard for the safety of racers to give ya the warm and fuzzies. RIP Heckler's.
  • + 4
 1:04 Whoever is holding the bottle of Buckfast is definitely havin the craic!
  • + 1
 In addition to "shirts off on the rock" I have found memories of the "Suck his D*ck! Suck His D*ck! chat quickly being corrected to "Family fun! Family Fun! Family Fun!" if kids were on the lift over head. It did get out of control last year. no doubt.
  • + 4
 All that story and no mention of why it's gone????
  • + 6
 ...watch the video that was linked

for the lazy: www.youtube.com/watch?v=efYZGWkq52M
  • + 3
 Someone needs to link that photo of the guy falling off the rock, toward the camera. Great shot.
  • + 2
 This is very sad news that the Rock is no more. The question is now where the hecklers will move to this year. Should be interesting.
  • + 2
 You cannot kill a movement. That event is Christmas to me. Who said they could stop hecklefest? #heckletillyoudie
  • + 2
 The amount of beer spilled on that rock... must be uninhabitable ground for years to come!
  • + 16
 It's mostly bud light, water is good for vegetation.
  • + 1
 Beer and other body-fluids......
  • + 3
 This is why we can't have nice things. Thanks a lot, Aussies.
  • + 3
 As someone who was there last year (and mind you I am Australian..) - I refute all these comments and claims that just because it's Whistler and it seems the easiest explanation.."let's blame those damn Aussies!"

At least from where I was standing (topless on Hecklers), it was a drunk bunch of kiwis directly next to me who began to increase the drunken antics and finding anything they could to throw at people on the chair. They were literally raiding peoples bag and boxes of empty cans to use as projectiles! And from that point the mob mentality turned up a notch and things went from there. But as someone has said on here already, i think it was always going to develop and get to this point as more non-bikers saw it as another opportunity to get drunk and be rowdy to the detriment of all of the attendees that saw Hecklers for what it really was!
  • + 2
 I am happy to say that at least I experienced it a couple of times before it's passing.
  • + 1
 Glad to say I was there for Crankworx 2015. Completely nut house and excellent vibe. Even shared a beer with Tippee RIP Heckler's Rock
  • + 5
 I highly doubt that Tippie shared a beer with you, he's sober.
  • - 3
 @pdxkid: 100% in the know with that. So let me clarify for the sticklers out there, he pours/filled the funnel with me. My apologies for all the people I offended with that. I know PB'ers are a very sensitive bunch.
  • + 3
 @bman33: you sound like the most offended/sensitive person in the comments so far
  • + 1
 @jaycubzz: Yep...totally. I digress ..
  • + 2
 Down-voted for sharing your story of good times? Up-vote from me for being able to remember the good times and to not dwell on the negative.
  • + 3
 It was starting to look like fans of a soccer game....
  • + 1
 Sounds like a place Buffalo Bills fans would have really loved. Too bad it's gone.
  • + 0
 Hmm weird, a bunch of drunks in Whistler couldn't keep their shit together. This seems like the only logical end to a good thing.
  • + 0
 Put a bar on the rock. Big chain link fence. So i can get drunk and throw bottles at the racers. A big tall chain link fence. Then ill blame it all on the ozzies.
  • - 1
 Yeah, and a tunnel to keep their drunk asses of the other lines to and from the bar.
  • + 1
 Kind of reminds me of what happened with the hornby bike festival years ago --- a few drunk idiots ruined the vibe for all
  • + 2
 SadFrown anyone know where the course will run this year then?
  • + 2
 Same place. The rock will have security and people will be turned around and sent on their way as far as I know.
  • + 1
 @fraserbritton: interesting. I had thought they might put it down Upper Whistler DH. I do hope they keep the course as is, great for real spectators.
  • + 1
 Funniest, daftiest shit. Love it
  • + 0
 Sweet, sad, hilarious, ridiculous, idiotic, funny, embarrassing vid to watch.


RIP. Thanks for that vid Big Grin
  • + 2
 Tippie what a machine!
  • + 0
 You can't stop the party, it will just move to the next rock.
  • + 15
 Trust me, the RCMP and Vail Resorts can indeed stop the party...
  • - 6
flag adrennan (Aug 1, 2017 at 14:04) (Below Threshold)
 this is why you dont let vail buy you. they will remove fun.
  • + 4
 @adrennan: I doubt the old owners would have let it go on either.
  • + 1
 @sino428: just looking at my data set of keystone and breck where fun police roam the mountain.
  • - 1
 Loved the rock to death, they did.
  • - 1
 You may take the rock, but you can't take the heckler.
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