Training, competing, filming, suffering from a broken back, trail building, pneumonia, and a chronic lung infection. Its been quite the summer so far for Darren Berrecloth. Most people would’ve written off the season at pneumonia, but for Berrecloth the summer is just starting to warm up.
“After Crankworx Whistler, it’s nice to be back on the Island and back at home, building my slopestyle course,” says Berrecloth. “A lot of people have been asking me to bring back the event over the last couple of years so we’re all fired up for the fourth edition of the Bearclaw Invitational.”
After a two-year break from hosting the event, the Bearclaw Invitational Slopestyle returns with a vengeance to Vancouver Island’s Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Aug. 5-6. The world’s best freeride mountain bikers have been personally selected by Berrecloth to compete on his signature course, on his home turf, and in front of his home crowd.
“This will definitely be one of the most challenging courses on the Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) World Tour. Since it’s a gold level event, expect to see all the world’s top athletes battling it out for the points and the $20,000 prize purse.”
Riders will have to bring their A-game. The Bearclaw Invitational is one of the few gold events on the tour. The higher ranking gold events contribute significant points to the standings and have the potential to make a significant impact on the overall tour rankings.
Back at the event site, watching Berrecloth working in his excavator is like watching him ride his bike; he’s in his element. In a matter of days, the site of his slopestyle course will morph from classic West Coast forest to classic freeride masterpiece.
The Invitational course is a complete rebuild and features huge dirt jumps and hips through stands of old-growth Mountain Hemlock and Yellow Cedar. And in classic Bearclaw-style, the stunts are all burly. The wooden features: wall rides, quarter pipe, jumps, and pre-requisite bonar log are all starting to take shape two weeks before the event.
“You can’t beat the natural setting for this comp. It’s a photographer’s dream to shoot and it has a very distinct look and feel,” Berrecloth adds.
The Bearclaw Invitational begins with qualifiers on Friday, Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. The top 18 riders will advance to the Slopestyle finals which start at 1 p.m. on Aug. 6. Riders will be judged on their best one of two runs during the finals. A high-air comp will immediately follow the slopestyle to determine who has the biggest boost of the weekend.
“The rider list is stacked so keep this one circled on your calendars,” says Berrecloth with the buzz of heavy machinery and the scream of his chainsaw in the background. Yep, it’s been an eventful summer so far for the Claw!
For more information on the Bearclaw Invitational and to stay updated on the course building progress, check out twitter.com/darenberrecloth or iamspecialized.com/gravity/rider/darren-berrecloth#/blog.
The Bearclaw Invitational is supported by Red Bull, Specialized, Go Pro, Dakine, Shimano, Kokanee, Pink Bike, Adidas Eyewear, McKays Home Theatres, Tuf Rak, and Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
For more information on the Mount Washington Bike Park and for on-mountain accommodations and bike park packages, visit mountwashington.ca. The Bike Park is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and more trails are now snow-free.