Darren moved to Whistler in 1999 with a passion for skiing. His goal was to be a ski bum and started working at a ski school. In 2005 he took the summer off due to a back injury and ended up volunteering for Crankworx. He got involved in the sales and marketing coordination of Whistler Mountain Bike Park which lead to looking after sponsors during Crankworx Whistler.
Darren later took over sponsorship for Crankworx and the Whistler MTB Park. In 2010 Darren was asked to become the General Manager. It was his dream job and he has remained in the role for over a decade.
Tune in to the episode below to find how Crankworx pivoted during the pandemic. Releasing the Crankworx Summer Series in BC, Canada and New Zealand. The future of events, his outlook on the mountain biking industry and so much more!
Oli Russell-Cowan: How did you get involved in Crankworx?
Darren Kinnaird: I moved to Whistler in March of 1999. My goal was to be a ski bum. I was really really into skiing. Around 2005 I had the summer off because of a back injury and I ended up volunteering for Crankworx.
I volunteered the whole week, did the same again in 2006. Then I started to get more involved in the sales and marketing coordination stuff with the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. In 2007 I was asked if I could come on in a short term role to look after some sponsors during Crankworx Whistler.
The following year, I was asked to take on the Expo sales for both Whistler and Winter Park because we were doing Crankworx Colorado at the time. That evolved into managing all the sponsorship stuff for Crankworx and the Whister Mountain Bike Park. Then in 2010 I was asked to be become the General Manager.
Jeremy Roche, who was the Business Development Manager and Crankworx Manager at the time he had a lot on his plate. He wanted to focus more on the business development side of things. There was a need for someone to step into that role. For me, it was a dream opportunity. I love sports, I love mountain biking. I love Whistler. It was just a dream come true to get into that position. I’ve been in that role now for almost over a decade.
Oli Russell-Cowan: Were you working on a few different events before you were volunteering at Crankworx?
Darren Kinnaird: Yeah, I was working for the ski school and was working on corporate groups and events. We had a lot of corporate business that would come to Whistler Blackcomb. So I was looking after that from the ski school perspective. They also asked me to take on this Fire and Ice Show every Sunday night. It was a welcome to Whistler and we’d have ski and snowboard athletes choreograph jumping through a ring of fire.
This was a great way to invite people to the resort, let them know what was going on every week. But it was sort of my first real introduction to proper organised events.
I’d always been the one to organise the ski trips in high school or in university all that sort of stuff. So it was kind of a natural thing, I felt. As we got closer to the Whistler Olympics they wanted to have this thing called Whistler Live. This involved activity, events, music, bands and entertainment going on every day during the Olympics.
They asked the Fire and Ice Show to be a key part of that every night during the Olympics. We did 14 nights in a row, it was Fire and Ice on steroids. We had three rings, the whole thing was choreographed. We had music, we had dancers, bands playing it was really cool.
I was doing some of that stuff. I had done a couple of things with the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. I was involved in some things with Women’s Freeride.
I love events. I love being involved in them. I love seeing athletes doing their best. The big smiles on their faces, fans enjoying that stuff and just really enjoy it all.
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