Mountain bikers get sideways at Snake Hollow Bike Park ‘Whip-off’ competition

ST. GEORGE — Utah-based Fezzari Bicycles, in cooperation with the city of St. George and the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office hosted a mountain bike whip-off competition Thursday evening at the Snake Hollow Bike Park.

Riders compete in a whip-off at Snake Hollow Bike Park, St. George, Utah, Nov. 5, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Stark, St. George News

Featuring about a dozen professional and amateur riders, the whip-off showcased both the riders’ abilities as well as the area’s popular mountain bike skills park, which Fezzari Mountain Bike ambassador and event organizer Norm Nielsen said fosters camaraderie and a love of cycling.

“We really do have a hidden gem,” Nielsen said, “and bringing an event like this to Snake Hollow gives us a chance to showcase this.”

The Snake Hollow Bike Park was opened in November 2018 and has mountain biking features for nearly every skill level, including a pump track, wood berms, gravity jump trails, drop zones and more.

Whip-off’s are a popular jam-style mountain bike event with a simple structure. Mountain bikers go big on a jump line and whip – or throw – their bike as sideways as possible while in the air and then return the bike to a straight position and land smoothly.

Whips are judged on criteria such as style, height or amplitude, degree of the whip and the landing.

Thursday’s competition featured a bevy of local riders, members of the Fezzari Ambassador team and Southern Utah resident and professional freeride mountain biker Jaxson Riddle, who was recently featured in the Teton Gravity Research mountain bike film “Accomplice.”

Professional freeride mountain biker Jaxson Riddle goes upside down at the Snake Hollow Bike Park, St. George, Utah, Nov. 5, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Stark, St. George News

The competition was divided into two rounds, with the field of riders being whittled down from 12 in the first round to five in the second.

The free event drew a large crowd of mountain bike fans who were treated to a showcase of skill by many of the competitors.

Riddle, along with Fezzari riders Canyon Jones and Kurtis Downs took the top three spots of the night and highlighted the event by throwing backflips, no-handers and impressive whips off the bike park’s obstacles.

Scores were as follows:

  1. Jaxson Riddle – 91.4.
  2. Canyon Jones – 87.8.
  3. Kurtis Downs – 84.3.

Nielsen said that holding the event at the bike park will go a long way in continuing to elevate Southern Utah as a biking destination.

“This is a hot bed for mountain biking,” Nielsen said, adding that with the addition of the Santa Clara BMX track, the area has truly become a spot on the map for all types of cycling.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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