Interview: Katie Holden Explains How Formation Is More Than "Women's Rampage"

Oct 12, 2019
by Brian Park  



Katie Holden has been leading the charge on women's freeride for years. And now she's spearheading a project that's brought some of the world's top female riders to Utah to test themselves against the rugged terrain of the 2015 Rampage site. We sat down with Katie to learn a bit more about Formation.





What is Formation?


Formation is a women’s freeride progression session, and an opportunity to give the girls the tools to learn, grow, and push women’s freeride forward. We’re at the 2015 Rampage site, with 6 women creating lines and riding them. It’s not a competition, it’s about learning the process.

The format is 2 days of digging, then 1 day of rest, and then 2 full days of riding. There’s also a curriculum layer with some workshops for some dialogue around women in action sports. Developing those skills, talking about what that looks like and how we can be a part of it.

Photo by Paris Gore
Photo by Paris Gore
Photo by Paris Gore

Photo by Paris Gore
Photo by Paris Gore
Photo by Paris Gore

We have Micayla Gatto, Tahnee Seagrave, Vaea Verbeeck, Veronique Sandler, Hannah Bergemann, and Vinny Armstrong out here, and each of them brought two diggers along. Some of the diggers are girls we think potentially will take part in the camp in future years. There are also Casey Brown, Tara Geiger, Michelle Parker, Rebecca Rusch, and Jill Kintner out here to help support and make this happen. Tyler McCaul and Carson Storch are also involved and we appreciate their support.

Photo by Paris Gore


How did the event come to be?


At the beginning, I personally had a dream to compete at Rampage one day. And the path to that dream was to go out to Rampage and digging every year, riding with the guys, and putting myself in a position where I could grow. At the end of the day I didn’t have what it takes on my own, but I learned all the tools in the process.

I’ve been dreaming about a women’s camp in my sketchbook for years. I’ve made all these little business plans, but never really outwardly expressed…
Photo by Paris Gore

Then last year at Rampage we had a bunch of girls together and a few people at Red Bull and had this great round table discussion. That led to this summer, when I was in touch with Red Bull and asked if this is something they would like to do, and they were 100% behind it.

Photo by Paris Gore


What do you hope to achieve?


First off, the goal is not just a “Women’s Rampage.” We’re doing this so we can grow as a group, and find the right path for us. We don’t know what that path is just yet, but this is an important part of it.

On a top level, we have three “Pillars of Formation” that are goals for each of the athletes here. The goal is for each of them to progress and develop as a freeride athlete, develop the future of women’s freeride, and refine one’s personal brand and leadership skills.

But mostly, there’s just a real power in seeing 6 girls out here charging.

Photo by Paris Gore
Photo by Paris Gore

Photo by Paris Gore
Photo by Paris Gore

Photo by Paris Gore


How has it gone so far?


The builds are done and the girls are riding this weekend.

It was really cool to see that “exposure therapy” at work. When we first arrived I saw real fear in the girls’ eyes, but within an hour there was a total transformation, with everyone seeing lines and getting excited. After a few days the comfort level has just skyrocketed.

I am so excited to see the girls feed off each other this weekend. They’re super supportive. I’m also really excited to see Hannah Bergermann ride. She’s a dark horse for sure, not many people have seen her ride, and it’s very obvious how good she is out here.

I think there are some nerves now as well, but there’s a lot of confidence too. They know what they’re capable of and have good judgement. There’s no competitive pressure here, we just want them to progress in whatever way feels natural and right for them.
Photo by Paris Gore

Photo by Paris Gore
Photo by Paris Gore

Photo by Paris Gore
Photo by Paris Gore

Photo by Paris Gore


Awesome. We're looking forward to seeing what goes down this weekend!




131 Comments

  • 147 1
 Awesome initiative, great to see that the women's freeride field is progressing!
  • 32 111
flag pinnityafairy (Oct 13, 2019 at 7:21) (Below Threshold)
 Progressing? Back in the day Missy the missile went bigger than most of the guys! Study some mountain bike history.
  • 92 0
 Katie is one tough girl. ON a DH Freeride expedition I witnessed a rock fall off a mountain side and hit her so hard that her helmet broke biting her tongue while her seat broke from the post by the impact and threw and her bike over the edge clinging to some foliage 4 feet down. This was in Jamaica half way down an 11 mile descent. NO chopper rescue available. McCaul and Ebbett saved her life as I was just the 3rd arm of the chain lifting her to safety. Kyle and Cam then rescued her bike that was 12 feet down the side of Blue Mountain stuck on a tree growing from the mountain side. She spit out a mouthful of blood and told me to pack her post her pack as she turned around. Then tossed the seat to the mountain groms and said..LETS BOOGIE and then straitened her bars and ripped another 4.5 miles constantly dropping me. One tough cookie I will admire my whole life. Not just an ambassador of dirt but an actually wonderful human.
  • 68 27
 Cool story, but hopefully this mentality fades away-one of not checking your head and 'being tough' and 'boogying' after head trauma, no matter how small/minor.
  • 20 2
 @yakimonti: i said hold it Holden you need to take 5 to assess the personal damage.. she looked at me and i remember it well.. Lets just finish the tour asap...Im good just bruised and scraped up...nothing broken. Off we went.
  • 12 0
 @yakimonti: we've all done it. High stakes or not.
  • 39 13
 We share a big part of our biology with humans who were fighting sabertooth tigers and other humans using spears, stones and clubs. Social structures of the tribes not only cherished courage and acts of heroism, they required it. That is a huge part of us for hundreds of thousands of years, time longer than what it takes plutonium to decays, while brain injury science is barely 50 years old. With this software in the head that has evolved into “oh got hit in the head by a rock, I have to keep fighting for the other guy to not kill me and my tribe to not banish me for being a weakling” surrender/fight problem, it is hard to expect people to react accordingly to what science and modern social structures tell us, then for onlookers to be able to tell these people out of continuing doing whatever they were doing. It is also an evolutionary reaction to condemn people for not reacting accordingly to what seems to be a social norm, so even though I despise safety-first kind of people I understand where they are coming from. We simply cannot trust ourselves, we need other people around. We are capable of rationalizing anything, it all depends on circumstances.
  • 8 0
 @yakimonti: I agree, but in that context it may have been the fastest and safest way to get off the mountain for medical attention.
I've had to make a similar decision while backcountry skiing. I could wait for hours for a helicopter, or try to ski out and get driven to emerg - turned out to be a lot faster.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: @WAKIdesigns: You should read @rideslikeamother 's most recent IG post. It's a very relevant thing that no one discusses. I think people should be more open to the dangers and consequences of injury.
www.instagram.com/p/B3hkYzdHiYf/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
  • 5 4
 @kevinmartins: Thanks for sharing. That was good. But I think you should also encourage people to read other posts. I think we should talk about all sides of it. I am currently exploring the subject of carefulness. How dangerous it is. It scares the sht out of me, because I see how it drives people’s decisions how it can poison us just as much as “f*ck it, let’s go”. And I am not speaking solely about riding bikes. But damn, it can bite you when riding your bike. You want to ride mountain bikes carefully? good luck... I’ll visit you in the hospital. When I hear squeling brakes and a middle aged givure appears on a bike that is so totmented with bad posture and use of brakes it desperately tries to throw the rider off on any occasion... I find it as disturbing as photo sequence of Brook McDonalds crash, as Rogatkin getting up after fall from 30ft cliff and continuing riding. Because I know from my own experience: you don’t need a 50ft drop at Rampage to sustain brain injury. 3ft is enough. All you need is “I better be careful” whispered to oneself 10ft from the edge”
  • 1 8
flag nvranka (Oct 13, 2019 at 18:46) (Below Threshold)
 @kevinmartins: don’t have Instagram, soooo yeah.
  • 28 9
 A funeral, rain, young woman crying, priest asks: is there anyone who would like to say something? Man in the lumberjack shirt: I am vegan. Girl with green hair and a tatto on her neck: I do crossfit. @nvranka: I don’t have instagram
  • 5 1
 MAJOR CORRECTION DUE TO MY STUPIDITY CONFUSED 2 WONDERFUL FEMALE RIDERS.....
last try{
KATHY PRUITT is one tough girl. ON a DH Freeride expedition I witnessed a rock fall off a mountain side and hit her so hard that her helmet broke biting her tongue while her seat broke from the post by the impact and threw and her bike over the edge clinging to some foliage 4 feet down. This was in Jamaica half way down an 11 mile descent. NO chopper rescue available. McCaul and Ebbett saved her life as I was just the 3rd arm of the chain lifting her to safety. Kyle and Cam then rescued her bike that was 12 feet down the side of Blue Mountain stuck on a tree growing from the mountain side. She spit out a mouthful of blood and told me to pack her post her pack as she turned around. Then tossed the seat to the mountain groms and said..LETS BOOGIE and then straitened her bars and ripped another 4.5 miles constantly dropping me. One tough cookie I will admire my whole life. Not just an ambassador of dirt but an actually wonderful human.
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: You meant Zuckerberg doesn't have YOU.
  • 45 0
 Would love to see some more coverage of this, maybe some vid highlights.
  • 6 0
 Redbull is down the road. Wish they would.
  • 6 0
 its all still happening - I am sure there will be vids and photos, Paris Gore is there, follow all the people on insta and you will see - just be patient - Ia m sure it will all come
  • 20 0
 @pinnityafairy: Missy was great, but you miss the point. It's about getting more and more woman into the sport. I don't need to study the history. I lived it and started racing and riding in 1988. If you stood in a Whistler lift line in 2005 it was almost 100% dudes. Stand in a Whistler lift line today and it's almost equal. Boys and girls, Men and Woman... all high fiving. That's what it's about.
  • 22 0
 Best place to watch??
  • 14 1
 It a jam format and not a competition. As far as we know there's no live broadcast of it.
  • 2 0
 @jazzawil: I wish
  • 5 0
 There's a lot of clips on Instagram
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Ah darn, that would be a good watch.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: That's a real shame. Hopefully there'll be a nice movie for our Monday.
  • 18 0
 Cool event!
Surprising @chelseasendsit didn't get a invite though, tons of experience riding that area and hucks flips!
  • 4 0
 she is #1
  • 12 0
 This is so awesome. I hope some one is recording/broadcast or something even if it's just a you tube video it should be watchable. Allot of aspiring lady shredders looking up to these ladies
  • 11 1
 So amazing. I'm almost more excited for this than rampage.
I love the progression. I love that there's workshops on how to better promote & build the culture.
I also hope that it's well represented from the media in the future.
  • 9 0
 Yes! A dream is that these initiatives will become more commonplace. My daughter needs more positive role models!
  • 8 0
 Yes!! This is rad. My wife has been following this very closely and is freaking pumped about it. It amps her up to go ride and progress which is great. I love this.
  • 10 0
 Hopefully we’ll see a photo epic..!
  • 8 0
 Hannah's no dark horse if you live in Bellingham! She's out there every day sending the biggest shit with a gentle ease. Rad to see an event that lets her skills shine.
  • 17 13
 Love that its a rider fueled low-key event, like the glory days of freeride. Some of the baddest ass women shredders on the planet sending it. Yeeeeow! So looking forward to the coverage. Delusional male chauvinists would crawl back under their rocks and never come out again if they even tried to walk some of these lines hahahaha...
  • 12 15
 Well done on having pretty much the only sexist comment on an otherwise fantastically modern and progressive comments thread...way to ruin it
  • 4 0
 Progression is the best feeling on a bike. There are lots a talented woman riders ready to push the bar. I hope this inspires more woman to take up the sport and realize anything is possible if you believe in your self. Sorry but I want to see a woman Rampage style competition with prize money to reflect the amount of effort , courage and skill involved. I predict more woman doing back flips. How cool would that be !
  • 3 0
 There's a lot already. Just check out the Women's Slopestyle Tour, I wish there were more of these women at Rampage
  • 3 0
 You would have if they would have invited @chelseasendsit or @kayleegibb. Both of those girls have back flipped and sent it big at the old rampage site. Maybe next year.
  • 6 0
 This is awesome,I'll be checking in for the footage
  • 7 0
 What a casting!
  • 7 2
 About bloody time. Waiting for the day when guys and girls are mixing it up together at Rampage and other freeride events.
  • 4 2
 Waiting for the day when the lion lays down with the lamb and the angels win the pennant.
  • 1 0
 @mm732: Waiting for the day when the Warriors win the NRL.
  • 5 0
 This is so freaking awesome. So much love for these riders. History in motion.
  • 4 0
 The ladies should bring rampage back to its roots and concentrate on natural lines and drops. Leave the flips to cranworx and keep it as natural as they can.
  • 2 1
 Agreed! Rampage has just become desert slopestyle, with every inch of every line completely manicured. Having this be natural (like back in the day rampage) would be awesome.
  • 5 0
 Go, Riders, go!!!
  • 4 0
 Shred it up ladies! Represent Hannah!!
  • 3 0
 This is really exciting. A great concept and beautiful photos. Looking forward to seeing more.
  • 4 0
 Send it ladies! My daughter and I are so stoked on this.
  • 3 0
 Hannah’s POV video of her line on instagram today was so sick. Massive features, full commitment, stomped it.
  • 1 0
 This is sick, so good to see women’s action sports pushing forward. I think within the next 10 years we will see more women competing on the same platform with the same audience and exposure. Long live women’s freeride!
  • 1 1
 PInkbike gestapo at it again I see deleting comments they deem unfit......lots of replies on my dashboard that don't deserve to be discussed in an open forum I guess. We must all agree this even is revolutionary and amazing or be silenced Wink
  • 4 0
 Super cool Salute
  • 4 0
 Love the concept
  • 4 0
 Should be exciting...
  • 4 0
 rad!
  • 4 0
 This is awesome!
  • 3 0
 If you build it they will come
  • 4 0
 Out fucking standing!
  • 3 0
 This rampage give girls)))
  • 7 7
 they have to have this event out in the desert to keep thirsty dudes away. Any woman who has ridden a lift at a bike park knows what I’m talking about.

Some of y’all guys have no shame.
  • 6 2
 They're the same ones complaining about not enough women riders... just let the women shred!
  • 3 0
 This is pretty rad. Best of luck!
  • 2 0
 So rad! All Riders Equal. Incredible work, so excited to see what the future has in store for Freeride.
  • 1 0
 This is awesome!!! The bravery it takes to ride that terrain is almost unfathomable. I hope there will be some vids and picutres afterwards (Pinkbike?) :-)
  • 4 1
 Freeride is the future.
  • 3 0
 Makin’ berms!
  • 1 0
 Y'all BT fellas really are a shining example of modern, enlightened, masculinity.
  • 1 0
 @micaylagotto has been dropping pics and vids on her IG. Too cool.
  • 1 0
 Sandler ( ͡* ͜ʖ ͡*)
  • 10 10
 so this is basically the women's version of Rampage then?
  • 2 4
 Yep pretty much.
  • 7 0
 “ First off, the goal is not just a “Women’s Rampage.” We’re doing this so we can grow as a group, and find the right path for us. ”

It’s not televised, competitive or judged, so no. It’s much more like a Fest event at the rampage site.
  • 1 0
 Amazing stuff
  • 3 4
 Free the ride, free the women!
  • 4 5
 equal rides for all
  • 2 3
 Shaboiinnggg
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