Red Bull Rampage 2016

Standing at the bottom of the new 2016 Red Bull Rampage site this morning before the sun came over the ridge was an unusually calm experience. Builders were just starting to hike up, but no one was working or riding yet. Looking up at the amphitheatre style canyon and seeing the plethora of original, hand-built, fresh lines and features was truly awe-inspiring. The sheerer cliffs here lend themselves to bigger drops and more than half of the competitors have included these naturally occurring features into their lines – with some work to dial them in. The things that will be accomplished here on Friday will truly push the boundaries of what can be done on a bike – things that at this moment are still unfathomable.

bigquotesIt's pretty insane. It's freaky to see what everyone wants to do.
- Kyle Norbraten

Morning light coming through the dust storm.
  Morning light coming through the dust storm.

The Red Bull Rampage pre-build crew; Randy Spangler, Adam Billinghurst, Dave Smutok, Robbie Bourdon, Kyle Jameson, and Mike Fucci, arrived onsite three weeks ago. “The concept this year with the new venue – it is a little taller than the last site – is that we were hoping that the riders would come together and team up,” explains veteran Red Bull Rampage builder, Randy Spangler. With the fresh canvas, higher elevation, and smaller athlete build crews; there is a lot of work to be done here. In response, many riders have opted to work together as their lines criss-cross with each other. “It’s just kind of brought back the camaraderie of the original venue and that’s what this new site was supposed to bring, and it has. The whole feel has been a lot more mellow and relaxed; just back to the roots of it.”

The winner of the 2015 Red Bull Rampage, Kurt Sorge, agrees with Randy, “It’s so much easier working with a fresh venue. And it’s quite a long line this year so teaming up has been pretty crucial to get it all done in time. I think our main goal was to get rid of all the bickering, so smaller dig teams mean that people have to team up.”

Rheeder picking away.
  Rheeder picking away.

Two guys one sandbag.
Two guys, one sandbag.
Down to the last bags for Brandon Semenuk choosing them wisely.
Down to the last bags for Brandon Semenuk, choosing them wisely.

bigquotesIt's just kind of brought back the camaraderie of the original venue and that's what this new site was supposed to bring, and it has.
- Randy Spangler

It’s not just the athletes who have had more work due to the new location as Adam Billinghurst explains, “this year was more of a challenge for [the pre-build team] because everything we did was hand built, whereas in the past couple of years everything was done from the road level and machine built; we just unloaded the wood out of the truck, but here we had to hike to the top twice a day. It was really physical, but it was a good challenge.” The only pre-built feature onsite is the top of the course where riders will drop in and it has been quite a feat to finish – “it’s a grotesque spectacle,” Adam says of how exposed it is.

Billinghurst always has the record for biggest hat at Rampage.
  Billinghurst always has the record for biggest hat at Rampage.

“It was really overwhelming,” says Kyle Jameson, who is on the pre-build team for the second year. He and the rest of the crew had to rope in on the exposed ridge to safely get the work done. “You’re looking off the top and there’s so much work that needs to be done just to make it safe. It was very much a team effort, we all had to pull our brains together and every bit of trail building experience we have. It really pays off to have an experienced crew like this. We are working with the best dudes out there!”

Brendog and Brett Rheeder picked apart some huge boulders off a spine on the top ridge.
  Brendog and Brett Rheeder picked apart some huge boulders off a spine on the top ridge.

First they chipped away at the top just to make entrances and trundled any big rocks that looked like they might give way. Following that they built the rider's right ridge landing, which proved to be a challenging five day project. Moving to the left ridge they had a smoother time as they had more land to work with. “Ultimately I would have liked another week, but it took us so long to just get that done that we had to call it there.”

Alex Volkof digging after it on Sorge s line.
  Alex Volokhof digging after it on Sorge's line.

The top of the course has been a big topic of discussion amongst the riders who basically have two routes to choose from, left or right. Two riders, Graham Aggasiz and James Doerfling, have opted for a middle line that has been described as ‘heinous’. “I didn’t think it was possible at first, but that’s kind of how it all is out here. It’s what it takes to make the new progression of Rampage – just fully mind-boggle yourself. Out of any of the guys here I think those two guys have the skills to get it going,” says Kyle.

Noah Brousseau
  Noah Brousseau

Kyle ‘Norbs’ Norbraten says that while the options at the top may be fairly limited, the zone itself has a lot of variety. “The top is extremely exposed and gnarly, but once you get into it there’s a lot more features that we can get going as opposed to last year which was just steep and then tapered off. This year there’s a lot more options for lines with more flow. There were a couple massive drops off the top deck last year and now there’s pretty much one off of every line – just mega big dogs. I think that once again it’s another level up of the riders just going as big as they can or as gnarly as they can. It’s pretty insane. It’s freaky to see what everyone wants to do.”

Tern taking a turn on the shovel.
  Tern' taking a turn on the shovel.

Cam Zink also thinks that this venue will progress the sport, “I think this zone is the next level. Everything keeps progressing – building-wise and riding-wise. The site needs to offer all of that so you have the tools in the toolbox to feed the progression.”

bigquotesI think this zone is the next level.
- Cam Zink

Overall the riders are incredibly receptive of the new venue and changes to the event; invited riders only, mandatory rest days, and fewer days for media onsite. The only new restriction that may be regrettable in the next two days is the smaller dig teams. While the site has built a strong camaraderie amongst the riders as they work together to finish the course – the amount of work still left to do is daunting. With water being in high demand to pack in the landings and riders still with unfinished lines going into tomorrow, it will be an intense finish as we get down to the wire.

Rheeder putting the final touches on part of his lower line.
  Rheeder putting the final touches on part of his lower line.

MENTIONS: @dbaker / @parisgore / #RedBullRampage


  • 105 3
 "Two guys, one sandbag".

Please no.
  • 30 1
 Chill, there isn't any sandbagging going on so it's cool man Wink
  • 11 0
 Those digger team also insane .. I don't think any of world class safety officer would agree working on a cliff without any rope... they deserved "Rampage Digger" tittle
  • 5 0
 I may be chuckling to myself all day now... Smile
  • 1 0
 @TimFromWales: Mate I already am
  • 7 2
 Kids, Dont try to understand that comment just go over it
  • 21 0
 Anyone know if this will be streaming after its over? I can't leave work to watch it....
  • 14 0
 I would imagine so. RedBull have been pretty good at playing back past events.
  • 3 0
 I hope so its scheduled to start half an hour before my shift
  • 4 0
 I feel you bro, I will be doing a test at that time
  • 3 0
  • 1 0
 @nug12182: It's looking very tempting
  • 1 0
 You NEED to LEAVE WORK NOW to watch this!
  • 8 1
 Don't worry, by the time you get home Red Bull Media Player will have stopped stuttering so you won't miss anything.
  • 1 3
 I have a Medical School interview.....
  • 3 0
 They will. It will be delayed from going up maybe no more than an hour after the event is done. In a lot of cases the replay for their events are put up pretty quick with options to watch certain runs (at least during the DH races which is sick).
  • 17 1
 I'm diggin it
  • 10 0
 I want to see Aggys line! Everyone says it's the craziest one, I want to sneak...
  • 5 0
 Yea he's going right down the chute apparently. so is Doerfling, but nobody is talking much about him.
  • 3 0
 @nfstreet4life: DOERFLING!!!
  • 9 1
 These guys definitely have some huge bags
  • 2 0
 Just hoping nobody actually dies, those cliffs are huge either side of the actual line!!!!!
  • 7 0
 freeride or die
  • 6 0
 Why do they all have beards, is it mandatory?
  • 40 2
 Apparently, Hucking is the new Enduro. Muc-Off is already working on the collection of beard care products for bros. Fest sender shampoo, Rampage moisturizer and Park Rat conditioner - comes with black comb
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You forgot the Utah mud mask, essential to look good when standing on the podium.
  • 4 3
 I'm absolutely watching this on replay. The course holds for wind and injury, whilst perfectly understandable and correct, made this a tough marathon last few years I recall. It went on for hours last time. Hoping for a format change to speed things up.
  • 3 1
 dat Sarcasm fail.
  • 1 1
 "Overall the riders are incredibly receptive of the new venue and changes to the event; invited riders only, mandatory rest days, and fewer days for media onsite." - So the riders were bothered by the media in past years? Or it's just RB's attempt on getting bit more clicks?
  • 4 0
 Remember from last year I think a lot of the media was in the way during practice, since no one could say when or where people were sending/ testing their stuff
  • 3 0
 You should see some the masonary work on the hill... some of the hits are real pretty.
  • 1 0
 I'm just poking fun at the announcers from a couple of Rampages ago. Hopefully things have improved in that department. I just can't bear any more comments about "speed wheelies" and "rear forks".
  • 2 0
 I just can't believe the stuff these guys build and ride. They are the elite riders in my book!!!
  • 2 0
 Thor Rheeder
  • 2 0
 Alex Volokhov ...
  • 1 0
 Has anyone an idea where i can watch it in London this Friday?
  • 1 0
 Please send more dig pics
  • 1 0
 Good luck to all! RAMPAGE!!!!!
  • 1 0
 YEAH INTIE! That shovel is your paint brush. WHEW check out that art!
  • 1 0
 So excited! Yeah Boy!
  • 1 2
 the build crew's have as bigger balls if not bigger ...... fuck that ill stay on the couch
  • 1 0
 Those hats though...
  • 1 2
 Norbs got robbed!
  • 5 0
 His friends call him Norby.
  • 2 0
 @kingsx: Actually, he called himself Norby some time ago...

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