Photo Epic: Women Made Freeride History at Red Bull Formation 2021

Jun 1, 2021 at 15:30
by Alicia Leggett  
Vaea Verbeeck Cami Nogueira Sam Soriano Casey Brown Hannah Bergemann Jess Blewitt Vinny Armstrong Chelsea Kimball pose for a portrait on the final day at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021
Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Every single rider at Red Bull Formation 2021 made the freeride mountain biking world proud.

Hannah Bergemann pioneered The Ovary to the Fallopian Tube, which is no joke. Vaea Verbeeck stomped her technical double drop. Chelsea Kimball built and rode a brand new drop to canyon gap. Cami Nogueira also built a brand new technical roll to drop, and even after hitting the dirt hard on the first try and pushing through another couple of wild attempts, she repeatedly picked herself up and tried again until she nailed it. She's tough as nails. Jess Blewett sent huge jumps with arguably more style and amplitude than anyone. Vinny Armstrong was the first to trick the step-up in the first riding session. Casey Brown rode the gnarly Fallopian Tube line, and then, even though it would have been completely reasonable to call it a day after that burly accomplishment, she hiked back up with Sam to support Sam's first attempt at the line, dropping in to demonstrate with even more speed and finesse than the first time. Sam Soriano sent the big double drop at the bottom bigger than anyone else and set the standard for steadfast bravery every time she stood and looked at a line, admitted she was scared, and dropped in powerfully regardless.

Each women's mountain bike event like this one chips away at the barriers for women that have cemented in the sport over the last few decades, but this one did more than just chip away. Though we don't have official records for this type of thing, it's safe to say that Red Bull Formation 2021 included several of the gnarliest female freeride accomplishments... ever. This is a huge step forward.

Vinny Armstrong sets up her bike at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021.
Each rider received a personalized Formation plate for their bike. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Nicolas Piraud watches Jess Blewitt drop from The Ovary into The Fallopian Tube on ride day 2 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021
18-year-old New Zealander Jess Blewitt absolutely crushed it on her first trip to Formation. Here, she drops into the Fallopian Tube. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Chelsea Kimball rides the ridge at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021
The landscape is full of possibilities. Chelsea Kimball drops down the ridge leading to her big drop. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Hannah Bergemann scopes out the top of her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021
Hannah Bergemann spent the first two ride days sessioning pieces of her line before stitching it all together as the first rider to ride a complete line on the final day. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Hannah Bergemann does a test run on part of her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021
Hannah working her way down. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Casey Brown Hannah Bergemann stand at the top of The Ovary and discuss the drop in at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021
Casey and Hannah figured it out together. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Casey Brown looks at the top of her line as the crew makes adjustments to the run inat Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021
After some scouting and testing, the crew went back to work before the line was finished. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Hannah Bergemanndoes more work on the top of her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021
The riders all worked hard digging, too. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Hannah Bergemann drops over a feature dubbed The Ovary on ride day 2 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021
Casey Brown drops The Ovary at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021
The Ovary rock roll to the Fallopian Tube was a crux move on the upper mountain. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Hannah Bergemann Michelle Parker Vinny Armstrong hike bikes up the venue on ride day 1 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021
Even the easiest path up the mountain is a bit steep. Vinny Armstrong, Jess Blewitt, and Hannah Bergemann make their way up. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

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 "Haz" Burbidge-Smith, an alternate rider, made the jumps look easy. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Cami Nogueira prepares to drop her line on ride day 1 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021
Cami Nogueira showed this week that she's equal parts skilled and determined. Despite two gnarly crashes on her first three attempts at riding her line, she kept trying it until she nailed it.

Cami Nogueira drops into her line for the first time on ride day 1 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021
Cami drops into the trickiest spot on her line for the first time. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Blake Hansen passes Cami s bike up to her at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021.
Casey Brown hikes her bike to the top of her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021.
Gotta go up to come down. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Cami Nogueira Chelsea Kimball and Vaea Verbeeck check out a line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021.
The riders worked together to put together their lines. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Michelle Parker reacts with tears of joy after Hannah Bergemann rides her line top to bottom for the first time on day 3 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021
Pro skier Michelle Parker was a crucial digger/supporter/cheerleader/stoke leader throughout the week. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Jess Blewitt and Vinny Armstrong hit a step up at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021.
The New Zealand girls are clearly very comfortable in the air. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Vaea Verbeeck dials in her double drop feature at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021
Vaea Verbeeck drops into the rideg from the top of the venue at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021
Vaea Verbeeck's line is full of technical drops. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Vaea Verbeeck rides a steep rock roll on the ridge at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021
Cami Noguira leads Vaea Verbeeck into the gap jump at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 27 May 2021
All the Formation ladies are remarkable riders, whether on the ground or in the air. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Cami Nogueira prepares for a warm up on the drop to step-up at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021
Cami Nogueira prepares to ride on the final day. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Jess Blewitt hits the double drop on ride day 1 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021
This photo of Jess Blewitt really puts the scale into perspective. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

CJ Selig watches as Chelsea Kimball works on her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021.
Chelsea Kimball hits her big drop at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021.
Chelsea Kimball's drop was something new. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Chelsea Kimball hits her drop at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021
Chelsea Kimball CJ Selig celebrate after Chelsea hits the Canyon Gap at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021
A send and a celebration. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Chelsea Kimball hits a canyon gap at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021.
The canyon gap. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Hannah Bergemann sends the top of her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021.
Hannah Bergemann hits a drop at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021.
Hannah Bergemann sent it all the way down. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Vinny Armstrong hits the drop to step-up at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021
Vinny Armstrong has style for days. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Casey Brown hits the top of the double drop on ride day 1 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021
Casey Brown hits a gap jump at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021
Casey Brown was a valuable mentor for all the ladies throughout the week. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Cami Nogueira rides her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021.
Cami Nogueira putting it together. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Cami Nogueira sends the top of her line while Dylan Cobern and Vaea Verbeeck look on at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021.
Cami was a force this week. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Vaea Verbeeck hits a jump at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021.
Vaea Verbeeck's double drop gave no room for error. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Vaea Verbeeck rides her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021.
The upper section of Vaea's line also required quite a bit of precision and commitment. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Jess Blewitt hits The Plastic Bag Drop on ride day 2 at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 30 May 2021
Jess Blewitt hitting the so-called Plastic Bag Drop. Re Wikstrom / Red Bull

Hannah Bergemann and Casey Brown laugh and prepare to ride at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 29 May 2021.
The absence of a competition at the event helped foster an incredibly supportive, collaborative environment. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Cami Nogueira rides her line at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021.
Cami Nogueira hits a berm at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021.
At the end of the week, riders voted on the rider they thought most embodied the Red Bull Formation values of collaboration and progression. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull

Hannah Bergemann wins the Evolution in Action Award presented by Arc Teryx at Red Bull Formation in Virgin Utah USA on 31 May 2021
The winner of the Arc'teryx Evolution in Action award, voted on by the riders, was none other than Queen B herself.

To call it a successful week would be an understatement. Women's freeride keeps picking up momentum, and after seeing what went down in the last week, we can't wait to see what happens next.

Find other coverage from Red Bull Formation here.


85 Comments

  • 82 1
 Rampage/Formation - whatever you call the event those pics speak for themselves. Dang.
  • 64 0
 Wow. That picture of Verbeeck sending it into nowhere is ridiculous.
  • 36 0
 That and the styled up Vinny Armstrong drop five shot above it. Eek

I want a poster of that.
  • 38 0
 These women are gnarly! Anyone that hasn't been out in those mountains truly can't appreciate just how crazy this stuff is. Just being able to climb up there with your bikes is more than most of us would be capable of doing. Let alone getting down. Huge props for sending it ladies! Haven't read everything yet but I did see some heavy slam video. Hope everyone made it out alright.
  • 7 0
 @onemanarmy--well said! I can kinda imagine hauling a bike up there...but sure wouldn't know what to do with it then!
  • 6 0
 @OceanPhil: It's bonkers man. Some of that stuff is sketchy as hell to climb WITHOUT a bike.
  • 34 0
 Hoping a highlight video of this gets released soon.
  • 5 0
 There is more to come. Smile
  • 1 0
 @KatieHolden: Awesome, and thank you!
  • 28 7
 I think an argument can be made that this was better than modern Rampage. My argument is that this looks more relaxed, more fun, less commercialized, and more about the lines and terrain than it is about doing slope style on a DH bike. I hope Skye Schillhammer was there to get a super edit
  • 22 1
 "The Ovary rock roll to the Fallopian Tube" really shrivels my testes.
  • 15 0
 Is it OK to say “takes huge ovaries to ride that”?
  • 12 0
 So amazing.
It's been said a million times but pictures don't get close to showing the gnarliness of the area. It's basically a cliff.

Thanks to all the ladies for crushing it so hard & being an inspiration for everyone.
  • 10 0
 I was checking instagram for updates all weekend. It was so inspiration to watch. As a female who has been riding DH for 8 years and dabbling in freeride along the way, this is the content that lights me up and makes me want to ride.

To all those with opinions, I suggest you read the articles (this one and the others). The organizers have explained why this event was hosted the way it was.
  • 13 0
 This gives my brain so many happy chemicals all at once - amazing!!!!!
  • 17 8
 Great to see the Ladies Sending it!!!!
But come on RedBull, the only people at the event were the riders and the builders. How about a little promotion of the ladies event?????
Very sad to see no one out there cheering them on.... We can do better!
  • 18 0
 I don’t think that was the point of it… Wink
  • 16 6
 C-O-V-I-D
  • 15 35
flag DoubleCrownAddict (Jun 1, 2021 at 16:51) (Below Threshold)
 Hopefully next year they also make it a full on judged competition and take it to the next level.
  • 4 0
 @Rudy2455: it is Utah. Probably one of the least restrictive sates in the IS when it comes to COVID.
  • 25 0
 @Rudy2455: it was a closed site and everyone -- riders, support crew, media, etc -- had to show proof of a negative covid test from within 72 hours to enter the venue. Plus daily temp screenings. I totally get the concern, but precautions were taken!
  • 9 3
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I agree. A judged event with a live broadcast would bring in more viewers. Which equals a more profitable event and more money for the women. I can’t see how this event being judged and would do anything but bring more women into the sport. Either way it was awesome to see what we got to see from Formation, but I think they could do much better next year as I’m sure the field will be larger and the competition stronger.
  • 7 10
 @johannensc: Yeah, if it's judged next year I could see it getting mainstream attention and really blowing up.
  • 29 18
 @DoubleCrownAddict: @johannensc:

Did it ever occur to you men that these women don't need or want to be 'judged' (by who, a panel of men?) to be fulfilled by this event? Maybe stop trying to be such a patronizing white knight and read the captions under the excellent photos like this one, for example: "The absence of a competition at the event helped foster an incredibly supportive, collaborative environment. Catherine Aeppel / Red Bull"
  • 20 1
 @suspended-flesh: There are plenty of qualified women that would be happy to judge this event.
  • 11 1
 @suspended-flesh:
To be honest, I also missed this point. I thought it was supposed to be a kind of female rampage, however without competition element it’s of course not. I wonder if the female freeriders would like to take part in a big ‘judged’ event like rampage or if this is really not on their minds at all.
  • 12 3
 @DoubleCrownAddict:

At the end of the week, riders voted on the rider they thought most embodied the Red Bull Formation values of collaboration and progression.

Think you are missing the point
  • 4 0
 @alicialeggett: Well done !
  • 5 1
 @cvoc: one should not lump all female free riders into the same category. Some of them might want to be judged, others not. Some may not be bothered either way.
  • 1 1
 @jaame: Agreed. DCA left the piss out there for the taking.......
  • 11 1
 Bringing a freakin tear to my eye. So proud of these trail blazing women paving the way for those behind them! F yeah!!!!
  • 4 0
 There were tears of joy from many out there as we watched them stomp run after run - it was incredible to witness!
  • 11 0
 Finally a rival to the infamous Boner Log, the Fallopian Tube
  • 9 0
 WOW! They all went huge!
  • 4 0
 Give women the opportunity and they'll blow your minds!!
Stoked for these events to finally be taking off, we are ready for it!!
Even more pumped for @womensfreeridemovement / @wfmbike events to feed right into this!
Lets hope for some Live Coverage next year. @redbullbike
  • 1 0
 Yes! Stoked on the WFM bike events this year. Such a great group Smile
  • 3 0
 Amazing riders
Amazing women
Amazing humans!
This is so good to see - it takes a lot to be a good rider but it takes so much more to be a pioneer... and these women are pioneering women in freeride as we know it and it can only explode from here! Is it crass to refer to our sick sisters in MTB as sick-sters? Looking forward to the edit
  • 3 0
 Great pics! Awesome riders! I think it’s now time for us old gents to have a go ! Over 50+ . I think we could call it dead end!
  • 3 0
 Red Bull Deformation
  • 4 0
 Red Bull Deterioration
  • 1 0
 So cool to see women free riding growing and developing! Formation proves women can also shred, would be great to see this event grow even bigger with more riders and then maybe even merge with Rampage. These riders are an inspiration, I hope more young girls see what they're doing and get into the sport as a result.
  • 4 0
 I love written articles with cool pictures.
  • 3 0
 Absolutely the best thing I've read today! I wish there would have been videos to go with it.
  • 3 0
 All the women crushed it, way to go! Can’t wait for next year as I’m sure they’ll keep getting bigger and badder.
  • 6 4
 £10 says the lady's event quickly becomes the one to watch, because it already feels more in line with the original ethos of Rampage
  • 4 1
 Is it £10 to everyone? I accept PayPal.
  • 1 1
 @jaame: I'll take some free money too please.
  • 3 0
 Just came to say, MORE PLEASE! F ya ladies, F ya! Freeride lives in the mountains!
  • 1 0
 I live near this area and was out biking the dirt roads over the weekend. I came upon the tents and banners, but I had no idea what the setup was for (no people when I rode by), but this solves the mystery.
  • 3 0
 So awesome. More ladies smashing it.
  • 2 0
 Awesome, really enjoyed having more content this year!

No pic of Robin Goomes' backflip?
  • 6 0
 She threw it off site. I gotta say the crew did an amazing job capturing all the riding that went down. I can't wait to see the final edit; I think it's going to blow people away.
  • 2 0
 @SeligCJ: Thanks! I am so absolutely stoked for Robin who will be one of those Kiwis to watch in the next few years.
  • 3 0
 Talking about making the riding community proud... amazing pictures!
  • 5 6
 OK Red Bull you sent a couple of photographers. Nice one. Now start giving this event the same level of marketing, and event coverage as Rampage, you got all of this year to plan it, don't go letting down half population of the earth, the only global brand that could risk that is one with more money than morals.
  • 5 2
 You tell them how to spend their money! More power to you! Woo!
  • 3 0
 Awesome! Congrats to everyone!
  • 2 2
 Pictures are OK but these ladies would deserve better. I didn't see any bangers like we are used for Rampage. Many shots had potential but a better crop or angle would have made them as epic as the action.
  • 1 1
 I wish you would quit calling this kind of riding as "Freeriding"
.It's riding groomed terrain. Free riding to me means no digging
in the dirt You just ride what ever is on front of you.
  • 2 0
 Beautiful pics, and that's some serious airtime!
  • 2 0
 Good job Ladies!! U are some badass riders!
  • 1 0
 Loved following this on social media all week. Definitely squad goals right here.
  • 1 0
 Rad, great work everyone! Full send and a great vibe...it's what freeride mountain biking is all about, or should be.
  • 1 0
 Wow! Formation has just put 10 years of progression into Freeride in 2 years. Thank you to everyone that made this happen
  • 4 1
 Where was the broadcast?
  • 1 0
 Wish I could ride like a girl. That stuff is beyond the vast majority of Mtb riders I bet. Great stuff.
  • 1 0
 Why only report on the 8 riders? There were more ladies there we deserved coverage as well
  • 4 5
 So when are there going to be women competing at Rampage? Any reason Red Bull hasn't invited some of these amazing athletes yet?
  • 1 0
 Casey Brown was going to compete in the Rampage qualifying event (I'm too lazy to look up what it was) in 2019 but she couldn't compete due to a huge crash on the course.
  • 11 0
 jwestenhoff- Rampage can only be held with so many riders at the same venue in the same week. Ideally that would be great but why fix something that's not broken? Having their own week to send it and get all the coverage is just fine with me. Re killing it with the photos showing how insane their lines are! That canyon gap is wild.
  • 3 0
 @scott-townes: I agree. Sending it in your own comp is ten times better than being made to look average by absolute nut job riders, when the reality is that you are far from average.
  • 2 0
 Hellz Yes.
  • 2 0
 Rad
  • 2 1
 Loving the names of the features!
  • 1 0
 Hey RedBull! What about making a live translation next time?
  • 4 5
 Good on ya gals! Your lady balls are bigger than my man balls.
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