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