Things are about to get next-level at Crankworx Rotorua.
The Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship is being tomorrow at the Skyline Gravity Park on Mt Ngongotaha and leading up to the big day, the team from Elevate Trail Building, including Tom Hey, Emmerson Wilken and Scott Bedford, have been hard at work re-visioning and re-shaping the dirt that will set the stage.
Hey said it was no easy feat given the hands of a legend helped lay the original foundation, and for the past three years the world's best have sung its praises while launching off it to previously unimaginable heights.
He said the re-worked course paid homage to its roots, while providing some fresh challenges.
"The start drop's the same...it's McGazza's so we wouldn't want to change that," he said.
New Zealand's Kelly McGarry helped design and build one of the best slopestyle courses in the world with Hey before he died in 2016. The event was renamed in his honour.
Hey said the second feature was now a dirt-to-dirt shark fin which was a little more technical to trick.
"It'll be a bit better for the guys that've got good flow, rather than just the huckers.
"Third feature, everyone loves that step-up so it's going to stay the same. After that it used to be the boner log, but now it's a big dirt-to-dirt hip, replacing the second jump.
"Hopefully that'll make it flow through there better. We've put the boner back in after that, so after the dirt-to-dirt right it's a left boner. And then the rest of the course is the same as it was," Hey said.
Past winners of the event include Brett Rheeder in 2015, Brandon Semenuk in 2016 and Nicholi Rogatkin, who successfully landed his signature Twister for the first time in Crankworx competition in front of the Kiwi crowd in 2017.
Hey said the changes would keep things super trickable, but would mix it up a bit, requiring more technicality than the previous iteration of the course.
Crankworx Rotorua event director Ariki Tibble said it was time.
"It's not that we're trying to improve things, it's that we're trying to move forward and it seemed like it was the right time. After three years...let's turn a little bit of new dirt and start a new chapter, while keeping Kelly's fingerprints on the overall course."
The course rolled out on Wednesday, along with the first practice session.
Meantime, the rider roster for Saturday's event has been locked into place.
The final pair to launch from the start drop will be two riders who were engaged in some of most epic battles in Slopestyle history last season. Rogatkin, who topped both the Rotorua and Innsbruck podiums last year, will drop in last, preceded by Rheeder, who missed Rotorua in 2017 with a knee injury but stormed the Slopestyle scene when he returned to competition in Europe, winning in Les Gets.
"The McGazza Slopestyle course in Rotorua is literally one of best courses of the year," Rheeder said.
"After seeing the changes in person I'm stoked on what the boys have done. I'm fired up to be back and see what I can do on this course."
With rain on the horizon the public should come along early to catch the best weather window for the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle which will go live sometime between 10am and 3:30pm tomorrow. Gates open from 8am.
Below is the full list of invited riders in the order they will be dropping in:.
BOGGS Reed (USA)
PEAT Logan (CAN)
PAGES Simon (FRA)
FEDKO Eric (GER)
MESSERE Anthony (CAN)
FREDRIKSSON Max (SWE)
TESTA Torquato (ITA)
GENON Thomas (BEL)
CAVERZASI Diego (ITA)
LEMOINE Tomas (FRA)
NYQUIST Ryan (USA)
GODZIEK Szymon (POL)
RHEEDER Brett (CAN)
ROGATKIN Nicholi (USA)