Catching Up with 10 Red Bull Formation 2022 Diggers

May 13, 2022
by Alicia Leggett  
Sandbags and tools are carried uphill at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 09 May 2022

The diggers are the unsung heroes of an event like Red Bull Formation. When it comes to building features of this size, three days is almost nothing, and all the teams have been working hard on their lines to make sure they're ready for the three ride days. We caught up with 10 of the diggers yesterday, on the final dig day, to see how the lines were coming along.



Photos by Re Wikstrom


Martha Gill - digging with Robin & Haz

How's the build going?


It's going good, yeah. It's fun, we've got the music playing and some good vibes.

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


Just hanging out with my friends, to be honest. Having a good time digging something that they're going to be stoked on to ride.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


Just having to deal with Robin telling me what to do all the time... nah, joking. Maybe managing your hydration. It's easy to forget about that whilst we're slaving away for our riders.

What's your favorite feature on this line?


There's two sections, one just below the fire road and then down toward the bottom where we've built a completely fresh lip and not rebuilt everything. I think that's pretty cool, to build something from scratch, you just see flat land and then now we've put a lip and a landing there. So that's pretty cool, watched Robin and Haz guinea pig that for the first time today. It was pretty cool to see them get through that and see that it actually works, as well.

What's your favorite tool to use?


I really like the pointy shovel. It really gets deep into the ground. Some people call it a spade. [Editor's note from Alicia: Is this a clever joke about calling a spade a spade?? I hope so.]

Martha Gill Juju Milay Robin Goomes work together to sculpt a take off at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 09 May 2022

Dan Perl - digging with Hannah

How's the build going?


The build's going really well. We've been focused on the top section, which is the drop off the ridge, the straight after that into a tight catch-berm, and then a straight section off a small drop. That catch-berm is really, really crucial because they're going to be nuking off the top. We've also just been dialing in that drop off the top and the landing, making them really nice for them.

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


The food. Lentine's food. [Hannah: "If you didn't say that, I was going to say for you."] Lentine has been crushing it. She's been getting us really good ingredients and combos, like we've been having salmon and steak with all sorts of veggies and carbs to go with it.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


Carrying the water up to the top, because we've been focused on the top so exclusively. All three days, actually. The highest the water [is brought by truck] is like halfway up the hill, so we're going up and down from the midway point to the tippy-top with backpacks of water every hour or more.

What's your favorite feature on this line?


The only feature I've been working on! Which is the entrance, which is how I would have it. It's spicy and zesty and a little techy and I love it. I'm stoked to watch Hannah and Casey hit it.

What's your favorite tool to use?


I've mostly just been using a spade, along with the water backpack. We have a Trail Boss tool with two different heads, a spade and a Rogue hoe. The Trail Boss is a tool that breaks apart into multiple pieces so you can pack it with you.

Hannah Bergemann plans her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 08 May 2022
HB and digger Dan Perl survey the queendom.

Phil McLean - digging with Georgia

How's the build going?


It's pretty good. It's been kind of a lot to take on at the top, but we got that done, and we're just trying to link our way to the bottom. Luckily, we're working with three other teams I think, so it shouldn't be too bad.

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


The ease of moving dirt. It's too easy to move it.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


The rock, really. The rock and the heat.

What's your favorite feature on this line?


Probably the drop just above this. And it'll be cool to see what the girls are going to do on that trick jump down there. That'll be sick.

What's your favorite tool to use?


The shovel. Can't really beat it.

Chelsea Kimball works on her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 10 May 2022
Alex Showerman uses sandbags to shape a berm at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 12 May 2022
It's slow, tough work, but it's definitely rewarding. Left: Chelsea Kimball packs dirt on a big, technical drop in her line. Right: Alex Showerman builds a catch-berm in a crucial spot.

CJ Selig - digging with Chelsea

How's the build going?


Chiller. We've done a lot of hard work, but we've had a lot of good help and it's gone really smoothly.

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


When Terry and Spangler show up with water.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


When they don't show up with water. It makes a big difference.

What's your favorite feature on this line?


We've been working mainly on two drops, and I like the combo of them together. The first one's quite technical; we had to really do a lot of engineering to get the landing put together, whereas the second one is kind of one of those fun drop, nice wide landings that we just got to kind of have fun with.

What's your favorite tool to use?


The pick axe!

Juju Milay Mike Ross stack rocks for a landing at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 10 May 2022
Juju Milay and Mike Ross stack rocks to build a landing.

Juju Milay - digging with Haz & Robin

How's the build going?


Really good. Tiring, but really good.

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


Just being able to connect with the riders, and seeing the lines they're choosing and how they're crafting their lines has been really rewarding. I've just been learning the whole process of designing the jumps and the lines and everything. It's just been fun to be amongst amazing, dope women.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


The heat! I got sunburned for the first time in my life. Normally I'm okay, but yeah, the sunburn was really bad. The heat has been really difficult as well. Everything is so dry. The North Shore is where I bike, so everything's so wet.

What's your favorite feature on this line?


I think that one of my favorite features that we worked on is on the top, kind of looker's right, where Robin and Haz will be dropping in. Just kind of hacking that away and trying to create space for them, and also recognizing and seeing how exposed it is. The adrenaline in that one is kind of sketchy, but I'm excited for that.

What's your favorite tool to use?


The shovel, actually!

Sam Soriano s diggers Griff and Joel finish up Sam s line at Red Bull Formation on May 12 2022 in Virgin Utah.
Sam Soriano's crew makes it happen.

Joel Shockley - digging with Sam

How's the build going?


It's going great!

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


I love that it's not a competition, and everyone's just hyping each other up and everyone's helping each other out. It's not a competition like Rampage.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


Just the steep terrain, and the lack of water. You have to hike it to your lips and landings where you need to pack it. It's just steep getting water up the mountain.

What's your favorite feature on this line?


A favorite is probably the drop right here. There's a nice long runway out of it.

What's your favorite tool to use?


I like the Rogue we have. It's just a single-sided blade, about as wide as a shovel, 90-degree on it. It's good for moving dirt, chipping rock, it's probably one of my favorites.

Athletes and diggers finish prepping lines at Red Bull Formation on May 12 2022 in Virgin Utah.
It takes a village.

Oscar "Tobo" Gutierrez - digging with Cami

How's the build going?


Pretty good so far! It's been pretty easy, like chill stuff. Well, this [large stepdown] is not chill, but the building is good!

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


The progression of the chicks is like, wow! It's on another level. I'm stoked on that.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


That someone stole our tools! Well, not stole, but borrowed without asking. But no, it's been such a good time.

What's your favorite feature on this line?


Maybe this big stepdown. I'm stoked on this!

What's your favorite tool to use?


The shovel for sure. I love it.

Chelsea Kimball wraps up the final dig day at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah.
Hiking water backpacks around on the mountain has been a challenge, but it's resulted in some solid lips and landings. Chelsea Kimball isn't afraid to work hard.

Dakoda Osusky - digging with Vaea

How's the build going?


The build's going great. It's been super fun. We've got some revisions up there to switch it up a little bit, it's been super awesome. It's going well.

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


The dirt. It's super easy to work with. You can't beat it. It just packs super well, you add just a little bit of water to it and can just shape it - it's like Play-Doh.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


The hardest part, for this build, is just the water, just hiking it. That's about it.

What's your favorite feature on this line?


I'd say the hip. It's very photogenic up there. Any way you look at it, with someone hitting it, it'll look so insane.

What's your favorite tool to use?


My good old Anvil flathead shovel right here. I just got a new one, I broke one yesterday or two days ago. It's the best for packing and shaping.

Michelle Parker joins the dig crews at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 09 May 2022
Michelle Parker is one of a handful of OG female athletes here to help the girls dig and provide mentorship along the way.

Claire Buchar - floating digger

How's the build going?


It's actually going quite well. There's one stubborn rock and quartz shelf in the middle of this lander, and this is one of Vaea's scarier features, but other than that, the landing's filling in really nicely 'cause there's lots of material around it and above it to grab from and then you just kind of rake it on and fill it all in, and then we just need water and packing down and the last layer, and it should be solid for her.

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


I think you feel like you're part of a team and you're accomplishing a goal with a group of people for one of the riders. On course walk day, when Vaea explained what she wanted her line to be, I just wanted to make it happen for her. I think we are! It's pretty cool.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


Just being out in the elements for me. The heat, the dry, and the dust, and the wind. All those things take a toll on you pretty quickly, but you just kind of have to endure it, and you know you're going to get a rest and refresh. We've been fueled really well with food and snacks and hydration, so we're pretty lucky. I can't imagine not having that.

What's your favorite feature on this line?


Well, the whole thing is pretty sick. From the very top, the top drop in - I just love Vaea's line because it's so her style. It's gnarly, powerful, big jumps, flowy... I'm surprised at how it actually flows out here in this janky environment. I don't know if I have a favorite feature, but that massive moto step-down is pretty sweet.

What's your favorite tool to use?


Right now, the rake comes in handy because I'm just raking stuff and it's making it really easy. But that [digging bar] Brooklyn has - I was going off on that this morning, and if we didn't have that, it would be pretty hard. And that pick is good because it's super light, so you can swing it pretty easily and just smash stuff.

Hannah Bergemann works on a shared entrance from the ridge at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 10 May 2022
Vero Sandler Sam Hodgson shape the take off to a shared step up at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 12 May 2022
Left: That drop-in looks gnarly in the photos, and as we all know, photos rarely do justice to lines like this. Right: With jumps as big as these, it's important to have the lips and landings dialed.

Micayla Gatto - floating digger

How's the build going?


The builds seem to be going really well. I was here for days one and two. I'm on the media side of things today, so I can't really speak to what's happening today, but things are looking like they're buffing out really nicely. I think we're nearing the end of the builds. I see a lot more water being thrown down, a lot more packing and buffing rather than actual building, so that's a really good sign. I think even some of the girls have sessioned the lower parts of their courses, so it's all coming together!

What's the best part of digging at Formation?


Well, the best part of digging is the people you dig with. But here, I think it's pretty cool how the land does break away. Along as you've got a lot of water on hand, it's pretty easy digging. There aren't any roots or anything and there's plenty of soil to work with.

What's the hardest part of digging at Formation?


The hardest part of digging here, I would say, is you need a lot of water, and we're in the desert, and that's hard to come by. But the staff here, Randy, Terry, and Spangler, have done a fantastic job of getting water to places we did not know were possible, so huge shout-out to them. And the exposure! If you're afraid of heights, don't come here.

What's your favorite feature you're worked on here?


Well, to be honest, I've just kind of helped bench out the side of the cliff so the riders don't fall off the side of the mountain, so it's not really a fun feature, but I think it's a vital feature to be able to continue down to all the fun stuff.

What's your favorite tool to use?


I like the pick axe or Pulaski. Those are dope. Those get the job done.

Harriet Burbidge-Smith Robin Goomes Martha Gill Juju Milay pack dirt and shape a take off at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 09 May 2022



17 Comments

  • 14 0
 Epic lines. Awesome to see the progression. Would love to see a live streamed event showcasing each athlete riding their lines. Seems like the best way to increase the number and scale of these events in by boosting viewers.
  • 11 0
 As a trail worker/oddballer I think I may get just as stoked about seeing the digging as the riding. Awesome coverage
  • 4 0
 yeah - maybe I am not the only one that wants to have a "Tool Check"? Seems like the shovel is the main tool (which is mine as well) but need more info like what brand, fiberglass vs wood, lie (like a hockey stick) and any mods.
  • 4 0
 @defconfour: Lol, yes. Standard pick is still king for me, with resin handle for boulder prying power. Keep the bladed end sharp on the grinder, pointed end only for rocks. Can just get through anything with that sucker.
Though after being shunned for many years, lately I've taken a shine lately to the flat shovel. Trail just looks so damned buffed afterwards.
  • 3 0
 @DirkMcClerkin: a lot depends on location, type of trail and material. Flat shovels are king for our crew and have been for years (Craftsmen is the brand of choice) but we farm NJ clay and usually build dirt jump style stuff. For the singletrack shit I've been working on with a layer of thick organic it's been the spade for rough out and then the flat to give the final course.

But a pick axe is always nice to have and is a must have for one of our dirt jump spots with clay that hardens to concrete levels!

And leaf and steel rakes are really nice to have for both singletrack and DJ building.
  • 7 0
 Is Blake Hansen digging this year?!
  • 7 0
 Her attitude is awesome
  • 4 0
 Pretty incredible how fast this event is progressing, in terms of the event itself. The digging is also progressing ; ) Cannot WAIT to see these lines get sent.
  • 4 0
 Going to be really interesting seeing how these lines blend up with the individual riders style.
  • 2 0
 Juju getting sunburned is relatable. The sun in Vancouver is sooo mild. Visitors from up North always fail to recognize what a dangerous scorching fireball of radiation and misery the sun actually is.
  • 3 0
 Dan is my favorite
  • 3 0
 Hannah/Dan 2024
  • 2 0
 Big lines
  • 2 0
 I like to bikes!
  • 1 0
 Diggers are the life blood…..RESPECT!
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