Some of the best freestyle bikers in the world are tearing up the course at Big White this weekend.
Freeride Days kicked off Thursday, but the three-day biking festival’s main event, the FMB Gold Invitational Slopestyle hosted by Tom van Steenbergen, takes place Saturday afternoon.
“It’s going to be really exciting to see what these guys can do on the big jumps,” said van Steenbergen, a Vernon resident who’s been one of the top freestyle bikers in the world for years.
“A lot of new tricks going down last night in Best Trick and I think we’re going to see those in their runs as well, so it’ll be really exciting to watch.”
While van Steenbergen is hosting the event for the fifth year, he’s not participating this year, as he’s still recovering from a host of injuries he suffered in a massive crash last October during the Red Bull Rampage competition in Utah.
Friday saw the young guns take to the course in the Grom Slopestyle event, along with the Women’s bronze Slopestyle event. Later in the evening, the Whip-off and Best Trick competitions went down, with 18-year-old Derek Priest winning $1,000 for best trick of the evening with a double backflip bar spin.
Priest posted to Instagram that landing the trick was the best moment of his young life.
Van Steenbergen says the younger generation of riders are progressing the sport rapidly, landing new tricks that have never been done before.
“There’s not a lot of rivalries going on, they’re all good friends and they want to see each other succeed and not get hurt and last night was a good example of that,” he said.
“There were a few guys doing tricks they’ve never done before and just giving them the opportunity to do that feels pretty damn good. I can’t wait for these guys to throw down today.”
While seeing the riders on TV or Instagram be pretty impressive, it pales in comparison to seeing them in person.
“You see it live, you see the athletes soaring above you, 30-40 feet, and pulling backflips and frontflips and all sorts of tricks, it’s pretty awesome to see,” said Andrew Daly, Big White sales director.
The Gold Invitational Slopestyle event kicks off at 2 pm near Big White’s Happy Valley area. Admission to the event is free, and there’s a beer garden and food trucks on site.