The Swedish Slopestyle saga continues. During this weekend’s Crankworx Slopestyle World Championship in Rotorua New Zealand, Alex Alanko - newbie and underdog - managed to beat some of the best riders in the world and grab an impressive 3rd place. Alanko, who didn’t even get a spot on the start list until two weeks prior, was insanely stoked and speechless after the big day. We caught up with him to get all the big feels from the competition.
Watch Alex Alanko's third place run:
Congrats on the big result. How does it feel?
Thanks a lot. It feels completely unreal at the moment. It’s going to take some time to digest!
You were only a “reserv rider” for the competition. When did you get the news that you had a spot on the startlist?
I was the first reserve on the riders list, so it was only two days before I left Sweden to fly to New Zealand that I was informed that a rider had dropped out and I had a spot in the competition. It meant that I had to change my mindset about the trip ASAP and start planning how to train and ride to prepare myself.
It’s your second big Crankworx competition - how are they different compared to other competitions that you’ve done?
At Crankworx all the features are so much bigger, the speed you need to hit the ramps with is a lot faster and you get way more air time. There is also such a big hype around it - both on social media and in real life.
Did you feel more confident coming into this event having competed at Crankworx Innsbruck last year?
It felt good to have a previous experience with me coming into this event. I was equally as nervous for the competition, but this time I knew to plan my run much more carefully to make sure I could make it work under pressure.
How do you get comfortable hitting such big features?
The jumps at Crankworx are a lot bigger than the stuff I normally ride. During the first day of practice I didn’t even consider doing tricks over them as the course was running so fast.
I had to break it down into pieces and take it one step at a time. The first two days I basically only practiced “speed checking” to make sure I hit the jumps with the right amount of speed. After each practice session I felt more and more comfortable and I slowly started doing tricks.
What’s it been like to hangout and ride with all the big Slopestyle stars?
It’s been unreal. I’ve met most of them before, but it is always fun to hang out with people who share the same passion.
Have you been training by yourself or with the other Swedes?
I’ve trained some with both Emil Johansson and Max Fredriksson. During practice we discuss different ideas and tricks with each other, which really helps. The atmosphere between all the riders has been amazing. Most riders really push hard and go outside of their comfort zones which makes for a tight community - everyone cheers for everyone.
How did your race run feel?
It felt good. My goal was to do tricks on all the features and get to the finishline - and I did. I didn’t do everything that I had planned but I am happy that I nailed almost the entire line.
Which trick or jump where you most nervous about?
I was most nervous about getting enough speed over the feature called “long and down”, the second to last jump on the course. I planned to do a backflip over it which requires extra speed, and since I had a rotation trick planned off the previous drop I had to land it perfectly to carry enough speed. But it all worked out!
And which one are you most happy with?
I’m really happy with the last trick that I did which - an opposite cork 720. I’ve been practicing it for over a year so it felt really good to land it under pressure in a competition.
I want to continue to progress on the bike and compete in Gold-level competitions on the World Tour as well as the upcoming Crankworx competitions.
Good luck with the rest of the season!
Read more about Swedish drama at the 1st Slopestyle round: