Ski Town Events: Crankworx MTB 2013
Photos courtesy of Crankworx and The Four Seasons
Crankworx, the largest freeride mountain bike (MTB) festival in the world, comes to two of the world’s most sophisticated ski towns every summer: Les 2 Alpes, France (July 6-14, 2013) and Whistler, Canada (August 9-18, 2013).
These multi-day fests are rare opportunities to witness 1,400-plus go for-broke athletes as they roll, crash and sometimes burn on the two ski resorts’ craziest MTB courses. Still, many spectators simply show up in Les 2 Alpes and Whistler to sleep in luxury — both regions feature sumptuous, four- and five-star stays, including the Four Seasons Whistler, and the Hotel Chalet Mournier in Les 2 Alpes — then soak in the summer cool. During an event like Crankworx there are free outdoor rock concerts, impromptu parties, an artsy actionphotographers’ showdown, even a cheese rolling contest down the rough, rock-infested ski slopes.
“Crankworx has become the most popular time outside of Christmas to visit Whistler,” claims the Whistler Crankworx general manager, Darren Kinnaird. “It’s exposed more people to the area’s wide variety of mountain biking. When people around the world think of mountain biking they think Whistler.”
What to Watch:
The Whip: Take note, there are no rules to this event, and the biggest, most stylish “whip” will take home a huge cash prize. What’s a whip? In MTB World it’s a revered move inspired by motocross where the rider airs and throws the rear of the bike to one side. Apparently, getting the bike flat, sideways and dragged out earns major style points. “This is one event that is truly for anyone,” says event organizer Sven Martin. Then he adds in true hip-MTB-speak: “Well, anyone who has style.”
Fat Tire Crit: The nearest thing these ski towns have to a Running of the Bulls. That’s because crowds press themselves along the edges of a cobble-stoned circuit to watch MTBers wind enmasse through a series of sharp chicanes. No, there are no snorting bulls. But there are plenty of spills.
Where to Stay:
Whistler: Four Seasons Whistler: Hidden on Blackcomb Mountain, this Four Seasons is sufficiently removed from the noisy Crankworx action, yet within an easy walking or biking distance. Among its multi-star amenities: Three hot-spring style pools with views for Rainbow and Blackcomb mountains, and “blending sessions” at Sidecut restaurant — an opportunity work with chefs to blend some of the 16 housemade beef and steak rubs.
Les 2 Alpes: Hotel Chalet Mounier is a four-star mountain refuge dating back to the mid-1800s. It features a wellness area, a Turkish steam room and shuttles to and from the Crankworx action.
In the French Alps village of Sainte-Foy Tarentaise, a practically private ski area offers great off-piste skiing and loads of ambience.
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