Photo Epic: A Condensed Session - Red Bull Rampage 2021

Oct 13, 2021
by Sarah Moore  



Access to the venue was restricted this morning as we woke up to the pitter patter of rain and high winds. The dirt on the long, narrow shuttle road to the venue becomes slick and sticky when wet and so organizers had no choice but to delay the start of the day until the road dried out. The sun eventually came out mid-morning, but it wasn't until close to 3pm that riders were able to drive into the venue to get to work on their lines. In the distance, fresh snow coated the mountains and the nearby town where Ethan Nell lives was one of the places that received several inches of fresh snow.

Although the day was cut short, we were treated to some mega sessions, and riders fit an impressive amount of riding into a short period of time before the sun set. While Brage Vestavik, Reed Boggs, and Brandon Semenuk took advantage of the moisture in the dirt to spend all afternoon on the tools, many other riders took the opportunity to tick of features on their lines and get comfortable on their bikes as the wind was light.

There's nothing like approaching darkness to put the pressure on, and as the sun moved lower in the sky, we saw some major features ticked off. It was like fireworks going off around the site as Tom Van Steenbergen, Kurt Sorge, Cam Zink, Ethan Nell, and Jaxson Riddle all hit the major drops in their lines within the same hour.


A late start to the day due to the overnight rainstorm. We finally got on course around 3pm.
It was a late start to the day due to the overnight rainstorm. Riders were finally able to get on site around 3pm.

Fresh moisture means it s a good time to pack and what better way then friends helping friends.
Fresh moisture means it's a good time to pack down your line, and what better way to do so than with a friend?

Slap slap slap.
As we arrived on site, the slap, slap, slap of shovels on dirt was the predominant sound.

The tools of the trade.
There were a couple of riders that took advantage of the moisture in the dirt to spend all afternoon on the tools.

The dirt was looking prime after a full night of rain.
The dirt was looking prime after a full night of rain.

Obligatory shot to show the condition of the dirt onsite as displayed on Zink s wheel in an artsy fartsy way.
Obligatory shot to show the condition of the dirt onsite as displayed on Zink's wheel in an artsy fartsy way.

As Ethan was working his way up to the top of his Lilly-Pad drop he could be heard singing Skee-Lo I wish I was a little bit taller I wish I was a baller...
No chairlifts here. As Ethan was working his way up to the top of his lily pad drop, he could be heard singing Skee-Lo; "I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller..."

Szymon Godziek flipping the mid-course step down.
Szymon Godziek had a big session at the bottom section of the mountain, throwing tuck no-handers, flips, and more!

Ethan dropping in to the last big hit.
Ethan dropping in to the last big hit on his line.

Andreu pushing back up while sessioning the bottom feature.
Andreu pushing back up while sessioning the bottom feature. Andreu had a big crash higher up on the mountain later in the day and is rumoured to have broken his collarbone. We have reached out with him for more details and will update when we hear back.

Welcome to rampage 2021 Szymon.
Szymon Godziek shows why he was invited to Rampage once again.

Classic Andreau flatspin.
A classic Andreu flatspin.

Vinny T scoping his line.
Vinny T scoping his line.

Thomas Genon grabbing tire.
Thomas Genon grabbing tire.

When packing a landing requires a rappel you know it s a big feature.
When packing a landing requires a rappel, you know it's a big feature.
Landings so steep that you have to use rope access to rappel into them to make sure they re packed just right.
Landings so steep that you have to use rope access to rappel into them to make sure they're packed, just right.

Ethan testing out his lily pad feature. He sent it deep on the first couple hits but finally dialed it in.
Ethan testing out his lily pad feature. He sent it deep on one hit, but looks to have it pretty close to dialled in.

T-Mac airing out a big suicide no-hander.
T-Mac airing out a big suicide no-hander.

Jaxon s drop is slow and technical a big change up from the rest of his fast line.
Jaxson Riddle's drop is slow and technical, a big change up from the rest of his fast line.

Massive bottom feature for Tom.
Tom Van Steenbergen on his massive bottom feature.

Jaxon dropping in off the knoblin.
Jaxson dropping in off the Knoblin.

Sure doesn t look like a slopestyle course to me
Brage is planning on keeping his line raw.

This trick jump had Andreu grinning from ear to ear every time he boosted the lip...his style is something that we ve missed since the last Rampage and unfortunately due to his collar bone injury we re going to have to keep waiting.
This trick jump had Andreu grinning from ear to ear every time he boosted the lip... His style is something that we've missed since the last Rampage, and unfortunately sounds like we're going to have to keep waiting.

Szymon was making the most out of the short afternoon session making sure he s perfectly dialed in on the lower features. He made sure that his stantion made solid contact with his frame on this One-Foot Downside.
Szymon was making the most out of the short afternoon session, making sure he's perfectly dialed in on the lower features. He made sure that his stanchion made solid contact with his frame on this one-foot downside.

It took Ethan a couple of hits of his Lilly-Pad feature to dial in the speed needed to land perfectly on the pad but he took to it like a frog to water before the afternoon was a wrap.
It took Ethan a couple of hits of his lily pad feature to dial in the speed needed to land perfectly on the pad, but he took to it like a frog to water before the afternoon was a wrap.

Kurt showing Szymon what the downtube of his frame looks like. Szymon said She s real nice Clark real nice.
Kurt showing Szymon what the downtube of his frame looks like. Szymon said, "She's real nice Clark, real nice."

Andreu didn t blink hitting this drop and then rolled into the trick jump and boosted it to the moon. Once he finally landed he said So much fun I forgot how much fun bikes were We made his comment PG.
Andreu didn't blink hitting this drop and then rolled into the trick jump and boosted it to the moon. Once he finally landed, he said, "So much fun!! I forgot how much fun bikes were!!" We made his comment PG.

Just a cheeky no-footer from Szymon through the legs of the water tower.
A cheeky no-footer from Szymon through the legs of the water tower.

Can Kurt make it a 4-peat
Kurt Sorge was the last rider to win at this site in 2017, can he make it a four-peat?

Jaxson Riddle kicks his legs around like a toddler that was just denied a McFlurry.
Jaxson Riddle kicks his legs around like a toddler that was just denied a McFlurry.

As Jaxson was playing in the dirt on his bike his team was playing in the dirt using the moist dirt to sculpt one of the final hits of Jaxson s run - we can t wait to see what Jaxson has in store for this lip.
As Jaxson was riding, his team was using the moist dirt to sculpt one of the final hits of Jaxson's run. We can't wait to see what Jaxson has in store for this lip.

The views especially after the storm we had sprinkled with some sunlight will make anyone stop for a second to appreciate mother earth.
The views, especially after the storm we had, sprinkled with some sunlight, will make anyone stop for a second to appreciate mother earth.

No spectators are onsite this early in the week however this is the perfect time for members of the production crew to take a couple minutes before the mayhem starts to take in the views.
No spectators are onsite this early in the week, however, this is the perfect time for members of the production crew to take a couple minutes before the mayhem starts to take in the views.

Jaxson seems to progress from test-run to tricking the feature in the blink of an eye aka the next hit he s going to do something sick.
Jaxson seems to progress from test-run to tricking the feature in the blink of an eye. The next hit, he's going to do something sick.

Final hits of the evening included Kurt Sorge making light work of the drop with possibly the best-looking landing out there...
Final hits of the evening included Kurt Sorge making light work of the drop with possibly the best-looking landing out there...

The sun managed to peek through the storm clouds for just a second at sunset to light up the start gate with a glow that makes the red rock pop like no other place.
The sun managed to peek through the storm clouds for just a second at sunset to light up the start gate with a glow that makes the red rock pop like no other place.

Just before we lost all light for the day Zink got this drop out of
Just before we lost all light for the day, Zink got this drop checked off.



64 Comments

  • 120 22
 Looking at these pics Brage won’t win as this looks like a Nines/Fest series event in the desert but his is definitely the run I most want to see.
  • 44 89
flag felix1999 (Oct 13, 2021 at 0:07) (Below Threshold)
 Maaaaan, please keep your fingers away from your keyboard
I guess you have never been to a rampage site, right? So therefore you have no right to be the internet thug who’s able to criticise the line choices. You do know who’s in the judging/organising team of rampage right? Pretty sure they would push rampage into a different direction, if it really became a slope event like all you keyboard warriors are complaining about.
Just let the riders do their thing and enjoy the show!
  • 24 54
flag b45her (Oct 13, 2021 at 0:38) (Below Threshold)
 agreed, no creativity or imagination, just random dirt jumps built on a mountain side. this is slopestyle not big mountain riding.
  • 32 0
 Brendan Fairclough’s line was one of the best I’ve seen. Mcgazzas canyon gap also - memorable moments.
  • 27 5
 Agreed.
"Brage is planning on keeping his line raw." this is where Rampage was born from.
As awesome as it is to see the huge made jump/drop lines everywhere, it feels a little manicured these days.

No Idea who felix1999 is but think he needs to watch the history of Rampage Smile
  • 26 3
 In response to @felix1999, perhaps it's you that should think before typing. I didn't criticise anything, just observed that most lines look like huge well groomed jumps and drops. Nowt wrong with that, and the stuff is all very impressive, but much of it is what we see elsewhere at other events, just in a different context. What interests me (and this is the crux of my comment) is creative and raw lines, the opportunity for which the environment allows, but only a few take the option of.
  • 4 57
flag felix1999 (Oct 13, 2021 at 2:43) (Below Threshold)
 @betsie:
Yeah man, pretty sure I know it better than you bro
Wade Simmonds & Josh Bender are the true OGs of rampage and surprise surprise, both of them are in the judges and organisations team. If they are happy with the direction rampage is taking then you should be too.
  • 4 0
 No question it is looking pretty sculpted. But the riders are building the lines they want to build. Might not be to our personal preference, but how can we complain when they’re building what they want? Progression was always going to bring tricks and bigger jumps.
  • 18 8
 @razor: “but much of it is what we see elsewhere at other events,”

PLEASE show me one other MTB event where guys are dropping in on a knife edge ridge off of 30 foot drops with 100ft cliffs on either side that are life enders if you don’t stick it just right. Yes there are big jumps and manicured landings but that is about the only resemblance to an event like Audi Nines. The amount of focus and precision these riders have to have, not to mention battling the elements, to make it to the bottom is insane and can not be compared to any other event. Until you have ridden in Virgin at the old sites and came to watch the event live you have ZERO credibility and right to say this is what we see at other events.
  • 12 2
 @skidmarkbro: I appreciate that there is some other stuff, but a lot of what is on show is large gaps with perfect take-off / landing, yes precision is required, but regardless of location / perceived risk, how many times do you see a rider land massively off the mark?

Regardless of this I think my point is being missed, I fully appreciate the risk, challenge, technicality etc of the whole event, but I like watching the lines which look creative and raw (ie my own personal opinion on what I want to see, others are just as entitled to their own) - chutes, drops, canyon gaps etc which really make use of the fantastic terrain on offer. I, like almost every other commentator on the matter are the viewers that Red Bull etc want so my opinion is just as credible as anyone else's, or is having an opinion an entitled club only the most elite can join?
  • 3 0
 @skidmarkbro: so much hating going on.
Last night I watched a cool video Red Bull compilation of the last 20 years. Some of the early stuff has some huge sends to pretty shitty landings. The sport has progressed to more slope style tricks, in 04 a no hander was. Big deal. I’ve yet to see one live but I have been to the sites, it’s humbling for sure. Loose af is an understatement. In my opinion I like the natural lines more but a combination of both is pretty damn cool too.
  • 3 0
 @razor: I get what you are saying and agree. There is no question of disrespect to any rider, let's face it, we'd all watch them whatever they ride 'cos they're all freaking amazing.
The question is how the competition should be judged and how line choice is scored. I'm in the 'natural line' camp and would like to see heavier scoring for original lines, but tricks seem to have become the focus instead in recent years. Nothing to complain about though really.
  • 4 4
 @felix1999: sit down princess
  • 7 7
 @monkeybizz:
Bro I think all of you have to sit down Big Grin
I‘m just saying that we should let the riders build and ride what they want to. They know the best in which direction Rampage needs to be pushed. 99.9% of the PB commenters haven’t been to the rampage site and most definitely won’t think about riding any of this stuff.
All I’m saying is that none of us has the right to say that rampage is moving into a wrong direction.. you really think your opinion about how the event should be judged (most of you have never been there) is more worth than Zinks, Sorges, Straits, Lacondeguys, Benders, Vink (…)?!
  • 4 1
 Agree. Just like how Brendog got robbed. Of course each individual has their own taste and aesthetic preference; I feel like MTB is as much art as athletic sport, so it will always be individual based and subjective. I am in the "non-slopestyle" camp because it's easier to relate to for me. There is something about spinning or flipping one's bike that is hard for me to relate to, mostly because I don't want to take that kind of risk. Rampage is becoming a slopestyle event, albeit with a TON more exposure.
  • 1 1
 Was really looking forward to Andreu destroying it and ruining RB's predictable storyline of event... But would they honestly ever let that happen?
  • 3 9
flag MTBthoroughbred (Oct 13, 2021 at 8:04) (Below Threshold)
 @MT36: Lets be honest... Brendogs run is MILES behind the top dudes. This isn't a downhill race.. Free ski events have been all about size, line choice, and trick PROGRESSION for years. Rampage follows the same suit.. If you want to watch "relatable" riding.. go watch XC cause that trash has no spot at rampage..
  • 1 0
 @MTBthoroughbred: Sure, like I said, the run was relatable on some level for myself (way more than xc). Brendog's run had elements of what a DH WC competitor would do, and of course he will stick with what he knows, which is largely technical skills in high speed, high risk situations. My point is that mountainbiking is a subjective art, I ultimately don't think that slopestyle is better or worse than a more trail/techincal style. This is why rampage is so fun to watch, because you have elements of both in the same course. Sure, I may be oriented away from slopestyle, but it is only an opinion. cheers
  • 6 1
 - *best riders on the planet risk their lives and give an awesome mtb show available to everyone.

- Pinkbikers: ‘’ Dude I don’t like your line choice, I want riders to risk their lives on the line that I prefer for my best entertainment. And don’t ask me to pay for anything’’
  • 2 0
 @MTBthoroughbred: Canyon gap backflip?
  • 3 0
 @t1000: These guys are getting paid because people are watching. The event wouldn't exist without a viewership. Some viewers feel a sense of connection to the event, especially if you've been watching over the last 20 years. Fans having an opinion or interest in an aspect of the performance is normal in all sports.
  • 1 0
 All I know is: every year someone gets hurt at this, and every year there is some degree of debate as to whether or not they should still continue this event with the danger level. Spending a little time making the angle of your landing pad a little safer doesn't seem too much to ask.

Individual athletes cutting raw lines for a youtube video is one thing, but when it's competitive it goes to another level and they push each other and I've got nothing but positive to say about what these guys are doing. I wish I could do it and I'm glad I don't- I know I'd cock it up and I'm way to pretty to take that kind of fall.
  • 77 4
 Rampage riders and builders: *literally have to rappel to pack landings because the hucks are so steep and massive*

Andreu: *gets hurt because the hits are super hard even for a rider of his caliber*

...

Fat 50 year old PB gaper who'd shit his pants just looking up from the bottom: "iTs SlOpEsTyLe" *takes a swig of Stella/[insert your local cheap beer for chavs], then proceeds to sit on his arse and type angry comments*
  • 7 3
 Yeh bro, rampage is looking like a bike park this year! ... sips ice cold VB....
  • 4 6
 100% true Bro.
  • 58 0
 I heard that Brage tried to sneak a 40 foot long Norwegian Spruce log into his carry-on, but airport security stopped him for smuggling stoke.
  • 6 0
 He was just spotted outside Park City, UT cutting down trees.
  • 44 0
 PB: "brage is keeping his line raw"
Me looking at a picture of a rock wall and people who look like mountain goats: "what fkn line, WHERE IS THE LINE!?"
  • 24 1
 Brage
  • 5 0
 Brage
  • 15 2
 Can we already start #bragegotrobbed?
  • 16 1
 Totally cheering for Brage, bringing back the original spirit of Rampage. Not to say that the impossibly huge stuff the other guys are hitting isn't gnarly, but Brage is going OG-level raw. I see a McGazza spirit award headed his way (or people's choice if he nails his run), especially given his positive attitude.
  • 1 0
 Brage is Andreu's brother from another mother. I am liking him more and more these days
  • 10 0
 Awesome photos! Thanks to all the photographers and Pinkbike for this great content!
One suggestion: it would be nice to include some wide shots that show the rider's lines, specially in the upper part. Less aesthetic, but more informative in order to see how each line flows and where it is in the mountain. Maybe even edited with arrows/lines to show the rider's path? Understanding how difficult lines are makes me enjoy the final show much more. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 I wouldn’t be surprised if there are rules about what all the media can show before the event.
  • 7 1
 Works of art all over the place! Looks beyond amazing and a lot more pre-riding than in years past. The riders must be beyond stoked this year. Oh and nice work on the stellar images PB!
  • 4 0
 I would love to see Brage nail a full Brage line but it is going to be tough in his first year. Really excited to see see his run as I'm sure everyone else is too. If there is anyone who deserves to win Rampage however, for his graft and consistently insane runs, creative drops and hideous underscoring... its T-Mac. Got to be his year!
  • 6 0
 Sad to hear the news about Andreu. Looks like he won't ride finals. Hope he gets well soon. That dude's style is amazing to watch!
  • 6 0
 Rampage without Brendog is one thing, but no Lacondeguy? Now im pissed!
Hope he gets well soon, possibly even well enough to compete.
  • 8 0
 I was so so so excited to watch Andreu ride. Gutted. Next year!
  • 3 0
 Same man, same. Andreu's wild runs have always been a highlight.
  • 3 0
 Andreu is a wild man. His style is so unique, nobody comes with quite that much physical intensity.
  • 2 3
 RB was praying for this since they couldn't bare the fact he might win and make them look stupid..
  • 3 0
 @MTBthoroughbred: Because I love a good story, fictional or otherwise, can you expand on your beliefs on Redbull's stake in Andreu getting hurt? I'm curious.... why do you think Redbull would benefit from AL's withdrawal?
  • 2 1
 @snl1200: because he was dropped by them just this year and was coming back with a vengeance. Capable of winning the event, and a fan favourite.
  • 2 0
 You know what also is compressed? my homepage, because there suddenly appears to be a new banner at the top of the page.... subtle, but noticed. Let the "realization of synergies" begin.
  • 5 0
 Nooo Andreu
  • 1 1
 Friendly suggestion for posts like this. Put a date in there somewhere. For example the write up here just starts with "this morning", and throughout just mentions "today", "this afternoon", or "this early in the week".

I am assuming that as I read this on the morning of Wednesday 10/13, the pictures and post are referring to yesterday, Tuesday 10/12, but the way info trickles out from this event its hard to ever know for sure. And I would assume its even more difficult for those readers outside the US who are in much different time zones.
  • 2 1
 Well, I hope there weren't any good prizes for the Rampage Fantasy contest... Cuz my predictions are fucked now. Heal up, legend.
  • 5 3
 Well, I guess I'm not winning a zeb
  • 4 2
 That takes me out the running as well. Broken or not I don’t know how hard he can hit now.
  • 3 0
 The Biking Viking!
  • 1 0
 Want to go to the scene to watch.
  • 1 0
 Southern Utah is such a cool place.
  • 2 4
 Funny how “senior” riders got a few extra years of build time in. Super fair comp. Not at all stacked.
Put it on YouTube, how to build your own slope course in 3 years or less…..
  • 3 4
 Not a contest when some riders have YEARS to build and improve on lines where others STRUGGLE to find a suitable line from top to bottom. If everyones lines were a free for all, would be TOTALLY different outcomes. Instead popularity, sponsors, and Clout predict most of the event outcome unfortunately.
  • 3 0
 Unfortunate side effect of not securing the permits for the new area they scouted. There was mention of a rider meeting where they kinda put up wait out potential permits or decide on an old venue. Of course, the old venue won. And many newer riders will be sharing features with the old lines. It's still balanced out by judges probably underscoring any rider who does the exact same tricks on the exact same line as a previous year. This event is always tough on the rookies. The nerves alone are worse than the line building. Let's see how the results shake out. Hopefully with less total riders they won't have to cancel events due to weather again.
  • 2 0
 @lepigpen: There were alot of riders there in 2017 that aren't there this year. So I would assume all those old lines are fair game for any new guys, which someone pointed out in another post is only 4 riders who weren't there in 2017. Should be plenty of lines/features for those new guys to build off of if the want to.
  • 1 0
 VIKING POWER!!!Smile
  • 4 5
 Shit Andreu. Now i have to make new fantasy team
  • 1 0
 You and several hundred others. Just go look at the comment thread from the Rock Shox give away contest.
  • 1 0
 @SoCalTrev: that’s what they get for casting their vote so early! Rookie move.
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