Interview: Vaea Verbeeck on Women Competing at Red Bull Rampage

Sep 23, 2023
by Brian Park  
Formation 2022. Photo Katie Lozancich Outside
Vaea at Formation 2022. Photo: Katie Lozancich.

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Red Bull Rampage is the largest, most important freeride mountain bike event in the world. Rampage historically hasn't included a separate women's category, but Red Bull has been promoting the development of women's freeride through a non-competition event called Formation that's held on the same terrain.

This year Formation was cancelled, leading some to speculate that Rampage might include a women's field. When the Rampage rider list came out last week, we were disappointed to see neither a women's field nor a public plan to integrate women into the event.

Alicia Leggett and I sat down with Vaea Verbeeck, one of the original Formation riders and a future Rampage hopeful, to hear her thoughts about the situation. The podcast is above if you'd like to listen to us ramble. Alternatively, a condensed transcript of the most relevant parts is below.

Brian: Red Bull Rampage is a big Superbowl-sized thing. That's why it's important, and that's also why the topic today is why women don't yet have that opportunity. But to back up a bit, can you speak a bit to how Formation came to be and what Formation is?

Vaea: Yeah, Formation came about in 2019, after a very long time with those question marks in place of, "huh, yeah, there aren't women in Rampage," with tons and tons of valid reasons at that point in time. Katie Holden was kind of the mastermind at that time. She created Formation. She was one of the female riders, that wanted to compete at Rampage historically, and there's just wasn't a space there. So she went there as a digger, and tried to take in as much information as she could. And then she eventually called a handful of us and said, "Okay, bear with me. What if we take all of the five of you guys, we go to Virgin for a week and. Dig and ride and you know, Rampage style idea, but, let's just dip our toes in and let you guys have a taste for that."

All of us had a downhill world cup careers at that point in time, because it was the only possible outlet. Um, there was Hannah Bergman, she was racing Enduro World Series at that time. And we were all kind of doing side project videos that showed that we were more than just racers. So yeah, but at that time when we got the call, it was stressful. I'd never done or tried anything like this. It looks cool but you're taking the risk on your current contract that are not aligned with freeride.

We're not the kind of people to say no to trying new things, and from going there and doing it, that's where the learning curve got instantly so crazy steep. And we all went in there knowing that it was a first thing for the sport to gather the group of women and trying to replicate something like that.

So it was all super important for us to go at it the right way and not psych ourselves out, get super hurt and never want to do it again, but rather just go there, do it properly, learn so much and be stoked to go again. And, um, you know, double up the following year, which after that, it just went super crazy. We, we, we started super conservative and now it's full blown Rampage.

The Venue at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 10 May 2022
Photo: Alicia Leggett

Brian: It is definitely not conservative anymore, for sure. Despite all the recent progression, I think it's worth saying that there have always been rad women on bikes doing rad sh*t, and whether it's Carys Evans on Rocky Mountain back in the day, or Stephanie Nychka, Katie Holden, Casey Brown, etc. Who did you look up to on that side as you were coming up Vaea?

Vaea: Well, when I was racing, it was like Claire Buchar, Katrina Strand, those were the girls from BC, Canada that I was more exposed to because they were also on the racing scene. But they were definitely not uncomfortable getting out of their comfort zone. I think the biggest thing though is there have been, for a really long time, women in freeride, but it's just that we, the public, or someone like myself that was in the racing culture. They didn't get exposed to [women's freeride] because they weren't getting that reach such as Red Bull Rampage. Like, you're aware of all those dudes but you're not getting aware of all those women because they're not on that stage, they're on their own thing which doesn't reach everyone.

Alicia: Totally. I think it's a really big part too, just to have a place where they show up in a high concentration. It's like these women can be out there doing whatever they're doing and you can come across them once in a while [in media], but it's just a one-off experience. Whereas starting in the early 2000s, the guys had a place where they could all show up and if you were there, you would see more dudes throwing backflips than you ever imagined could have existed. And women just didn't really have that until just now.

Formation 2022. Photo Katie Lozancich Outside
Hannah Bergemann at Formation 2022. Photo: Katie Lozancich.

Brian: That is one of the sort of crux points about this whole thing: it's a spectacle. Rampage is mountain biking's opportunity to go beyond its borders, to go beyond racing or trail riding. And historically, it's been amazing that brands like Red Bull have made this event happen. And yeah, it's made people's careers. So at 2022 Formation, it looked fairly positive to get women into Rampage, right?

Vaea: Yeah, 2022 was the third edition of Formation. We had 2019, 2020 was held off, obviously, because of the pandemic. And then we had 2021 and then 2022. And between '19 and '21, it was much bigger drops build like crazy exposure. It was really cool, especially just from one to a second ever edition. And then from '21 to '22, again, it was like a different site—actually it was the same site as the 2019 one, which was so sick because instead of just carving your goat path on the hillside, it was like, "no, we're just going to drop the whole double cliff and going straight down." It was straight up, Rampage lines.

I want to clarify, Formation was built in a way that the access from media there was there was very small and restricted. We wanted to tell the story but the number one goal is to have the riders they're a hundred percent comfortable to push themselves because that's what we're trying to do is to create this bigger pool of freeriders who haven't had the time and experience through their careers, for obvious reasons. So it was pretty contained. There's no public allowed.

Long story short, the hype and the, the momentum behind 2022 was so big and the people that were on site. Once we were there and the people from Red Bull also that were there supporting Formation got just so psyched on what they could see, and just the massive storytelling that was going on before their eyes. And so that's when, yeah, that momentum was like, "cool, okay, let's definitely talk about women in Rampage." So they, as in the people from Red Bull that were there, decided to sit a few of the riders down and talk about, okay, "what does that look like? How could we make that happen so that it works for the riders? That works for the event? What does it look like?"

So that's where we were like "Sick. Let's definitely talk about it. Let's definitely make a plan." And we wanted to keep Formation as what it is, to have the next wave of freeriders that could see us in Rampage and be like, "This is awesome. I want to do that." And then have that platform goal to go into Formation, get ready. Have that platform and rite of passage. So submitting yourself into a Rampage would be like, "okay, you've attended at least one Formation and that was a success." And so you may move on, you know?

All those conversations were happening. And so that's where it was a bit difficult for 2023 where, when they brought back that conversation back to us, it wasn't about women in Rampage. It was about evolving Formation into something like a competition. And that's where us, the riders, said, "We hear what you're saying. But also, for one, it's defeating the purpose of what Formation is actually creating for the sport. And for two, if Formation is the end of the road for women in freeride, that means we're not putting ourselves on that stage. We're not getting the mainstream public to see women doing that stuff. That reach and all those, you know, OG freeride women that I never got to see growing up. We need to fix that in order to grow the entire sport and make the future Rampages women's categories be absolutely mind-blowing. It needs to start with seeing it on that stage.

bigquotesAnd so that's where it was a bit difficult for 2023 where, when they brought back that conversation back to us, it wasn't about women in Rampage. It was about evolving Formation into something like a competition.Vaea Verbeeck

Harriet Burbidge-Smith hits the drop to step-up on ride day 1 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021
Harriet Burbidge-Smith hits the drop to step-up at Red Bull Formation 2021. Photo: Re Wikstrom.

Brian: Yeah, that's super important because one of the objections you see on social media is like, "well, Formation didn't get as many views as Rampage last year." Well, as you said, it wasn't intended for that, it was intended to be an incubator, not a pure media spectacle like Rampage. And also, it's not Rampage. Rampage has had 20-something years to mature and be a thing that people latch onto, and that's why we want women at Rampage.

Alicia: And that's kind of a central idea. Rampage is the pinnacle of what people can do in freeride. No second tier event is ever going to get that viewership, because Rampage is the ultimate event.

Vaea: I wanted to add to that the viewing or the willingness from the public about formation was actually super, super strong. Obviously, yes, given it wasn't the kind of media or the reach of the platform that Rampage is, it was so strong and so there was just so much potential in it that. [Everyone was] super excited, "let's definitely dig into it and make it happen." So it's not that there's a lack of return on investment. It's not that Red Bull's like, "Oh, Formation is not doing nearly as good. Let's drop it and cancel it." That's really not what the conversation is about. It was more so they wanted to evolve Formation, versus we want to evolve women into Rampage.

The back and forth conversation created, at first having to postpone Formation from Spring 2023 to be September 2023, to give us a bit more time to go back and forth with Red Bull with what it looks like if we are going to do Formation as a competition. Our ask is that if we're going to write what the end of the road looks like, it better be right. And the back and forth just takes more time, takes more logistics, takes more budget on their end. And eventually it just has to be, okay, we have to pull the plug for 2023.
bigquotesSo it's not that there's a lack of return on investment. It's not that Red Bull's like, "Oh, Formation is not doing nearly as good. Let's drop it and cancel it." That's really not what the conversation is about.Vaea Verbeeck

Brian: So do you feel like it was going to happen but they just ran out of time?

Vaea: Honestly, it was pretty quiet after the back and forth. It got quiet. And so my assumption is that the added logistics and budget on their end made it not possible to happen in 2023. That's my assumption, because I know in my heart, I know in what we've lived and discussed with them, I know that they want it as much as we do. It's just that we maybe don't see eye to eye at what it looks like.

Brian: Yeah. I personally agree that Rampage should have a women's field and Formation has a great track record [of elevating women's freeride]. You can look at the sport five years ago and today and see how Formation is achieving its goals, so let's keep doing that. I think I was pretty naive. My reaction in the spring when Formation got postponed and then canceled was like, "Oh, okay, I guess that means we're gonna see women at Rampage this year."

Alicia: I think kind of a lot of us thought that. It would have made sense.

Vaea: Yeah, honestly, it's been an interesting time having this conversation now that the Rampage 2023 roster has been out and people see there is a no women's category. It's been kind of a weird blessing that Formation 2023 didn't happen because what I'm seeing now is people saying, "oh, why is there no women at Rampage?" And instead of the conversation ending at someone saying, "well women have Formation, that's their Rampage," and people are going, "Oh, cool, sorry, I didn't know about Formation"—which, no kidding, you didn't know about Formation, it's not on that stage. It's not getting that kind of advertising, which is what we're trying to actually fix. Yeah, it doesn't end there. It's also now opening the conversation that we want to see women at Rampage. We want to, you know, we, the riders, women want to see women at rampage too.

So I think it's cool that things actually ended up playing that way because it's opening the conversation a lot more now than if it just ended with dealing with Formation.

Formation 2022. Photo Katie Lozancich Outside
Nogueira launches into the snakepit at the bottom of the course. Photo: Katie Lozancich

Brian: I'm paraphrasing other people's perspectives here, not my own, but I have seen a perspective out there where people say "Rampage is really dangerous, and if creating a new field with unknown factors increases the risk dramatically of somebody dying on live television, why would a marketing company want to do that?" But Vaea you had a really good point when we were chatting a few days ago that's the injury rate isn't what some might expect from the women's field.

Vaea: Well, yeah, for sure. There definitely shouldn't be any difference between a woman having a crash and the guy having the same crash. We're just mountain bikers, we're built for it. We've ridden our entire freaking careers, same thing. But yeah, when I think about a first field of women going into Rampage, like I said, the way we approached our first Formation edition, we really want to make sure we're going into this, wanting to leave hungry to come back for more rather than psyching yourself out near death experience and "I never want to be there again." So the way that played out with Formation was we were always so dialed. Literally the first time we dropped in at 2019 Formation, we all cleaned it and we were all like "sh*t we built something way too easy." Turns out this is all good. And so, yeah, that's where in the second edition went bigger because we knew we could do that. But the approach is very, very cautious because we're very, very protective of what it looks like for the sport from the outside. You know, you don't want it to look like you're just holding on to the bull and just surviving down the hill. You don't want it to look sketch. You don't want people to hold their breath because they think you're completely out of control.

The goal is to be solid and to be capable and that makes you stand out bigger, pull off some crazy new tricks. And that's the wow factor that we want. So yeah, we're a lot more cautious about doing something that we're searching is going to be solid instead of creating even more doubts from the outside that we're even capable of doing it.

Brian: On one hand, it's lame that you feel you have to approach it that way, but I think I always enjoy watching the riders who ride within themselves at Rampage. Like super confident, stomped. Yes it's cool to see people get wild, but there are definitely some of the male riders that I don't really enjoy watching because it's just too, it's just too much. [laughs] I'm soft.

Vaea: I will say some of the guys that Rampage, the number one thing in their contracts with their sponsors is being a Rampage athlete. And so they can, you could literally do not a whole lot all year, but as long as you're going to kill it at Rampage, you have a job. Versus our contracts, personally, I was like, go to all the Crankworx stops, try to be the number one overall racing winner, but also go to those freeride events you want to go to and hopefully you do well. But you're taking risks at those events, and if I take myself out, then I can't finish the racing circuit.

I remember last year having that big dilemma in me. I was nursing a knee injury and I was at Proving Grounds. That was my first competition freeride. And I remember the day we dropped in finals, I was so hungry for a certain run, to go big. But also, that same week I had booked an eight week trip in Australia and New Zealand for the last two rounds of Crankworx racing. And I was second in the overall. And I was just like, "If you just drive home after today and you just did a good run, you'd be stoked with yourself. It's already a start."

And that's the approach I went with, but honestly, it's been eating me alive the whole rest of the week, the year. And which is why going into 2023, I was like, "no, I'm not doing Crankworx and freeride on the side. I'm doing freeride and Crankworx on the side."

That's just something I had to make clear with myself and my sponsors, because I've had regrets. Yeah, I definitely wanted to send it. I don't like holding back.

Brian: And would it help you going into 2024 when you sit down with your sponsors, if Rampage was on the table for you next year?

Vaea: Well, obviously, if it's on the table, they're listening. They're so stoked on Rampage, obviously. But right now, that's not a certain part of the conversation. We're just aiming towards it. But yeah.

Alicia: Did you expect to get an invite to Rampage this year and when did you realize that wasn't happening?

Vaea: I did not expect an invite to Rampage, just because we started that conversation in the winter. I think it was February we had a call. We were following up, basically in our minds we were "yes tell us we're going to put a category for Rampage 2023 for women and we'll get ready through the year to be ready for that."

So we were following up because we want to do this, but if we're going to do this, we want to be ready. Like I said, we were not going to half ass it. So that's why you had so many follow up calls with them. And finally, we had conversations that the conversations were not about making that happen for women's category Rampage. They were approaching it more to work on Formation. And that's where they got pushback from us. And that trickled down to where we are at now.

So no, I didn't expect a call. That's what we wanted, but we didn't get it. And from the get-go, not getting it, we were like, oh, okay, this is gonna be a different conversation.

Brian: Social media has a good habit of making everything black and white. I think the three of us are on the same page, we all think that this was a missed opportunity. But do you see Red Bull as the "big bad" in all of this?

Vaea: No, yeah. You know I don't sit with, yeah, [black and white] arguments here, whether it's one side or the other. I can see points and values coming from both ends, but I think that going super deep off of assumptions is a little too heavy to participate.

I don't see Red Bull as the big bad guy. No, I see them as... I still see those people and I could see in their eyes how freaking stoked they were on this and how they wanted to work with us. And so I still believe that that's what will eventually happen. It's just somewhere between those constructive conversations of like, "what does it look like to get women at Rampage?" And then having them come back to us with "Actually, we're going to do Formation as a competition." Somewhere in between there, there's someone above their heads that said, no for X reason. And there's lots of reasons—people higher up might not have been on the ground and seen what we're capable of, so they might be saying we're not able to, or we're going to take away spots from the men's, and we're going to make the live the live show even harder because the wind window is so short.

So there's tons of arguments, and they're valid, but we have have answers to all of these. We're not trying to steal any spots from the men, we're not trying to make it harder on their live show. We want everyone to be able to drop in twice and elevate the sport. As of right now, it's already a problem without even having a handful of women join in, you know? So that's a live show problem, not an adding a few women in the show problem. That's a bigger conversation that needs to be changed in favour of all riders, guys and girls.
bigquotesI don't see Red Bull as the big bad guy. No, I see them as... I still see those people and I could see in their eyes how freaking stoked they were on this and how they wanted to work with us. And so I still believe that that's what will eventually happen.Vaea Verbeeck

Alicia: Yeah, I just want to chime in that it would seem a little bit crazy for any higher-ups to criticize women's freeride right now, criticize it enough to keep women out of the biggest freeride event in the world. The development timeline has been so, so short. Even though you saw occasional women riding free ride in the early 2000s, it really hasn't been a thing until the last few years. And women are already able to throw it out on Rampage lines and trick huge features and do everything that they're doing. Just having started basically developing after Formation after 2019 is kind of insane and so impressive already. The progression is going to keep going so fast and it's just surprising that it doesn't seem like they're backing it.

Vaea: I don't know. I think they're backing it, but also Rampage is like, it's a huge event, it's a huge deal. It's their baby and it's been their baby for 20 years. So I get that. And I think the approach—and that's just me, that's just me and my perspective on things, right? But I think that what happened is whoever out there was like, "No, we can't handle that at Rampage." They might've just felt like let's do it, but on a smaller scale, let's use Formation's platform, and do that because maybe they don't think we're ready. So let's already change Formation into a competition format and see how that goes before anything else.

The problem there is that we don't really want to settle with that because if you settle for less, it's a lot harder to then ask for more because they've already established that as the women's platform for freeride competition.

bigquotesThe problem there is that we don't really want to settle with that because if you settle for less, it's a lot harder to then ask for more because they've already established that as the women's platform for freeride competition.Vaea Verbeeck

Formation 2022. Photo Katie Lozancich Outside
Formation team 2022. Photo: Katie Lozancich.

Brian: Going back to what you were saying about the logistics, and that being a broadcast problem and not a men's and women's field problem. I do think that on some level, you're either going to have to extend that dramatically somehow, or cut some people. And I guess you may disagree. It sounds like you disagree, but I guess for me, I'm okay with that. Everyone at that level is so incredible, but I am definitely okay with not seeing a few of the, "lower level" guys if it means we can add some of the top women. I'd be more excited for that. The reality is those guys weren't going to get in this year anyways, if Brage and Brandon and a couple of other people who said no, had said yes.

Vaea: Yeah, but the next people down the line, you know, some people are making noise about Dylan Stark or Kade Edwards and Andreu, I hear all of those. And that's where I just don't want the conversation about women at Rampage to have any play with taking away space or spots from the dudes.

Brian: And that's very noble, but I'd be okay with it.

Vaea: Yeah, some people are definitely cool with taking some, taking some away and making room for us. That's super sweet of you guys, but I don't think that's necessary at all. They already have to fix the whole 15 to 20 riders getting two complete runs. And there's just so much sitting around at the top of the mountain while they're doing announcement, advertising, mid show, whatever it is, that is, that can't be happening.

When window is open in the morning, everyone should be dropping one after the other and then you figure out how to put it into the show. There's definitely options out there that work for different sports. I don't know what the solution is, but I think those are kinks we can work out after the math.

Brian: I think while we aren't the people responsible for making it, it's very easy for us to talk from the bleachers. I did love someone's suggestion for Rampage that the first runs not be live, and that the broadcast catches up. Same as the way the World Cups are done. The first half of the runs you watch aren't live, and so the broadcast could catch up. And the other reason that people bring that suggestion up is specifically the judging, you can hold scores until everybody does their first run so that everything gets calibrated relative to each other rather than live scoring. Scoring those things live is so hard.

Vaea: Yeah, that's what I had in mind too. First run, film all the first runs, and then as they drop in for their second run, the show and all the talking happens, and then you can trickle them in. I can see how there could be some leakage, people that are there, they have cell phones, but maybe just hold on to the scores after first run. There's definitely some way to find a solution.

I think that's where there's room for just to better the format. And it's not about integrating a few women into the show. It's just their own current problem. But we're coming in with, you know, we want to have a category of women competing against each other at Rampage. And also let's fix the other problem that you already have. As it is maybe you can still squeeze it in and make it happen. But still, every single year, riders already get skunked on their second run.

Brian: What do you hope people take away from this situation and where do you hope this conversation takes women's freeride in the next year or two?

Vaea: I just hope that we can put some light on the crazy progression that we've had the last two years and maybe enlighten some people that aren't even aware. And it's been already sweet to see the crazy support from a really big pool of viewers and supporters and they people definitely want to see women at Rampage. That's been really sick to raise that voice. And it just helps us in having those conversations on how to make that happen with Red Bull, iinstead of them pushing us aside to focus on Rampage. So that's really appreciated.

But, I think it's important to remember that we're not there to steal any space or take away from the show. We love Rampage. We all love Rampage. We just want that to not go stale, and we just wanna keep bringing more to it and grow it the way that it should.

There has to be a space for women in the sport. That's just how the sport is growing. Whether it's the small niche Rampage-style riding or mainstream mountain biking. That's just the right way for the sport to grow. It's the right way for the event to grow. And yeah, that's just where we're at in the sport now.

Formation 2022. Photo Katie Lozancich Outside
Formation 2022. Photo: Katie Lozancich

Brian: How much confidence do you folks have that Red Bull and the industry as a whole, that we'll all be able to figure this out?

Alicia: I think we're going to have to!

Vaea: Definitely a lot more confident now, seeing how people are, seeing just how strongly people feel about it. It's not just a small group of riders that have taken their chances and taking the risks and grown into their own freeride careers. And it's not just us seeing and believing it. There's a huge pool of people out there that are supporting it. And there's just there's absolutely no way that we're not looking back in 15, 20 years of Rampage again, after seeing women in Rampage, there's just no way we're not absolutely mind blown at the level of women riding and competing amongst each other. I just, I refuse to believe that's not gonna happen. I know it's gonna happen. It's gonna be super sick to see them grow into that.

Brian: I agree. I think, there's a lot of support and a lot of people who feel very strongly about this. So I'm hopeful, cautiously optimistic. Hopefully I'm not naive like I was this spring [laughs].

Vaea: I think from what we've seen in the past handful of years where this has been in motion and gaining momentum, we've always let the riding do the talking and that in itself has opened doors, you know, like in Fest series, in [Crankworx] slopestyle, in all other events that didn't used to have women's category. Every single one of those events benefited from having that extra new hype brought to the event to have women and just kill it.
bigquotesThere's absolutely no way that we're not looking back in 15, 20 years of Rampage again, after seeing women in Rampage, there's just no way we're not absolutely mind blown at the level of women riding and competing amongst each other. I just, I refuse to believe that's not gonna happen.Vaea Verbeeck

And again, we're still in very early days at those events, right? We're killing it and people are stoked, but we're still very early. You bring us into next year or five years from now, whole other ball game, but it's already an insane start. And so Rampage is just the next one down the line.

Brian: Vaea thank you so much for joining us today.

Vaea: Thank you so much for having me and having a chat on this. And yeah, I hope everyone's just a little in line with how stoked we are on bikes and freeride. Freeride is for everyone, so let's just make that happen.

Note: after the recording of this interview, Red Bull responded to our request for comment with a statement that said they are "exploring with industry experts how we might develop a women’s category at Red Bull Rampage." We're hopeful it's a signal that things are moving in the right direction for 2024.

Author Info:
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Member since Dec 29, 2010
208 articles

  • 102 3
 The Hannah Bergemann photo is absolutely insane. How can Red Bull make the event and the terrain look so mediocre in the broadcast when there are perspectives like that????!
  • 19 0
 Totally agree, there is no easy way to ride top to bottom. If you’ve been in there person you realize how the scale and exposure of those lines does not come across in photos or videos. The reason people think it’s a glorified slope style contest is because they’ve never dropped in on those ridges.
  • 17 0
 Because they film it from a helicopter a long way away
  • 36 33
 @idontknowwhatiexpected: you basically explained why the women aren't currently there. Just riding a top to bottom isn't competitive and doesn't look impressive, you have to be able to ride that terrain like a slopestyle course for it to interesting on TV.
  • 3 6
 Because they don't know how to broadcast....
  • 6 0
 That really struck me too. It reminds me of an incredible BBC film sequence from a few years ago of a snow leopard chasing its prey down a near vertical cliff.
  • 4 1
 LOL well the potential camera angle spots are pretty limited, especially considering you need them to capture more than just a small section of the course. Also cameras never do it justice, regardless of the angle. Go in person then you'll understand.
  • 16 9
 @krhaack: It’s unfortunate but I think I see the same challenge. The current level of riding at Rampage is on another level. There is some risk/potential that having Women on the same course would be underwhelming when back to back with the current riders. The women’s progression has been awesome to see, but it may get lost in comparison. It’s good to hear they are hungry for it though
  • 5 4
 @Jswail: I agree. It's tricky to make it work in a single event format. The level of skill, ability and willingness to take risks isn't currently comparable. It's the nature of this particular discipline. While the gap will narrow over time, it will never be close (there might be some individual outliers in the future, but we are talking about averages here). In general, does it matter?... not really, since those are two different categories, like in any other discipline, but... 1) for the even organisers it's a pain to manage the logistics of the event, since not all riders might be able to relatively safely ride the same course/zone. 2) the broadcast is already long and with not the most exciting camera angles, weather delays, etc it can sometimes get a bit boring. Now you will have the situation where you watch Semenuk's run followed by 5 ladies trying to just get a clean run down the hill. Not the best thing for viewer retention. It's unfortunate, but there must be better ways to grow the female side of the sport.
  • 5 0
 Props to Robin O'Neill for scouting that perspective and getting Hannah into that line! So sick!
  • 13 6
 @Jswail: This is essentially where I'm at as well. If I want to watch a big mountain Rampage event, I want to see the absolutely insane stuff, not people cleaning lines. This will always be the big struggle with this event; people watch it because they want to see gravity defying slopestyle style riding but on a high consequence high risk course.

I don't have a ton of time in my life, so I have to pick and choose what to enjoy. I very very rarely get to watch these events live, and come back to them afterwards. I already have a pretty big backlog of great stuff to watch, and that's why my free time is dedicated to watching the most viewworthy stuff.

No offense to the ladies. You're rad and you're riding at a massively higher level than I will ever be capable of. I have nothing but respect for what y'all do, really and honestly I do.
  • 7 0
 @Jswail: I don't know. I like to watch the crankworx speed and style events. They go back and forth between men and women and I have never felt it was a problem. Yes the men are faster and throw crazier tricks, but it is still great to watch riders who are much better than me compete against each other. I have never watched it and thought it was boring. If there was a worry about this, they could hold both women's runs first thing in the morning then do both men's runs. Or have women's on the first day (similar to Junior world cup races being the day before). who knows though. Definitely no simple solution from the production / management standpoint.
  • 3 2
 @krhaack: People are not ready for this discussion...
  • 2 3
 Photos are easier to stage for drama than videos. And getting good angles would take the logistical dumpster fire that is Rampage and make it even worse. We get continuous too to bottom runs from a helicopter, which is the least worst option.
  • 6 1
 @wyorider: I'd disagree it's the least worst. Helicopter shots from a quarter mile away remove all drama. Essentially you are left watching a spec slowly crawl down a fairly innocuous looking hillside. Anything would be better than that. A point proven by the huge quantity of shaky footage filmed on crap phone cameras that does the rounds of social media in the following months, while barely any heli footage is ever seen again after the event ends.

30 fixed go-pros and a sharp eyed producer would be infinitely better (and far cheaper) than the essentially pointless heli footage.
  • 6 4
 @sherbet: Consider for a moment that the women aren't out there riding with the intention to impress the men who are watching, they're riding to impress the little girl sitting in the living room who finally gets a chance to see someone who looks like them competing on the biggest stage in the mountain bike world.
  • 5 5
 @jpetznick: Never thought otherwise. That said, I am not a little girl, nor are the others who said similar. They wont garner enough viewship to continue on little girls alone, ao I am struggling to see how your point relates to mine.
  • 139 46
 People on social media need to chill the hell out with the whole #letthemride spiel. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon without knowing any context and made Redbull out to be the enemy.

Redbull seems like they're not convinced that the logistics of adding a women's field to rampage makes sense. Seems like they were open to the idea of it, there was back-and-forth, and they were suggesting the women restart formation and turn it into a competitive event.

I do think the way formation was designed to be non-competitive, not a media event, no spectators was a horrible idea from the beginning and extremely self-defeating. You took what could've been great proof of concept for women in rampage, and you removed all the variables that a giant marketing company like Redbull use to measure the viability and success of the event.

Why do you need a redbull sponsored event to get women into riding freeride lines in utah? Proving grounds invites women. Use that as a qualifier. If the goal is simply to get a bunch of women together in virgin utah, then why does redbull need to be involved at all? there's no marketing ROI in that. It's not really a spectacle.

I personally think formation could become the female version of rampage, and the idea that anything less than rampage would be a failure is total bs. Redbull literally wanted to go this route, but it was rejected because women want the platform of rampage or no platform at all, apparently.

Trying to squeeze another field of riders into rampage seems extremely difficult. You absolutely need to film the first runs live because often riders will crash, the wind will change, or they stomped their first run and simply deemed the risk too high to take a second run. Getting rid of all the broadcast fluff could help for sure, but this isn't realistically feasible without reducing the size of the men's field--which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

I think the lesson is that all the social justice keyboard warriors were way too quick to jump to conclusions and need to seriously chill with the cancel culture bs. Redbull absolutely supports women freeriders.
  • 3 0
  • 68 4
 I hope tons of people read this instead of ranting on Instagram and harassing Red Bull Bike and H5events. There is a lot of good context here. I hope it can be figured out and we have men and women riding in Rampage in the future.
  • 26 63
flag scott-townes (Sep 23, 2023 at 3:49) (Below Threshold)
 LOL I'm so happy I don't have all those pointless social media apps. It sounds like a majority of people on there are a bunch of thirsty SJWs
  • 56 6
 @scott-townes: i have never really liked anything you post Scott. Always so edgy
  • 6 17
flag mm732 (Sep 23, 2023 at 10:40) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: they are.
  • 14 31
flag scott-townes (Sep 23, 2023 at 11:34) (Below Threshold)
 @MrRight: That's great, I must be doing something right.
  • 26 1
 @scott-townes: with your comments here I would have though you came straight from the Instagram comment section LOL.
  • 5 27
flag scott-townes (Sep 23, 2023 at 13:39) (Below Threshold)
 @tvan5: It must be from the good portion of the Instagrams comment section.
  • 21 19
 @scott-townes: the fact that SJW is a negative concept to you tells me everything I need to know……
  • 22 3
 @tvan5: exactly. dude is trying to act high and mighty like he's above instagram but literally every comment he makes sounds like a try hard insecure douche instagram troll.
  • 2 0
 @scott-townes: love you skierman
  • 4 22
flag scott-townes (Sep 24, 2023 at 2:45) (Below Threshold)
 @brighterlights: I am better than you. Now go on, back to the 20 social media apps you kids spend all day on.
  • 9 7
 @scott-townes: exactly like I said. try-hard insecure douchebag troll. this is social media, genius.
  • 6 1
 @brighterlights: I appreciate that pb auto-hides annoying shit like that
  • 5 4
 @BryceBorlick: I unhide Scott's replies just to see what people are bothered by. At this point I think PB users see his name and go straight to the neg prop button by reflex.
  • 1 14
flag scott-townes (Sep 24, 2023 at 15:37) (Below Threshold)
 @brighterlights: Hey man, no need for immature name calling. That's totally immature.
  • 10 3
 @scott-townes: riiight. because being a dedicated pinkbike troll with a superiority (aka insecurity) complex is the peak of maturity. sure buddy.
  • 4 0
 @scott-townes: Pinkbike is social media.
  • 58 8
 I fully support women competing at Rampage, but I find myself sympathizing with Redbull's perspective.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but to gain an invitation, you either have to create a crazy edit, or you must prove your skills at Proving Grounds.

This is how current competitors get in. Regardless of gender.

Women are welcome to participate at the Proving Grounds, they also have access to Formation, which to me appears to be a sort of "safe space" test-event. And anyone around the world who has access to a camera can make an edit.

If the goal is exposure, "a shot on the big screen", why maintain the privacy and "safe space"-ness of Formation? By making it a competition and proving that they can put on a show, conversations about a women's category at Rampage could become more meaningful.

Myself, other riders I know, and even people who don't ride, eagerly wait for Rampage every year to see some wild flips and spins off cliffs and huge gaps.

For the audience, Rampage is all about the show.

It's kinda like having a private, no-camera, no-journalist, women-only F1 test annually at Monza, then demanding the FIA and teams to make a third car at every team, enabling women to compete and have the opportunity to race in the spotlight .
  • 9 7
 You have to be invited. It’s not a democracy. RB choose who can ride
  • 15 1
 It's been seen on more than over occasion that you can make an absolute banger of an edit and not get the invite. If you don't fit the profile that RedBull want, you don't get invited.
  • 2 24
flag scott-townes (Sep 23, 2023 at 3:50) (Below Threshold)
 @Maxcommencemal: Well, you clearly don't know the process or who does the inviting.
  • 8 0
 @scott-townes: probably the same process as the judging
  • 46 3
 I love when the actual story behind something is not as blown out as it appears to be in social media. The explanation of "hey, we could tell they were just as stoked as us on getting this going for women, but it just didn't happen this year because of x or y reason, which do make sense, but we're going to keep plugging away and get past those reasons and make it happen".. f*ck yeah Vaea. Solid response, good interview.
  • 36 20
 Boys can’t compete with the men so why is there any effort to develop kids biking? Because they get better? Kids now beat kids who rode with me at 8 yrs old in the ‘80’s are different. Because of development programs.

Why can’t we see that ignoring women is silly and development will lead progression and then the whole boys are better than girls argument will be moot?
  • 7 11
flag jaame (Sep 22, 2023 at 22:59) (Below Threshold)
 Unlikely but I take your point
  • 19 2
 There is no "development program" for rampage and never has been. Sick guys in the 90s and 00s did crazy stunts in the desert, got called idiots for many years for it, still sent it, did amazing edits and movies, until the sport got bigger and bigger, Redbull saw a chance to earn money, and the dudes thought "hey why not, let's earn money by doing what we love anyways". There was never a "school" for Freeride. The sport evolved by the pure passion of riders. Now with social media it's gotten way easier to earn a spotlight, but in the end it's still the pure riding skill that gives you the crown.
That being said I am absolutely for more women in the sport. And to support it it makes sense to have a women's category in the contests.
  • 31 4
 absolutely. why do women need a "safe space" event at virgin utah sponsored by redbull? just gather your friends and go ride your bikes. redbull never needed to be a part of formation. The fact that they even agreed to lend their support to a closed door, no media, no spectators event is all the proof people need that they do support women's freeriding.

women freeriders to redbull: you can fund an event in the desert for women, but without any media coverage, spectators or marketing potential that you'd typically see from all your other events?

redbull: lets do this.
  • 5 5
 @moroj82: I agree with you because I enjoy my sports. But if you look at the responses here and on IG, a lot of the words used by the women who want not just to ride in the desert but have Red Bull specifically sponsor the event to the tune of millions while giving them less than 1% of the expenditures in prize winnings with zero disability insurance are; reputation , world renowned, recognized, sponsor money, viewership, prestige, outshining etc.

So in their minds, RedBull is the apex. They wouldn’t be able to see something else built up as better than Rampage. So that won’t happen. Major power lever there for RedBull and their management has been watching these mentalities unfold closely and realizing that they will not have any competition so they have 100% control and power. Given to them by both their invited competitors and those who were not invited.

Bypass them and make something bigger and better, deny them the power. But if you don’t believe it you can’t achieve it.

Barnum and Bailey were RedBull. Apex of circus. Some French Canadian guy didn’t agree with animal abuse(sexism). So he created something else. Which is now bigger and better than the others ever were Cirque du Soleil. But it took passion for the sport and and end to the Barnum and Bailey ‘worship’.
  • 2 1
 @daweil: there is literally a youth DH and free ride development team in Utah
  • 5 1
 @Mntneer: is it closed to girls and women?
  • 3 4
 @zamanfu: probably not because the product they are selling is tuition. No confusion. Accepting females doubles their customer base.

RedBull is confused about what they are doing/selling with Rampage. Once they get that sorted there will be women at Rampage.
  • 4 8
flag Mntneer (Sep 25, 2023 at 9:24) (Below Threshold)
 @s100: women’s downhill is not popular and wildly uncompetitive. Everything is not equal
  • 3 1
 @Mntneer: neither is anything else, at first. It won’t always be like it was in the past though. The people pushing for it see the future. The people arguing against it are looking in the rear view mirror.
  • 4 2
 @zamanfu: what RedBull is selling is themselves. Their brand. It is no longer socially appealing to be sexist. Just like how companies used to exclude other people groups for whatever reasons. They will realize that their customer base disagrees with them on this and they will change. They are not selling the riding, specifically. They are selling their brand by trying to align themselves with athletes and sports that make them look better than a chemical laden cup of sugar water. Once they see that they are a sexist chemical laden cup of sugar water they will change and make a sugar free version - as well as dropping the sexism. If you want to compare entertainment value, watching Vaea ride is miles ahead of watching any of the redbull athletes on a bmx bike. And there the arguments for staying in the past all fall apart for the apologists like mntneer.
  • 11 0
 Definitely gave great behind the scenes context to what is currently happening in the world of women’s Freeride.
Seems like the women know what they want and understand that there are a lot of moving parts. I hope all parties come to a resolution for 2024. Either way, love to see women pushing themselves and the sport!
  • 23 11
 Wow. There are so many idiotic commenters here... and that's coming from me, a serial idiotic commenter. Give your heads a shake boys. You are making mtbers look and sound like a fucking caveman squad
  • 13 3
 Kinda feel like you look at it similar to the UFC (not a team sport), who introduced women's fights 11 years ago. Since, women have headlined many many events, pull massive crowds, and personally really get me and my friends excited to watch. Same for DH and XC racing, especially of late, my mates and I almost talk more of how the women's championships are playing out. I think it's safe to say it's time for Freeride Events to make some change.
  • 11 16
flag NailsAndTrails (Sep 23, 2023 at 11:48) (Below Threshold)
 WMMA is the same thing as women's rampage, with the same problems. You might get excited to watch them, but as someone who did muay thai half a decade ago and could still walk on to an event right now and be a local champ, I find WMMA not as interesting. Way less KOs, much smaller talent pool, way less wow factor. If women were as vicious as men, I would feel the same about watching them, but facts are that they're physiologically different.
I like that women progress themselves, but are they worth a whole separate category in rampage? Not yet. Give it a couple years
  • 36 28
 To me, the Rampage roster is not a man vs woman vs other debate. It's simply an extremely competitive field field.
Regardless of sex or gender, you have to be competitive with the rest of the playing field. Unfortunately there just hasn't been a woman that has shown she can regularly backflip 60'+ gaps. Which is a pretty casual trick for any Rampage rider.
I'd love to see a woman make Rampage. I don't want to see anyone get injured riding way outside their skill level.
  • 19 5
 I think you are missing the point of women's athletic competition in a whole. There are rare sports where women can compete with men on a direct side by side basis. You simply want to see the best human possible. Women's sports marketable because someone wants to see the best woman possible. It's obviously not as marketable (WNBA for example) but it IS a marketable concept.
  • 18 16
 @Sscottt: and women are not even remotely close in biking to be competing vs men at rampage, whats your point? I believe from a safety stand point, rampage is 11/10 dangerous, especially for a weaker individual.
  • 17 4
 Who are these “lower level” guys Brian would happily ditch to make way for the women?
  • 9 9
 @EchoLimaTwoOne: No offense but I can't think of a single male rider that should be displaced to squeeze a woman in, they need to spend a couple more years developing and progressing womens freeride. Maybe then they can fairly earn their spot at rampage. Hard not seeing them letting their ego get in the way of making safe decisions. Rampage is a sport of ego, those who haven't learned how to ride that fine line are generally the one's who go out in a blaze of glory or they win the whole damn thing. Ego is not your friend, he's the guy saying you got this bro!
  • 13 3
 @Sscottt: WNBA and World Cup Soccer are probably the biggest women’s sports leagues and have been around for some time. Both are unsustainable on their own and have to be heavily subsidized. Some people do want to watch women compete, it’s just not enough to make money on.

With regard to Rampage, men have a natural aversion to hurting or witnessing women get hurt… call it a protection gene. Men are obviously the large majority or Rampage viewers and will not be drawn to this… same for women’s Football.
  • 5 7
 @Baller7756: Dunno man, I watch Women's Rugby from time to time and I love seeing them hurt each other. It's different to Men;s because they're that much weaker they ragdoll eachother more.
  • 9 4
 @Sscottt: Not true. The WNBA is not sulf supporting. The single biggest contributor to keeping it afloat is the NBA. Women’s sports at any level are not in the same league as men’s sports. If you want to put an end to this argument, let’s simply abolish gender in all professional sports and whoever is best will make a career of it. There would be virtually no women in sport. I’m all for a women in Rampage. It would be a very compelling watch. But only if she qualifies. Otherwise she will just be another rider with no chance to win who got in by special exemption.

I am not anti women’s sports. I watch all the women’s World Cup events, but be honest about the times. The fastest women are 30-40 seconds slower in the DH and do one less lap than the men in XC. I don’t watch the back of the pack male riders and thst is where the women would be. I also watch the Major events in men’s and women’s tennis. But, Serena Williams herself said she couldn’t beat the 100th ranked male. I don’t find the WNBA entertaining so I don’t watch.
  • 4 1
 @endoguru: hate to be that guy but you misread what @Sscottt wrote. He stated the same as you that the WNBA "Both are unsustainable on their own and have to be heavily subsidized"
  • 3 1
 @endoguru: so you are agreeing with my comment. Men's sports are far more marketable than women's sports. We disagree in that women's sports are not completely unmarketable. There IS a market for women's sports and advertisers want their name on it, however small that market is. Believe it or not but women, aka 50 percent of the population are probably interested in seeing women do bad ass things.
  • 6 3
 @on-the-move: the idea that women are princesses and shouldn't get dirty or hurt seems quite sexist. Women should have as many opportunities as men to break bones.
  • 9 1
 This is a really good interview and sheds a lot of light into the work that has already been done.

When you look at most sports that are actually comparable to freeride mountain bike (not formula 1!) they do have a women's division in the highest level events.

The same strawman arguments about diluting the standard or taking away men's places could be used to argue against having a women's division in literally any sport.
  • 9 1
 It's great that pinkbike is covering this and that riders are out in front, putting in their perspective. I see two things going on. Women have always had an uphill battle on sports equality and it needs continuing support. Rampage is also really difficult logistically in terms of time, weather, broadcasting, etc. The spotlight is now on a a female rampage and I think everyone is hyped to see it happen. Fingers crossed redbull is able to do this justice and work out the complications. Let's do it in 2024!
  • 15 7
 Yes, more exposure for women in all facets of extreme cycling. DH, FREERIDE, DJ, BMX.
  • 16 11
 This is silly that they can't compete. I have met Hannah Bergemann and watched her compete at Hang Time here in Bellingham on the Blue Steel jump line. Stupid big stuff and they send way harder than most guys do. It is time for them to be allowed at Rampage!
  • 6 3
 I’m sorry but blue steel is one of the easiest things to ride in town. It’s just fast and big. It’s nothing like anything in rampage at all. Now Hannah is more than capable of keeping up with all the boys, especially in Utah. I hope she gets a chance if she wants to compete alongside of them. But please don’t think blue steel is anything close to what rampage is.
  • 15 11
 There’s no doubt about it women’s freeride has gone crazy the last few years. It’s super impressive. To me it’s one of the best things happening in the sport these days. That being said, I still have no interest in seeing them at Rampage. I say get out there on your own with the formation girls and build some sick lines and stomp them without any guys building, guinea pigging, or towing in…
  • 30 26
 It's an interesting interview.
It still seems like it doesn't make sense for a female only class at Rampage.
It isn't a race.
If there are women in the top 18 freeriders they would have been invited. Vaea isn't good enough to compete at Rampage, so no invite. If women are able to compete in this level it should be on gender neutral terms. What is being requested is a new event with the top female riders, and while that copy of be cool, it isn't the pinnacle event that is Rampage.

I also find it interesting that there were choices made at Formation that limited exposure yet that isn't seen as being self-defeating. This event became what it is by exposing those riders, even when they made those errors and had horrible crashes.
Not to blame the ladies of Formation, but it's didn't help create an event that would make the $$$$$$ to be a success.

Good interview though.
  • 22 14
 This is a sport not the special forces. They don’t have to carry an injured dude off the battlefield. We can totally just have a handful of the best women competing on their own terms and it won’t hurt your butt even a little bit. Unless it bothers you that they can do what you can’t. Wait… is THAT what you’re actually worried about??
  • 9 1
 @BarryWalstead Some of the wildcard dudes aren't good enough to compete at Rampage either if we're being honest, yet here we are lol, can't see you complaining about that.

We could as well watch a few top women competing against each other instead of pack fill guys with zero podium chances or ambitions who got spots because Brage or Semenuk couldn't be bothered. And mind you that's just my opinion, Vaea was more charitable and specifically said she wouldn't want to take one of the 18 spots but add to them instead.
  • 10 6
 Let's be real. This all boils down to one thing. MONEY!
No disrespect to the women in Freeride because they are gnarly but if they want more inclusion they need more WOMEN taking interest and riding bikes.
Look at pretty much any sport. Sponsorship money goes to those who fill seats and get eyeballs on screens. Take the NBA vs the WNBA. Something like 11% of WNBA fans are male as a result there is poor attendance and not as much money to go around. When it comes to men vs women just not that many ladies are hugely into sports.
Shit reality TV. That's another story and just look how much money is driven towards women there.

Ladies. If you want more inclusion and more of the $$ pie then get more ladies interested and doing the sport you love.

Female inclusion in Freeride MTB has grown in leaps and bounds recently and I for one am stoked to see it and proud that so many men feel strongly about women in the sport. Let's keep it going but not forget that it all just boils down to the almighty $ when it comes to seeing things change on the biggest stages.
  • 7 0
 Come to North Van or Squamish. Women are creeping up to 50% of riders. I was up in burns lake and the shuttle was 50% chicks.

Women are riding a ton. If your local scene is just dudes, than that’s something you need to fix locally.
  • 4 2
 @schili: That might be the case in Squamish. To widen the sample base, I've never seen more than 5-15% female riders in any bikepark in Europe with exception of women specific events.

Why an earth we are so uncomfortable with that there are group level differences btw males and females?
And the more egalitarian the society is the bigger the differences seem to be. Take Finland, where I live , or any Scandinavian country as an example.
  • 13 11
 These women are way more talented then 80% of the people that comment here. I am not sure why they don't approach Monster or rockstar and do their own thing in direct competition with Manpage! Cmon girls, create yer own thing, f*ck it!! if they wont include you, build yer own!! in a way better place then YouTah
  • 5 12
flag moroj82 (Sep 22, 2023 at 21:40) (Below Threshold)
 THIS! absolutely THIS. They could make something that could steal the spotlight from Rampage if they tried hard enough. Thinking it's either Rampage or Bust is just self-defeating.

It seems like the options are: SQUEEZE rampage and dramatically cut down on all the pomp and fanfare (which, btw, helps to hype up the riders and educate the general public about the riders), or start your own event that isn't absolutely crunched for time, where you can take the time to hype up the riders, discuss the history of women's freeriding and get future riders stoked on their new heroes.

1) a quick conveyor belt of riders, partially filmed live
2) a glorious event solely dedicated to women freeriders
  • 8 2
 @moroj82: you are HIGH!!
  • 11 10
 @moroj82: steal the spotlight from rampage with a handful of second rate riders?
  • 26 3
 These women are way more talented then 80% of the people that comment here
80% lol! Try 99.9%. You're like the 1 in 8 men who think they can beat Serena Williams at tennis.
  • 10 2
 Lol only 80%? Try 99%
  • 8 2
 Try 99%
  • 2 2
 Great idea assuming someone wants to fund it all
  • 12 10
 @stevet1: Speak for yourself, your inabilities are not mine... If you take a low level men's pro tennis player and put them against Serena Williams then she gets smoked. It already happened. Both sisters were beat by a 51yr male pro ranked 203rd. It wasn't even close.
  • 7 3
 @MikeGruhler: What is your point? Are women not allowed to compete in sport because they aren't physiologically the same as men? Do women have to justify their place in sport relative to their performance against men?
  • 5 6
 @njparider: dunno where you pulled that from what I said but go ahead and twist it how you feel. Simply stated an obvious fact. Maybe look into the match I was referring. One of the sisters instigated the match saying they could beat any male ranked 200 or worse. They didn't. Even to a hungover 51 year old dude.
  • 6 5
 @njparider: it's not that they're not allowed. Anyone is allowed to compete in any sport. The point is that at the top level there aren't any that are good enough to justify their inclusion on the merits of their ability. In sports where women are as good as men there are no gender classes.
  • 4 4
 @stevet1: I agree, but’s that’s missing the point. This isn’t about whether or not the best women can beat some no name hack like me, but can they be competitive against the best men in their chosen sport? The answer is no every time.
  • 13 2
 @endoguru: I come at this from a slightly different angle. The competitive aspect of DH or freeride is a tertiary concern to me.

I mostly just want to watch amazing riders in incredible terrain. In that sense (relative to me) the difference between the world’s best women and the worlds’s best men is vanishingly thin. To put it more concretely: is Jackson Goldstone faster that Vali Holl? Yes. Do Vali’s runs still seem impossibly fast to me? Also yes.

Will Jasxon Riddle throw crazier tricks than Hannah Bergman? Probably. But I still can’t truly comprehend what it takes to do what she and Vaea and others have pieced together at past Formations.

So back in the context of Rampage. As a viewer, I’d prefer, say, 6 women and 12 men to 0 women and 18 men.

But that’s just me.
  • 6 4
 @MikeGruhler: your inabilities are on display right here LOL
  • 2 2
 @njparider: They want to compete "with the men". The best analogy is Tour de France. They dont do it together or immediately comparable because they ride less than a third of the distance, as much slower speed.

As for getting another soft drink manufacturer involved and steal Rampage, if the market gave the opportunity, and the company was not concerned of the liability and probable risk of seeing a horrific accident live to air when you add timing, points for style and tricks and the pressure of definitive competition into the mix - it would be on the screens.
  • 4 4
 @pmhobson: A competition is not going to be made by a single rider.

And Redbull realizes that physiology and inert breeding will play out. The second a young, attractive female, skilled and impressive as she is smashes herself down a cliff live to air they will be hung out to dry in the face of public shock and disgust.
  • 2 0
 @FoesKnows: “a competition is not going to be made out of a single rider”

Huh? What?

I listed HB and VV as examples and not to imply they were the only women I thought deserved invitations.
  • 6 0
 @MikeGruhler: It seems odd to make claims about "stating obvious facts" when you're not only misconstruing yours but also just plain wrong: Karsten Braasch, the "hungover 51 year old dude" in question, was not 51 at the time, he was 30. To say that he was hungover at the time is speculation on your part.

Also, for context, that was in 1998, when Serena was 16 years old, and Venus was 18. Mr. Braasch was at one point ranked 38th in the world.
  • 2 0
 Maybe this is a dumb idea...what about events styled like Dark Fest? There's plenty of media coverage but a lot of it comes from the riders themselves. The proving grounds course is out there, sitting in the desert. Maybe someone wants to sponsor a freshen-up of that course and host an event of that type? Basically a chance to create some hype and prove a point without whatever big investments come with a full on broadcast. Just gather the gals in the desert, get sendy for a few days, and shoot some footage. I'd watch those clips.
  • 2 1
 Isn’t that what Formation was (the thing that got killed this year)
  • 1 1
 @pmhobson: I think so...sort of lost track of what all this stuff is called.
  • 5 2
It's a show, ant it's all ONLY about a $$. So, after few tries none will care about it, and everything will be forgotten after that.
  • 11 7
 Red Bull is a company that sells sugary water. I feel like everybody has lost sight of this basic fact.
  • 3 0
 They create run and support some very successful race teams.
  • 4 0
 And this is just a marketing event to them
  • 6 0
 They're actually more of a media company now.
  • 1 2
 @mm732: with the profits they make from selling sugar water to generate exposure for the brand so people buy more sugar water.
  • 1 2
 @Dustfarter: how much did they make from making "media" on their last half year financial results?
  • 2 0
 @HardtailHerold: and? you're not allowed to create cool things with profits?
  • 6 5
 In ski/snowboard freeride comps, women are on the same courses as men, and often end up injured because they lack the weight/strength to make the transitions on big mandatory air features.

Rampage is build your own features, and the features the top women would build would be impossible for all but the best 1% of male freeriders…….who happen to be competing at Rampage. And ride bigger stuff.

This means that for any women to have a chance at placing, there would have to be a separate women’s category. This would be great, except that the current location/format is a logistical disaster that prevents time efficiency.
  • 8 2
 A separate women's category is what the entire interview is about, and we discuss the options to improve logistics and event efficiency. Scroll up! Smile
  • 3 2
 Time and persistence Keep the conversations going - make sure the key players are a part of that conversation. The logistics will get sorted out, the money will be there if agreement exists at the table
  • 28 28
 So, all they're saying is give us a free ticket to Rampage because we're women. MANY MANY MANY good male riders can't enter Rampage either because there is so much competition. Refusing to accept Formation as a platform to improve is a good sign of their intention. Ride once the Formation course, get invited for Rampage the next year. Living in a dream world.
  • 5 1
 I watched the Formation video after reading this article, I thought it was great, Id watch it again. It's cool because the cameras are closer to the action than rampage, the riding is good too and I didn't expect them to be so good tbh.
  • 4 3
 The bit that’s been forgotten is that the ladies did freeride. Rampage is a slopestyle event now. It’s all about spinny flippy tricks
  • 2 10
flag tigerfish50 (Sep 23, 2023 at 6:24) (Below Threshold)
 Who are you to be getting sarcastic if the ladies want to get deeper into the business of hacking up and trampling over fragile ecosystems for "spinny flippy tricks".? If mountain biking as a whole wants to be taken seriously as a sport it needs to make a much bigger contribution to global warming and habitat destruction
  • 3 0
 @tigerfish50: When riding in Utah we're careful not to put one little toe on the incredibly fragile cyrptobiotic soil, but I've walked the Rampage course and the area was all clear soil -zero cryptobiotic anywhere in area.
Absolutely respect the abundance of caution for nature though.
  • 2 0
 It's just a big dust cloud..the desert gets windy in the afternoon
  • 2 0
 People are mad every year when a Rampage list comes out.
  • 12 15
 1998: rank #203 Karsten Braasch vs. the Williams sisters
The matches took place on court number 12 in Melbourne Park, after Braasch had finished a round of golf and two shandies. He first took on Serena and after leading 5–0, beat her 6–1.

I don’t think it would be as close as the Williams sisters got to beating Braasch. Formation was cool and all but it was like watching your GoPro pov from your favorite trail and realizing that you aren’t that fast.
  • 8 8
 Just make it an open, and let whomever can qualify enter! If the women can hang…great!
  • 8 1
 There isn’t a qualification process to rival other disciplines.

A Rampage series would be cool, until someone died and they cancelled it.

Which is what will happen with Rampage someday. Some schlub with a lot of skill and too much courage will get pushed by the wind on a move with a several hundred foot drop and die. The bro ride community will say dumb stuff like “but he was doing what he loved” and Red Bull will pull the pin in the face of higher insurance premiums and bad optics.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 you have
  • 1 0
 sport now
  • 1 1
 so much progression...
  • 1 4
 2 podcasts in 2 days makes me consider outside plus
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