Day 1 Photo Epic: Virgin Dirt - Red Bull Rampage 2018

Oct 23, 2018
by Danielle Baker  


The new Red Bull Rampage site is visually deceiving. The depth and complexity of the terrain make the start gate appear lower than at past sites - however, it is actually higher and staff and athletes both can attest to the extra effort required to access it this year.


The all new 2018 venue... Formidable as she is beautiful.
The all-new 2018 venue... as formidable as she is beautiful.

No gooseberries on this mesa.
No gooseberries on this mesa.

Lonely at the top the 2018 start gate amongst the Utah scrub.
Lonely at the top; the 2018 start gate amongst the Utah scrub.

Carson Storch peering down his line
Carson Storch peering down his line.

Standing atop the 2018 venue
Standing atop the 2018 venue.


"We've been searching always for new locations," says Rampage Founder and owner of H5 Events, Todd Barber. "We've been coming out here for years and we're always looking and searching." In 2007 he came to this canyon along with Darren Berrecloth scouting for a new location for an event called Red Bull Rage. The project didn't happen, but in the process, a build crew, including Big Red Ted (Tempany), came down to check out the location. "We were standing on top of the mountain and we looked over and saw that hill over there," Todd gestures to the right of us. "We went over and checked it out and we started talking about 'Hey, this could be a good Rampage site.'"


Reed Boggs and packing it down
Reed Boggs packing it down.

Ethan Nell building up a massive landing
Ethan Nell building up a massive landing.

Pick a Razor any Razor.
Pick a Razor, any Razor.

Don t land here
Don't land here.
Tommy G making sure everything is right
Tommy G making sure everything is right.

Brendan Fairclough is totally going his own way sharing just about none of his line with any other riders.
Brendan Fairclough is totally going his own way, sharing just about none of his line with any other riders.
Aggy was feeling the heat in the Utah desert
There's nobody who isn't excited to see Aggy back in the desert.

Moist dirt without needing hoses
Moist dirt without needing hoses!

Reed Boggs is crafting an open loop the first we ve seen since Benderoni s back in 2013.
Reed Boggs is crafting an open loop, the first we've seen since Benderoni's back in 2013.

Reed Bogs and his bucket of high quality dirt.
Reed Bogs and his bucket of high-quality dirt.
Do you even dig bro
Do you even dig bro?


That site they were looking at became the 2008 Red Bull Rampage location. "We did four years there and that was a really good site. After that, we came over on the backside and then did the far one over there. But after last year's site, we were kind of getting low on the next places to go. This spot was always kind of in our sights, so we came here again with Aggy and T-Mac and hiked the site again and everybody felt like this was the time to do it - 11 years later we came back."

Coming into a brand-new site will always have positives and negatives. One of the positives is that it levels the playing field for athletes, while a challenge is the massive amount of work required to make it ridable. This year the riders were given a half day to walk to the site and plan before commencing work - "so they could not feel the stress of putting a shovel in the dirt and with that, collaborate and figure out how they are going to build it," says Todd. "At the Athlete Meeting, I told the guys that they have to come in here with a game plan. They're going to have to manage how many days they have to build and how many days they have to practice and how many hits they want to have so that they make sure by the time Thursday comes they have a top to bottom run that they feel comfortable riding."


Utah local Ethan Nell shifting dirt high up.
Utah local Ethan Nell shifting dirt high up.

Ethan Nell and his pick axe.
Ethan Nell and his pickaxe.

Cam Zink on the long hike up.
Cam Zink on the long hike up.

Whereabouts do you mean
Whereabouts do you mean?
Tommy G and builder Anthony Rocci scoping out a big sender towards the bottom of the line.
Tommy G and builder, Anthony Rocci, scoping out a big sender towards the bottom of the line.

This huge step down will be used by Zink Lyle Storch and others
This huge step down will be used by Zink, Lyle, Storch, and others.

Mid-way down the lookers right lines
Mid-way down the looker's right lines.

The steepness of the venue can be hard to convey but when harnesses are required you know its not easy
The steepness of the venue can be hard to convey, but when harnesses are required, you know it's not easy.
Reigning champ Kurt Sorge raking his line
Reigning champ Kurt Sorge raking his line.


With changes over the years including no qualifying athletes and fewer diggers per rider, tackling a brand-new canyon is a massive job. "I think a lot of them came here with a good approach to collaborate - I've seen Strait and Zink building and other guys building part of their line up there together. The riders are kind of spread out in groups, which I've never seen them do before. It was kind of like 'you guys do that, and we'll do this and then we will share it together,' it's been a really cool thing to see."


Axing away at the rock
Axing away at the rock.

Brett s line is requiring some serious work to dial in
Brett's line is requiring some serious work to dial in.

Scoping out the distance. This step down was 69 feet exactly
Scoping out the distance. This step down was 69 feet exactly.
The easiest way to measure tie a rock to the end of your tape
The easiest way to measure, tie a rock to the end of your tape.

Fairclough and Wilkins survey the scene on the top drop shared by many riders on the middle lines.
Fairclough and Wilkins survey the scene on the top drop shared by many riders on the middle lines.

So many options
So many options.

Looking at the right side of the course lookers right from the middle of the venue
Looking at the right side of the course (looker's right) from the middle of the venue.

Mean muggin puggin not a pug
Mean muggin puggin (not a pug).


The consensus among riders seems to favor a new location over returning to a past one. "Everybody is on a level playing field, I think that's the biggest thing. The tough thing with a second-year site is that you've got guys who were there before and then you have guys who weren't there for whatever reason - maybe they got injured or they're rookies - and there's nowhere to go for them. And the guys who were here that year before maybe they're just thinking about it all year, what they want to do, and they tend to build bigger and maybe scarier. Where this is, this year, they are just building to get to the finish line. It tends to be way more relaxed on a first-year venue."


The recent rain storm was a dream for the diggers
The recent rain storm was a dream for the diggers.

No doubt the rain has helped builders and the booters are looking crazy clean.
No doubt the rain has helped builders and the booters are looking crazy clean.

Clean and dialed
Clean and dialled.

Semenuk s line is featuring a unique rock tap
Semenuk's line features unique rock tap.

Booter with a view.
Booter with a view.

Clay Porter listening in on Brendan and his dig team.
Clay Porter listening in on Brendan and his dig team.

Rampage never not epic.
Rampage; never not epic.

Rheeder grooming surely the longest landing on the hill after following the biggest drop.
Rheeder grooming surely the longest landing on the hill following the biggest drop.

The access onto Brendan s big rock about as sketchy as the huck off the other side.
The access onto Brendan's big rock, about as sketchy as the huck off the other side.

Brendog s already famous rock drop... boy is it steep.
Brendog's already famous rock drop... boy is it steep.
Fairclough s rock... visible from space.
Fairclough's rock... visible from space.

Zink and Strait will hit this super sender down to the bottom alongside a couple of others.
Zink and Strait will hit this super sender down to the bottom alongside a couple of others.

Ridges the new sites got em in abundance and that means more cliffs to negotiate.
Ridges: the new sites got 'em in abundance and that means more cliffs to negotiate.

Ethan and Tommy finishing the landing of the biggest drop on the course
Ethan and Tommy finishing the landing of the biggest drop on the course.

This one time at Redbull camp...
This one time, at Red Bull camp...


After getting rained out in the morning, athletes and builders were working constantly yesterday afternoon to repair any damage from the storm and continue to move their lines further up and down the canyon. The tapping of shovels echoed while shouts of excitement and frustration punctuated the occasional trundle. Looking up at this point it is hard to fathom how most of the impressive landings will be fed, especially as the measurements being read off seem unreasonable - but in only four days' time, the best freeriders in the world will make the descent of this monster canyon look unnervingly effortless.


Here we are again Rampage number 13.
Here we are again, Rampage number 13.

Themes of the day i-phones pointing and golden light.
Themes of the day; iPhones, pointing and golden light.

Goodnight from the desert.
Goodnight from the desert.



114 Comments

  • 226 5
 I heard Jordie's line is being cut using fists instead of pic-axes
  • 6 9
 underrated comment
  • 3 6
 Thats Raw
  • 3 7
flag endlessblockades (Oct 23, 2018 at 14:42) (Below Threshold)
 Str8 Sav
  • 7 10
 Is it true that Chuck Norris is part of his dig crew
  • 4 8
flag medievalbiking (Oct 24, 2018 at 0:24) (Below Threshold)
 My buddy Randy already finished his using a toothbrush #justgonnasendit
  • 4 5
 I heard that Jordie is really just a digger and pre-runner for Randy.
  • 56 1
 I sometimes dream that I'm riding Rampage and I can't even finish a run without crashing.
  • 13 4
 I need this printed on a T shirt
  • 13 1
 don't fall off your bed!
  • 12 0
 @ismasan: Haha "Stay on your bed DANNY!"
  • 1 5
flag RedBurn (Oct 23, 2018 at 22:20) (Below Threshold)
 It's rideable, if you have good skills on a Big bike without the huge jumps, you could Make it from top top bottom.
  • 1 0
 @PaskudUPS: sickkk
  • 2 0
 @PaskudUPS: Wow nice man, thanks !
  • 52 0
 Boggs' loop, Brendan's rock, Semenuk with the rock tap, stoked to see some creative features!
  • 13 2
 might be brendan's rock but it's the people's elbow!
  • 5 0
 I don't understand Brendogs rock, is he planning to step up on to it and drop of the other side>
  • 8 0
 @bigburd: Looks like he´s building a small ramp up it, so not jumping onto it - "just" riding onto it. Then dropping off of it. Not entirely sure though.
  • 2 0
 @JimmyGrand:
Yeah I just watched a video on vital where it shows it more clearly, in some ways it's even harder than jumping up to it as he's gonna be turning all the way to the the lip
  • 3 0
 @bigburd: Looks gnarly for sure
  • 55 19
 as much as i love rampage, i really dont like the direction this is going. i wish it was more like the original, using the mountain to make lines instead of making lines on a mountain.
  • 18 1
 At least I like it better than the Oakley wooden drop and other similar stuff they've done those years.
  • 3 1
 so it goes...say goodbye to the OG and enjoy the newer vision...hardly any sport stays the same, cept baseball.
  • 2 0
 They should put referee each lines so no one get robbed
  • 2 1
 @demoflight: Absolutely right! This is the fastest growing bikepark in the world and they´re trying to let it look as natural as possible. How to built a slopestyle/BMX course in the desert of Utah. I exaggerate a little bit but the core is right!

The spirit from 2001-2004 is lost but the sport goes on developing. I will watch it anyway and cheers and respect to the riders Smile !
  • 1 2
 Ya cuz we just wna see guys crash and get hurt...
  • 32 1
 Man I love this event but at the end of the day I don't care who wins...just hope nobody dies.
  • 23 0
 As per usual just a fantastic job on the photo epic here Pinkbike.......keep it up!
  • 14 1
 On and off a mega huge rutty gnarled rock on the side of a cliff is about rampage as heck
  • 22 8
 those chest tats look like amazing pieces. Can we get a Nell tat check?
  • 12 0
 Who pitched in sand bags for Tommy and Ethans landing? Weren't the riders only allotted 30 bags a piece?
  • 32 0
 They've got a cartel connection.
  • 12 1
 Reading this content with a collar bone in 3 pieces makes my spine tingle Don't Die to everyone riding this weekend.
  • 3 0
 I feel you homie. 3 metal plates in my scapula right now. Heal up quickly sir
  • 8 0
 How close together are all these rampage venues? Are they completely different locations or are they kind of just moving to different sections of the same general area?
  • 4 0
 Yeah, they're all within a few miles of each other. Used to be on the north side of the Virgin River & now its on the south side.
  • 5 0
 @kramerica5000: you can check them out on google earth, the new one is not even a mile away from the older site, you can even see the past years line and stuff
  • 4 0
 @kramerica5000: South siiiiide, representen.
  • 9 1
 AGGYY IS BACKKK CAN'T WAIT!
  • 8 1
 When you are so obsessed with big mountain riders you know the dog's name in a pinkbike photo epic.
  • 8 1
 That's no axe, that's a maul.
  • 8 0
 You have my sword And my bow And my maul.
  • 12 7
 When the sponsor is making billions of dollars, but need free volunteers to run its show!
  • 8 5
 billions? You're living in a dream homie.
  • 17 1
 @rideitall-bmx-dh-road-unicycle: he probably means in total. In 2017, red bulls revenue was $7.4bn
  • 5 18
 @Mntneer: eh, not quite. Closer to 6 bill... RB is privately owned so we tell the public what we want to tell them.
  • 3 1
 @rideitall-bmx-dh-road-unicycle: $6bn euros... @Mntneer is correct with $7bn USD
  • 5 2
 @rideitall-bmx-dh-road-unicycle: kinda like what's actually in those cans??
  • 5 9
 @LuvAZ: yep. You're welcome, that can paid for your RB live feed to watch this event. And all the UCI events.
  • 4 13
 @rrsport: great google work. like i said, we tell the public what we want to tell them.
  • 5 4
 @rideitall-bmx-dh-road-unicycle: that's not how finance works. source: any accountant or financial analyst, including myself.
  • 36 4
 Anyone that refers to a $7billion-per-year company as 'we', and makes generalized 'insider' comments about how their employer manipulates sales figures to control the public image, is probably somewhere on the corporate ladder between the guy in the warehouse that pressure washes rat feces off the cans, and the guy that refills the water-coolers for aforementioned pressure-washer techs :p
  • 4 1
 @rideitall-bmx-dh-road-unicycle:

Regardless of whether or not the amount cited is correct, his larger point is not wrong.
  • 6 0
 Leaving in one hour for Virgin. ya boy
  • 5 0
 Holy shit. Talk about earning your money.
-Building it= tough
-riding it = F%$&ING NUTS!!
  • 2 1
 Get online... alert pops up... "watch the world series" this time, this channel, blah blah blah. Me: World Series? What World Series? Hmmm, oooohhhh, it's October... THAT World Series. *Realize I don't know anything about it* I wonder when it is? Wait a second, who's even playing? Huh... I'm watching Rampage. Razz
  • 4 1
 Great photos. Can't wait to see what's on tap this year! BAMFs in their natural habitat...
  • 5 2
 Rampage 13! Should call it 14 like missing out deck 13 on a ship, just saying. Smile
  • 6 0
 On a ship?!! Oh ya I guess some of those massive cruise ships have that many decks. But it's far more common in hotels, apartments, office towers, etc...
  • 3 0
 "Carson Storch peeing down his line"
  • 1 0
 Was my first reading, too! Smile
  • 2 1
 Stoked to see zink out there digging, and by all indicators... planning on riding for the event.
  • 2 0
 Can someone please give the coordinates of Brendons Rock?
  • 1 0
 5RFR+7M Virgin, Utah, USA
  • 1 0
 10/10 would (eventually... well, most likely not) ride.
  • 2 0
 looks amazing great dirt
  • 2 2
 Ethan is holding a pick mattock also known as a pick adze. My students constantly mix the two up as well.
  • 4 3
 Trust me, there was no virgin dirt left out there.
  • 2 3
 ok. I must know the meaning of this Randy Rampage business!
  • 1 1
 @konarider112: Randy is the stig of mountain biking.
  • 1 1
 Anyone else a little nervous for Friday? I get just as nervous for them as I would if I was riding.
  • 1 0
 $%@&$% F$@%^!#@ RAMPAGE
  • 1 0
 So no more wooden features ?
  • 1 0
 Is Zader the most famous bike dog ever??
  • 3 5
 Not that I’m superstitious but could they not have skipped to rampage number 14? Those dudes need all the luck in the world!!
  • 2 4
 Lots of shirtless dudes
  • 9 12
 What about Casey Brown??
  • 36 3
 I see people say this alot, but my question would be why? I think it would be cool to see her ride because she's rad, but as rad as she is, her skill level in not anywhere near the level of the other riders out there. So with that being said, should she be let in simply because shes a woman? Maybe someone should ask her if she would even want that. My guess is she'd likely decline on that basis.
  • 15 3
 @sino428: ^^^ this guy hit the nail on the head. She's not even remotely on the same plane as the riders competing.
  • 10 0
 @sino428: think i read somewhere she said no way at this time but she‘s working her way up to it. she‘s dighing for bas, so that‘s a great start...
  • 8 1
 @sino428: She's part of the dig team this year for Bas. I think he was referring to seeing her in the photo epic. She's been out there working with the guys all week. Good on her and an amazing experience and exposure to this style of riding.
  • 7 0
 @Ohlalaa: yea she made a comment on a recent video somwhere, she's focusing only on freeride and quitting any EWS's.

There's a few women who could be up to it, and maybe they start at the 01-04 venue and work from there. who knows.

Casey has hit some real senders, and Rachel hit alot of things at the 08/10 site in the atherton NWD segement.
  • 2 1
 Would be awesome if there was another woman she could battle with
  • 2 1
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: I also think part of the issue is that its an invite only event. If it were a race or something where she could simply enter and try to beat the guys it would be different. In an event like this she likely wouldn't want to take another deserving rider's spot simply because they want to let a woman in.
  • 2 1
 @Shaylilones: precisely!
  • 1 0
 @sino428: @sino428: there used to be an "unoffical" one a few years ago. Riders like Jacqueline Harmony and few others would freeride at the 01-04 site.
  • 9 1
 She's probably the only girl gnarly enough to think about it right now... but she's nowhere near ready for it.

And look at it this way... she gets an invite... who gets bumped? Which one of those guys is she better than? That is how it needs to be treated. Until then it's a publicity stunt... a dangerous one.

She's digging. She's riding. She's been riding out there. If anyone in this generation of riders can get there it's her but not any time soon. Though I do think it would be sick to see her do it outside of the competition. I'd say she's closer to that... to being able to go top to bottom and film it for herself. Competition is an entirely different conversation. Top to bottom is gnarly enough... top to bottom with backflips, 360's, no handers, etc... That's what's required now.
  • 4 3
 @onemanarmy: everyone thought that in 2010 too when Gee smashed the field without even a bar turn basically. took Cam's iconic 360 drop to win.

Andreu won in 2014 with one flatspin in his run.

The right run, technical, fast, and big can still go a long ways.
  • 3 6
 @sino428: It's just because we like her. It may not be entirely realistic, but she has a much better chance the me and most of the other punters on here....

I'd even say she's better than Randy but I'd get a DV mollywhop for that.
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