Crankworx Air DH Recap

By: Colin Meagher

It’s been what? Seven years since Anne Caroline Chausson competed against top shelf DH racers? And the Frenchwoman is slicing through the competition like a Samurai sword through jello. Emmeline Ragot was a close second, followed by Rachel Atherton, Jill Kintner and then Fionn Griffiths.

In the men, Brian Lopes has been off the race circuit for a couple of years but he’s still got some in the tank, beating out a number of current World Cup riders to take his millionth win in the Air DH (his sixth, actually). Barely. Sam Blenkinsop was a mere .48 seconds back. To some, blitzing A-line in 4:15 seems insane, and it is. Just think hucking big to flat for 4:15. For a pro racer, though, it’s a matter of focus and speed control with the “Bubba Scrub” to keep low and in control. Only Gee Atherton, Bryn Atkinson, and Fabien Cousine were able to keep their focus the entire run down A-line; a mere 3.59 seconds separated the top five riders.

Logan Binggeli showing the Bubba Scrub to perfection in the sunlit tables under the chair lift.

Logan Binggeli showing the Bubba Scrub to perfection in the sunlit tables under the chair lift.

Brook McDonald cranking into one of the monster berms on A-Line.

Brook McDonald cranking into one of the monster berms on A-Line.

Just out to the money-Bryn Atkinson came home a half second down on a paycheck and a podium spot.

Just out to the money-Bryn Atkinson came home a half second down on a paycheck and a podium spot.

Fabien ''Cous Cous'' Cousine was able to keep it low most to the way, but lost a bit of focus here.

Fabien ''Cous Cous'' Cousine was able to keep it low most to the way, but lost a bit of focus here.

Greg Watts isn't known for racing, but he  entered the Air DH as a pro and came in a respectable 34th, beating out a number of well known World Cup riders.

Greg Watts isn't known for racing, but he entered the Air DH as a pro and came in a respectable 34th, beating out a number of well known World Cup riders.

Mitch Ropelato cranking into a couple of the first tables that make A-Line such a fun ride.

Mitch Ropelato cranking into a couple of the first tables that make A-Line such a fun ride.

Pumping the hell out of a berm, Steve Smith works for a paycheck that slipped out of his fingers in the lower woods.

Pumping the hell out of a berm, Steve Smith works for a paycheck that slipped out of his fingers in the lower woods.

Brian Lopes will be looking over his shoulder next year with the likes of Gee Atherton and Sam Blenkinsop breathing down his back.

Brian Lopes will be looking over his shoulder next year with the likes of Gee Atherton and Sam Blenkinsop breathing down his back.

After the Air DH, the slopestyle circus was the main attraction. Gusty winds had riders walking the high wire to stitch their lines together. Not everyone was successful negotiating the stunts, including one big, meaty drop with a generous amount of real estate to clear before hitting the transition that claimed one rider (word’s out that it was a broken leg). Only a handful of riders were willing to give that one a go afterwards, as the winds were gusting hard and unpredictably, and turning into a wind swept tomahawk is low on most rider’s list of things to do.

A who's who of Slopestyle talent: Tyler McCaul, Cam Zink, Brandan Semenuk, Geoff Gullevich... all the big kids are here. Except Cam McCaul, laid up with a broken femur from the Crankworx Colorado course.

A who's who of Slopestyle talent: Tyler McCaul, Cam Zink, Brandon Semenuk, Geoff Gulevich... all the big kids are here. Except Cam McCaul, laid up with a broken femur from the Crankworx Colorado course.

The monster dish is a pretty cool feature.

The monster dish is a pretty cool feature.

Gusty winds and big stunts make this a ''special'' course in the words of more than one rider. Geoff Gulevich had to bail the bike just minutes before when an errant gust caught him as he 3'd this same feature for the first time. Not one to take a kick in the slats ligthly, Gulley worked it again as a straight air, and then stuck the this 3 before heading off to get stitched up from the first bail.

Gusty winds and big stunts make this a ''special'' course in the words of more than one rider. Geoff Gulevich had to bail the bike just minutes before when an errant gust caught him as he 3'd this same feature for the first time. Not one to take a kick in the slats ligthly, Gulley worked it again as a straight air, and then stuck the this 3 before heading off to get stitched up from the first bail.

Riders assessing the final drop as the boneyard closes up shop.

Riders assessing the final drop as the boneyard closes up shop.

The day was capped by the Saint Deep Summer Photo Challenge, which was won by Bike magazine’s senior photographer, Jordan Manley–congrats Jordan.

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