NOVEMBER 30, 2023 – Freeride mountain biking will enter a new era in 2024 as women prepare to compete in the first ever Women’s Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship (SWC). Representing the pinnacle of the Slopestyle discipline, the introduction of a women’s category to the SWC is indicative of the level to which the sport has been elevated through years of development. Seeking to maximize the potential of women in freeride mountain biking, the SWC women’s category will provide equal opportunity access to the highest level of the sport featured across the Crankworx World Tour.
“Since 2015, Crankworx has set out to create gender equality through equal prize money, shared podiums, and equal opportunity for men and women, knowing that Slopestyle would be the most challenging to integrate,” said Darren Kinnaird, Crankworx Managing Director.
“Through the development of women’s Speed and Style and, more recently, Women’s Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour Slopestyle events, the road has been paved for women to compete at the highest level of the sport.
After witnessing the women compete at the Crankworx Summer Series in SilverStar this past summer, it became clear to us that they are ready.”
To provide equal opportunity, equal prize money will be awarded across the SWC women’s and SWC men’s categories, with more than $500,000 CAD to be given out during the 2024 Crankworx World Tour and SWC season. Similarly, the Triple Crown of Slopestyle, awarded to any rider who wins three Crankworx slopestyle events in a single season, will be up for grabs to SWC competitors in both the women’s and men’s categories, with a value of $25,000 CAD per crown. Further to that, winners in both the women’s and men’s categories of Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler are granted lifetime entry to Crankworx Slopestyle events.
“Having the [Slopestyle] World Championships and Triple Crown [of Slopestyle] for women promotes inclusivity and equality in our sport,” said Shealan Reno on the impact that these opportunities will have for the future of the sport.
In 2024, each SWC women’s category event will host six riders, with qualified riders consisting of the six highest ranked riders on the FMB Women’s World Tour Ranking, with a minimum of 500 points, six weeks before an SWC event. Entry to the SWC for riders new to the Slopestyle scene can also be found through a Red Bull Rookie of the Year award win, as a place will be held on the start list at the first SWC event of the year for both the Female and Male award winners of the previous season.
On prequalifying and preparing to compete at the first-ever Women’s SWC event, the 2023 Female Red Bull Rookie of the Year, Patricia Druwen, shared: “I’m super motivated. The jumps are so much bigger and then you have to learn to do your tricks on them at the same time as well. I’m so stoked about having a Women’s Slopestyle competition at Crankworx.”
Above: Erik Fedko and Patricia Druwen holding medals at Crankworx Summer Series.
The 2024 Crankworx World Tour will once again visit the following world-class mountain biking destinations, with broadcasts available live and on demand on Red Bull TV, including both the SWC women’s and SWC men’s categories:
- Rotorua, New Zealand – March 16-24
- Cairns, Australia – May 22-26
- Innsbruck, Austria – June 12-23
- Whistler, Canada – July 19 – 28
“It’s about time, I’m stoked to have women on the big stage next to the men,” said Kathi Kuypers on the addition of the SWC women’s category. On the events being broadcast globally, Harriet Burbidge-Smith shared that “the fact that we are on broadcast and everything at the same level as the guys is really insane and super motivating.”