The Joyride course, known lovingly by locals as 'the boneyard', has been the home of big breakthroughs and pioneering progressions in slopestyle ever since it first got going in 2004. It introduced new tricks, riders, features and storylines to the sport that will live long in both the memories and history books of mountain biking.
Here are just a few of the moments that have made Red Bull Joyride what it is today.
1. A unique fan vote (new for 2022)
In preparation for the Joyride 10th anniversary, Brandon Semenuk and Justin Wyper teamed up to engineer and built four creative features with the potential of pushing creativity in the sport. Now built, shredded and showcased, fans have the opportunity to select which feature they’d like to see added to the Red Bull Joyride 2022 course.
Here’s how it works:
- Select your favourite
- Hit vote
- Be apart of the future of slopestyle mountain biking
2. Paul Bas wins it on a borrowed bike (2004)
Crankworx Whistler actually began in 2003, but it was called Whistler Summer Gravity Fest. That title changed to Crankworx in 2004, and that year, newcomer Paul Basagotia stole the show. In unique fashion, too. Known as a BMXer, when he entered the first-ever Crankworx Slopestyle event, he had to borrow his friend's hardtail in order to compete. That friend was a certain Cam Zink, who he was staying with, on floors and in Kirt Voreis' motorhome. Basagotia would go on and win the whole thing – with Zink coming fifth.
3. The 360 heard round the world (2005)
The year is 2005, and a 23-year-old slopestyle pioneer by the name of Darren Berrecloth has just dropped into the Crankworx Whistler course. Berrecloth had turned pro at 20, and by the time he dropped down that starting ramp in ‘05, he was already well known for his freeriding credentials across the mountain biking world.
The man known as 'Bearclaw' would go on to throw and stick a 360 off the ladder bridge on the Crankworx course, over an enormous 18m gap, and roll away to the amazement of everyone watching. It was described as "the 360 heard around the world". At the same time, Basagotia would again take the win – beating Berrecloth into first place and cementing his place in Joyride history – the massive 360 remains one of the greatest tricks ever seen at Crankworx Whistler.
4. Enter the Lacondeguys (2006)
It is 2006, and due to popular demand, the Crankworx Invitational is turned into an open competition, where amateur athletes can compete. Mountain biking legend Cam Zink wins the big prize this year with a backflip X-up one-footer that leaves the audience frothing, but audiences are equally drawn to two Spanish brothers who emerge at the event.
They’re called Andreu and Lluis Lacondeguy, and they’re going to become familiar faces in mountain biking. Andreu notably sent a huge backflip from a step-down and then had a huge crash out on his finals run. But the style and power were clear to see – and it was here to stay.
5. A home-grown 16-year-old star (2007)
Ben Bokyo won Crankworx slopestyle in 2007. And he deserved it. He smashed a 360 off the almost seven-metre Jimbotron drop. But perhaps the biggest story was the rest of the podium, which contained the future of mountain biking. Bokyo wins, but Semenuk, just 16, comes in third at his first-ever Joyride.
Building on his performance from 2006, Andreu Lacondeguy put his run together this time and claimed the second spot. Semenuk got his Red Bull helmet later that day, at a pub called 'The Boot', which he was far too young to be legally inside.
6. The first-ever competition double backflip (2008)
Remember we said that Andreu Lacondeguy was a name that was probably going to get familiar? Andreu entered in 2006, came in second in 2007, and in 2008, he stomped the first double backflip ever performed on a mountain bike in competition. Along with the foot-plant, backflip X-up, flat-spin 360, a superman backflip and a bunch of other stuff, it was comfortably enough to do the job, giving him a score of 94.3, which put the Spaniard clear of British rider Lance McDermott's 91.5 in second place.
Needless to say, though, the double backflip was the big story. After the event, Andreu confirmed to the cameras: “It was that trick that did the job. It was gnarly, you know?” We can only imagine.
7. The Cam Zink comeback is complete (2010)
After previously winning the slopestyle in 2006, Zink had suffered a whole host of injuries. He'd had knee surgery, wrist surgery and he'd broken a tibia. When he pitched up at Crankworx in 2010, it was the first time he had done so healthily in quite some time. It seemed that was all he needed for Zink, as a stunning run scoring 95.0 won him a second winning title. Speaking after the event, he let the exuberance out.
“It felt like putting all of the emotions and injuries of the last four years of hard work into a high-interest account, and I just cashed out,” he said.
8. Semenuk nails one of the greatest runs ever (2015)
Semenuk had quite the year in 2015. He dropped the feature film Revel in the Chaos to widespread acclaim. He unleashed that one-shot segment from unReal – arguably the best mountain biking segment ever shot. And after coming third in 2007 and 2008, second in 2009, and then winning the Crankworx Slopestyle in 2011, 2013 and 2014, he also wrote his name even further into the history books of the event. Not only did he become the first person ever to win the competition four times, but also the first to win it three times in a row.
This was in a year where Rheeder had been dominating the Diamond Series and was on for the Triple Crown at Crankworx, too. But in front of a home crowd, Semenuk pulled it out of the bag, cork 720ing his way to the crown. His run ranked 93.80 and beat Rogatkin to the top.
9. Rheeder pulls it all together (2016)
After a second place in 2014 and winning both the Crankworx Innsbruck and Les 2 Alpes slopestyle stops in 2015 before crashing out on both his runs at Joyride, Rheeder finally got his first Crankworx Whistler title in 2016. And what a moment of redemption it was.
Ending Semenuk’s dominance, Rheeder’s run included a backflip barspin to opposite tail whip, a cork 720, a front flip onto the course's final feature, and then a backflip to finish. It saw him beat 2012’s Belgian winner Thomas Genon to the top of the rankings and – at long last – earn his place on the top of the podium in Whistler.
10. Brandon Semenuk wins his fifth Crankworx title (2017)
You can’t keep a champion down for long. Semenuk was already the most successful athlete in the history of the Crankworx Whistler Slopestyle coming into 2017. But he cemented that position and made it even less likely it’ll ever be emulated in the future when he won the title again in 2017 to make it five crowns. What makes it all the more impressive is that Semenuk hadn't competed for five months coming into the contest. But on a windy day in Whistler, he proved he truly is one of the all-time greats.
11. Rogatkin wins the Triple Crown of Slopestyle (2018)
The Triple Crown of Slopestyle is a title that has alluded to the world’s best since it was introduced in 2016. To earn it, and the big cash prize that comes with it, one rider has to win all three Crankworx slopestyle events; Rotorua, Innsbruck and finally, at Joyride in Whistler. Rheeder had a shot to do it at Joyride in 2015, but the nerves proved too much. American rider Nicholi Rogatkin had the chance to do it in 2017, but Semenuk beat him at the final stop. It seemed as if nobody would ever win the crown… until, that was, 2018.
Not content with two out of three stops, slopestyle innovator and mountain biking maverick Rogatkin followed up a remarkable 2017 with an even better 2018 – becoming the first man in mountain biking to ever win the Triple Crown.