Joy Riding: Crankworx Whistler Slopestyle Chaos

Brandon Semenuk Claims His Fourth Crankworx Whistler Slopestyle Victory

Words by Brice Minnigh and Anthony Smith
Photos by Bruno Long, Laurence Crossman-Emms and John Gibson

After a one-day delay due to heavy rains, the 2015 Crankworx Whistler slopestyle finals went off, with the world’s best riders giving a show to several thousand rowdy fans.

By the time each rider had attempted two runs, hometown favorite Brandon Semenuk had cemented his position as the most successful Joyride competitor of all time, locking up his fourth victory of the iconic event. Meanwhile, Brett Rheeder, for whom a win would have meant a Triple Crown of Crankworx slopestyle, crashed on both of his runs. Rheeder was still awarded the overall title for Crankworx slopestyle, though he failed to claim the coveted Triple Crown.

The top three riders were:

1. Brandon Semenuk
2. Nicholi Rogatkin
3. Thomas Genon

Here are some of the highlights:

CWX15-JOYsun-01
Clouds still loomed during Sunday morning’s Joyride practice, but with sunshine in the forecast riders were looking forward to throwing down for the crowd. Photo by Bruno Long.

CWX15-JOYsun-26
Following Saturday’s heavy rains, the dirt on the course was primed and ready for Sunday’s final. Photo by Laurence Crossman-Emms.

CWX15-JOYsun-02
After Crankworx Whistler’s main event had been postponed on Saturday due to heavy rains, riders once again found themselves gathered at the start hut on Sunday morning for the world’s most important slopestyle finals. Photo by Bruno Long.


Tom Van Steenbergen had been up on deck for his run when the heavens opened up on Saturday, and the Joyride rookie’s Sunday morning run was off to a promising start with this 360 off the first drop. But a big crash attempting a front flip off the Joyride cabin in his first run brought an early end to his day. Photo by Bruno Long.

CWX15-JOYsun-04
Despite only qualifying for Joyride a few weeks ago at the Colorado Freeride Festival, young Italian rider Torquato Testa showed considerable promise in the Joyride finals, but mistakes in his first run and a crash in his second would bump him down to 14th place overall. Photo by Bruno Long.


Veteran slopestyle rider and former Joyride champion Greg Watts pulled some signature moves that earned him a 10th-place finish. Photo by Bruno Long.

CWX15-JOYsun-25
Flowing off the wooden wallride feature was one of the only moments competitors had to compose themselves before they tried their most difficult tricks on the following two jumps midway down the course. Photo by Laurence Crossman-Emms.


Though Saturday’s rains didn’t seem to negatively affect the performances of the riders, it certainly gave them pause for artistic reflection. Photo by Bruno Long.


Canadian Logan Peat looked smooth and precise on his first run, which put him in the number-one spot until he was supplanted by his close friend and roommate, Brandon Semenuk. And though a crash on his second run dashed his podium hopes, the points he earned from his first run still earned him a fifth-place finish overall. Photo by John Gibson.


Frenchman Yannick Granieri took a hard fall off the ‘whale tail’ on his first run, leaving many wondering if he would be able to return for a second run. He not only returned, but was able to claw his way back to a seventh-place finish overall. Photo by Bruno Long.


Sometimes it pays to take a step back and put the big picture into perspective. Photo by Bruno Long.


Belgian rider Thomas Genon is no stranger to the pressure of the Joyride slopestyle finals, having won top honors in his debut attempt in 2012. The former champion was one of the only riders to attempt a flat drop flip off the Joyride cabin—a move that put him back on the podium in third. Photo by Bruno Long.


Brandon Semenuk had a nearly flawless run in Sunday’s finals, and that was all he needed to secure his fourth Crankworx Whistler Joyride victory. Photo by Bruno Long.


Moments such as this showed the fans what Englishman Sam Pilgrim is capable of when he is focused and in his element. But unfortunately he was unable to link together a seamless run and ended up taking 12th overall. Photo by Bruno Long.


Anthony Messere, with his huge amplitude and effortless style, continues to be a crowd favorite, regardless of his final results. Photo by Laurence Crossman-Emms.


For those who chose to ride the bike park rather than simply spectate the Joyride finals, there was a good chance they would be treated to an aerial view of the action on their lift ride up the mountain. And the lucky guys on this lift had the best view in the house for one of two-time champion Cam Zink’s classic 360s. Photo by Bruno Long.


After watching the young Nicholi Rogatkin practice his run, many thought he could steal the show come finals day. True to expectations, he delivered a stunning performance that gave winner Semenuk a run for his money and earned him a second-place finish that matched his runner-up spot at the Crankworx Rotorua slopestyle finals earlier this year. Photo by Bruno Long.


Anthony Messere showed the crowd just how extended his tuck no-handed front flips can be. Photo by John Gibson.


Logan Peat’s smooth style rarely disappoints. Photo by John Gibson.


Englishman Sam Reynolds spins his way into sixth place. Photo by Bruno Long.


Brandon Semenuk’s style and technical precision was undeniable in Sunday’s finals, and his performance solidified his place as one of the most progressive riders in the sport’s history. Photo by Laurence Crossman-Emms.


All eyes were on Brett Rheeder on Sunday, as fans waited to see if he would win his third and final Crankworx slopestyle event of this year—a feat that would have earned him the Triple Crown and a $75,000 dollar prize purse. But Rheeder, who had been grappling with a stomach illness the past couple of days, ended up crashing on both of his runs, dashing his hopes of a slopestyle sweep. Photo by John Gibson.


Local favorite Semenuk, who grew up in Whistler, delivered the goods for his hometown fans. Photo by Bruno Long.


Brandon Semenuk knows how to Revel in the Chaos of rain delays, film noir and global domination. Photo by Bruno Long.


By the time Brandon Semenuk had flipped off the Joyride cabin in his first run the crowd was already worked into a frenzy, and they could already smell victory for the four-time Crankworx Whistler Joyride winner. Photo by Laurence Crossman-Emms.


With so much at stake for Brett Rheeder, his crash in the second run was a hard one to take. Photo by John Gibson.


For the third year in a row—and the fourth time in his career—Brandon Semenuk has cemented his position as the man to beat in his hometown. Photo by Bruno Long.

Related

Smashing the Gates: Dual Slalom at its Best

Pumptrack Perfection: A Whooping Good Time