Tom Hey prepping the start area

Is Tom Hey trying to make up for something with this digger? #shortmansyndrome
New Zealand’s slopestyle star Kelly McGarry and Elevate’s Tom Hey are on site at the Skyline Gravity Park getting ready to set Crankworx Rotorua on course to make history.

In addition to a successful career as a star athlete on the freeride mountain bike scene, McGarry and his business partner, trail builder Tom Hey, operate Elevate Trail Building, and are fast developing a reputation as world class trail-building aficionados.

The pair have designed and built courses for the Colorado Freeride Festival and Teva Slopestyle in Queenstown and have accepted the challenge to turn the Crankworx Rotorua slopestyle course into a legendary event.

“There couldn’t be a better team to tackle the task of building Oceania’s first permanent slopestyle course and turning the Rotorua dirt into trail gold,” says Takurua Mutu, Crankworx director. “Hey has built trails for over a decade, and McGarry is an international slopestyle star who was previously a carpenter and as a result has developed his own formula for designing world class competition trails.”

Kelly keeps the details of these kickers tucked away in a very safe place. Don't even bother asking.

The course will take athletes approximately 1:30 minutes to traverse, and the lip drops, right and left-hand hip-jumps, epic step-ups and cannon logs they’re working into the natural contours of Mt. Ngongotaha should make for a flowy ride, primed for the monster aeronautics that make slopestyle the Crankworx marquee event.

McGarry says he’s learnt a lot about slopestyle courses having travelled around the world competing for the last 10 years.

“I’ve ridden some awesome courses and I’ve ridden some terrible ones, and I’ve learnt a lot in regards to what works and what doesn’t – and what riders like to shred,” he says.

If there’s one feature unique to the Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park, it’s the dirt. Rotorua’s volcanic soil is one third air, one third rock and one third water, meaning it drains well for a clean-riding trail. The frequent rainfall in Rotorua and forest canopy also ensure enough moisture stays in the soil to save competitors storming a 25-foot drop from suffering through a dust bowl.

Kelly McGarry proving that #huckingisthenewenduro at Red Bull Joyride in Whistler, BC, Canada on

Crankworx Rotorua runs March 25-29, culminating in the Slopestyle on Sunday, March 29 at 12:30 p.m. NZDT. Events include the Australasia Whip-Off Champs, Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox, Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style, Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS, Giant Toa Rotorua Enduro and the Rotorua Slopestyle.

There will also be a Bikes and Beats Music Festival, featuring New Zealand’s top artists, and a Kidsworx event to get families involved. Stay tuned for details at

To get your tickets, visit Ticketmaster:

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