Video: William Robert Sends it in Scenic Utah

Jul 1, 2019
by COMMENCAL bicycles  

Without much introduction necessary these days, aged 25, William Robert is a growing talent in the world of freeride. Although accustomed to international travel, he had never ridden in Utah, an area that can be considered the birthplace of freeride.

Photo jbliautard

Our trip took form in two parts. After 5 hours travelling from Denver we arrived at our first destination, Green River, UT. Made popular several years ago thanks to the movie Strength in Numbers, and the location of many videos since, this Western-style city is located on the edge of the highway. But it's the especially incredible lunar landscape surroundings that interested us. Widely visible from the road, huge areas of black earth rise a few hundred metres high and stretch for km after km. Most of this place remains unexplored because it's impossible to access unless on foot or via helicopter. With a limited amount of time, we chose to head towards the main spot.

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Because this area gets ridden and filmed regularly it was difficult for us to find new features to dig and shape. After a few hours however, we found some interesting spots that theoretically, were well exposed to evening and morning light. The main stumbling block was the quality of the dirt itself. Made up of fragments of rock, the ground was very difficult to work with and we needed a lot of water because of the lack of rain. Despite our best efforts, the lips of jumps and the fresh parts we had dug were destroyed after a few hits, which obviously significantly reduced our chances of success.

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard
Photo jbliautard

The weather was our second problem. The wind, ubiquitous of Utah in the spring, didn’t help us at all. Our hopes of camping quickly deteriorated after our first attempt to put the tent up, which was manhandled and very quickly no use to anyone...
Very localised storms played their part every day. They follow very particular paths and can be somewhat violent. We had seen some storms just a hundred metres from us, without feeling a single drop of rain. Our greatest concern with precipitation was getting back to where we started. When it rains in Utah, the ground becomes extremely slippery (almost icy) and the 4x4 track that we used to reach the road could easily have become inaccessible. However, this variation of weather was a sight to see. Stormy skies at sunset, we saw it all, and it was spectacular!

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard
Photo jbliautard

A typical day of this first week started at 5am. After 35 minutes in the 4x4 in the dark, William had to ride at sunrise, something he’d never really experienced before. We were digging most of the day to prepare for the evening and the next day's shoot before heading back to the hotel after dark.

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard
Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard
Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Moving on from Green River we took the road to Virgin, UT.
Virgin is definitely the most frequented place for freeride. Welcoming Red Bull Rampage for many years, the dirt is also much easier to work. This popularity is obvious and it's difficult to find untapped places when you spend a short amount of time there. So we chose to rebuild some old lines on abandoned old Rampage faces and also run a few lines and jumps built by locals.
With Virgin being located just 10 minutes from Hurricane, a much larger and more industrial city, the change of scenery was less of a factor than at Green River. On the other hand, to us the place seemed much more hostile as the scorpions and rattlesnakes were difficult to ignore.

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard

Photo jbliautard
Photo jbliautard

Shooting in Utah with William has been a mutual dream for years and we hope we’ve been able to accurately share it with you through these pictures!

Rider: William Robert
Words and photography: Jb Liautard
Video: Léon Perrin
Music: MERUEM


40 Comments

  • + 13
 Don't get me wrong the video was sick BUT i hate when they don't show the whole trick! I like to see take off trick and landing. annoys me when they cut it!
  • + 8
 I kinda feel bad for William. He threw down and I feel like the video didn't showcase his riding as well as it could have.
  • + 8
 Wow, every single shot is a work of art. I like the style and feel to this one. To all you haters, if Secco put this out you'd be all over his jock (as you should be, he only puts out amazing content) but this is on par. Anyone here who's complaining in their comments, I can't wait to see your video come out lol. You've obviously, been spoiled with far to great of content for far too long. To William, Leon, and JB, keep making your art the way you want to make it!
  • + 11
 Commencal sure knows how to put together a sick edit
  • + 6
 IMO!!
In terms of viewer experience, it's hard to connect to a video when it's just mostly a collection of artsy shots.
Did the rider slay a mean line down the mountain to lead into that big jump? Or was he towed in by a truck? idk.
Was that move a big deal for the rider, or just kind of a casual hit? idk. There's no story involved and therefore not a lot of feeling for me.
Mesa with TVS and Ethan Nell was great in these regards. You could actually see the lines they were riding, and therefore relate to how it might feel to ride them. And the video told the story of the riders as they overcame fear and rode their lines, which built suspense and invited the viewer to experience the different feelings of the rider.

I mean, the video is pretty rad! But I think it had a lot more potential. I hope you see this as constructive criticism. And I'm just some random person on Pinkbike so take it with a grain of salt haha.
  • + 0
 I agree,
Imo the problem is the pro photographer philosophy of "its all about the light".
They are more concerned with their art than Williams'.
Sorry Jb but I don't need anymore drama in my life, spare me the boring traveling, walking uphill and goggle shots.
Just action please. Thanks.
  • + 17
 @DDoc: We don't give a f*ck
  • + 1
 @COMMENCALbicycles: yeah boys! I think y'all nailed it. Shooting in GR isn't easy.
  • + 2
 artsy-fartsy
  • + 1
 @DDoc: Sorry, I'll change my way of shooting for you then...
  • + 5
 "William had to ride at sunrise, something he’d never really experienced before"

And then you have kids, and the hours before the sun comes up quickly becomes your only hope for time in the saddle.
  • + 4
 Utah is the birthplace of freeriding? Two minutes of websearch doesn't support the claim.

French lines...Archimedes got robbed.
  • + 0
 Yeah, after visiting the Fraser area last year and learning how long they've been ripping big mountain lines there as well as the Kamloops, it predates any southern Utah ripping by a long shot. I could be wrong but 4/20 fest has been going for over 30 years now.
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2003-jan-11-me-outthere11-story.html

mmbhof.org/the-laguna-rads

According to Wiki, mtb freeriding owes snowboarding--'snurfing' in 1965--which owes surfing, which dates back a thousand years to the Samoan islands.

I see that Vancouver Island has good surfing, so it's no wonder western B.C. is such a Mecca, Web-based real-estate development aside.

No mention of reefer, but it's okay with me if you're smoking whatever Liautard is.
  • - 3
 @ceecee: Yeah but we're talking about MTBing, not surfing.
  • + 5
 @scott-townes: Thanks Scott! Freeriding in Kamloops since the Dead Sea was just sick! ha ha
  • + 1
 @bretttippie: Bahahahaha! Top shelf humor
  • - 1
 @bretttippie: That took me a minute, haha.
  • + 2
 Picts are insane. Edit is aesthetically amazing and love the dark mood but I think we might want to get to know the rider better, even though he's got god skills he's still far away from Semenuk to launch an edit like this. Huge respect and best rampage vibes for this guy though.
  • + 4
 Why is remy metailler at Rampage and he's not???? Remy is a racer, not a freerider!! #LetWilliamIn
  • + 3
 Excellent riding and shoot!
  • + 2
 From hurricane to Zion NP is an amazing non-stop viewfest
  • + 1
 Love Billy Bob vids.....always deliver. The videography on this one was off the charts.....well done!
  • + 2
 flat 3 = best trick in MTBing.
  • + 2
 Hope he gets an invite to Rampage qualifying.
  • + 2
 Stop using plastic cups and straws!
  • + 1
 To some Whistler is their dream spot. To me, this is what I would dream of riding. Just amazing
  • + 1
 If I could make a 1/4 of my income and live there, I would. Not SLC, but pretty much anywhere else.
In love with Utah.
  • + 1
 St George is the number 1 growing city in the nation.
  • + 2
 @Dhfreeride345: I can do St George. Not sure on income, and at least one of my family would stay behind. Im probably ok with that too. LaVerkin would be my choice,.
  • + 1
 Freaking gorgeous edit, awesome riding, super fun to watch. Must've been a lot of work put into this. Thanks!
  • + 1
 Hot damn - welcome to Utah, Billy Bob!
  • + 1
 Ol’ Billy Bob with the Utah edit
  • + 2
 He has 2 first names?
  • + 1
 Dang Billy Bob done done it again...
  • + 1
 Should be at rampage this year for sure, sick edit.
  • + 2
 Ahhhh slayyyyed????
  • + 1
 Too Many POTY contenders!!

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