Your guide to the glorious return of Deep Summer & Dirt Diaries


Crankworx’s beloved photo and film contests, Deep Summer and Dirt Diaries, make their long-awaited return to Olympic Plaza

To the stranger, Whistler would seem a city full of Philistines.

Given its reputation as the world’s mecca for skiing and mountain biking and its legacy as the alpine host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, if you didn’t know better, you might think Whistler didn’t have kicked the ski pole twice about the arts.

You, dear reader, would be wrong.

“It’s not true. We have so much arts and culture and talented people here who do so much more than just bike and ski,” says Jacquie McLean, organizer of two of the most popular and popular events. Crankworx’s favorites, the Deep Summer Photo Challenge and the Dirt Diaries Video Contest, presented by SWATCH.

Returning to the festival lineup for the first time since 2019, you’d be hard-pressed to find two other events that better tap into the deep well of creativity on display in the worlds of cycling and art.

“I think these competitions are great platforms for these creatives to have space at Crankworx and merge these two communities. They are already so well connected, but giving that connection a voice through Crankworx is super important and a big reason why everyone is so excited for both competitions to return,” said McLean.

For the uninitiated, here’s how it works. Deep Summer invites five action sports photographers (and one wildcard) from around the world to Whistler to compile the most epic downhill slideshow possible in three jam-packed days. Ultimately, each photographer will screen their slideshow, set to music, under the stars at the Olympic Plaza, offering their own unique perspective on riding in the mountain biking mecca.

Dirt Diaries takes a similar approach except on the video side. Five filmmakers are invited to produce a four to six minute video featuring a slice of a Crankworx athlete’s diary. Teams must feature the Whistler Valley and the world famous Whistler Mountain Bike Park in at least one quarter of their video, other than being creative carte blanche.

As in years past, the only thing to do before either competition this month is to expect the unexpected.

“Some people are very visual and like to play with lights. Others asked to put drawn images on their photos. Others talked about doing something quite funny, others more serious and meaningful,” McLean relays. “We have everything from people thinking about inclusivity to nature to the whole storytelling process. I think we’re really going to see a range of different ideas and projects coming out of it and they’ll all be visually different as well.

“Different” is the name of the game for local action sports photographer Jeremy Allen heading to Deep Summer. Living in the Sea to Sky for the better part of a decade, Allen relishes the chance to wow his hometown audience at the Olympic Plaza with the thousands of spectators expected to line up.

“It meant the world to me to be selected because when I first moved to Whistler…I remember going to Deep Winter and Deep Sumer competitions and being stunned,” he says. . “It was one of my dreams: to get on stage, be part of the show and demonstrate what I’m really capable of. It was quite a surreal experience.

Known for his dynamic and energetic photoshoots, the Red Bull photographer will take a somewhat different approach to the high-profile event, asking a question that has not been far from the lips of many Whistlerites over the years: What does it mean to be local?

“It could take us into a different area of ​​the local, that’s all I can really say,” he admits. “It will be very different from what people expect from my portfolio.”

Unlike Allen, Dirt Diaries contestant Blake Hansen has never been to Whistler before, a prospect the Utah-based filmmaker and racer doesn’t shy away from.

“I think it’s fun, different and unique. A lot of people spent a lot of time there and not me so rather than being told about it I want to try and make it a central part of the story and then basically my friends see what kind of stuff I can get hurt,” she jokes.

As a trans athlete and filmmaker, Hansen is used to bringing a fresh take on a sport that still presents many barriers to entry for the LGBTQ community, and her latest film exemplifies the importance of representation. in the ever-changing mountain bike scene.

“For me, representation is super important,” she says. “Sometimes it feels very vulnerable to be so open and open, especially with all kinds of weird and crazy things going on in the world these days. So I try not to center myself in that too much. and let my presence speak.

Highlighting the sport’s growing inclusivity was a major consideration for McLean and the Crankworx team as they considered what they wanted a reimagined Deep Summer and Dirt Diaries to look like. This year’s fields are moving closer to gender parity, which you wouldn’t even see five or 10 years ago, and a new wrinkle in Deep Summer forces photographers to incorporate shavings from Whistler’s Community Reconciliation Canoe into their show. , a month-long project at the local Indigenous Museum, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, which invites anyone from the community to help sculpt the final canoe.

“They will have the flexibility to incorporate this element into their Deep Summer Photo Challenge slideshow as they wish,” says McLean. “Basically, the goal is to connect Crankworx athletes and creatives with SLCC ambassadors to really facilitate authentic Indigenous storytelling in Whistler. We want to create awareness by capturing this story through their photographs and capture these athletes and community of Whistler connecting to the land by engaging in learning and taking a turn at this sculpture.

The Deep Summer Photo Challenge arrives at Olympic Plaza at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9, with the winning contestant taking home the $5,000 prize. Check out the whole field at

Dirt Diaries, meanwhile, arrives at Olympic Plaza at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 11. The winning team will take home the $5,000 prize, with $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third. Check out the whole field at


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