Photo Epic: Recreating Magic in the Desert - Red Bull Rampage 2021

Oct 11, 2021 at 22:25
by Sarah Moore  



The sun was out and the winds were light as we arrived on site in Virgin, Utah for the 20th anniversary edition of Red Bull Rampage this morning. It's been almost two years since the event took place and while a lot may have happened in that time, the desert has remained largely unchanged and you can still see the remnants of landing pads and crumbling jumps on the red cliffside from the second time this venue was used in 2017.

The 15 riders competing this year and their two-person build teams have been busy the past week and fresh features are popping up every which way you look. With rain earlier in the week, the digging was good and it's impressive to see how far along some of the lines are. There's more rain in the forecast and still three more days left for the riders to sculpt in their lines before finals and so we have high expectations for what we'll see come Friday.

The wind was forecast to pick up later in the day and so riders were on their bikes and testing features first thing in the morning, with Brandon Semenuk and Carson Storch kicking things off near the bottom of the mountain. Kurt Sorge, Tom Van Steenbergen, Jaxson Riddle, and Tyler McCaul eyed up the blind step-down that they're sharing to the rider's right of Semenuk and Storch's line before riding it multiple times, with the tricks coming out as the session progressed. Ethan Nell checked off a drop near the end of his line, while Reed Boggs up on "Reed's Ridge" to the looker's right of the venue hit "The Goblin" before the winds picked up. By midday, anyone who had taken the weather window to get on their bike, set their wheels aside and got back on the tools.


Brandon was the first rider of the day to put tires in the dirt.
Brandon Semenuk was the first rider of the day to put tires in the dirt.

The viking himself Brage Vestavik being welcomed at rampage for his first time.
The Viking himself Brage Vestavik being welcomed to Red Bull Rampage for the first time.

Bradon s new rampage helmet.
A new lid for Rampage for Brandon.

Floating over the final feature on the course.
Brandon floating over the final feature on the course.

Carson flipping on the bottom feature.
Carson quickly quickly getting comfortable and flipping on the bottom feature.

Semenuk has chosen to ride with the single crown RockShox ZEB. This means he can do things such as a flip-whip. At Rampage. WTH.
Semenuk has chosen to ride with the single crown RockShox Zeb which means he can do things such as a flip-whip. At Rampage.

T-Mac and Jaxon stepping off the midway section.
T-Mac towing Jaxson Riddle off the step down.

The flexibility of the youth...Jaxson Riddle tests out his step-down that leads him into the bottom of his line.
The flexibility of the youth... Jaxson Riddle quickly got up to speed on this step down that leads him into the bottom of his line.

Sorge made sure to make the most of the morning session before the winds rolled in and left the athletes throwing dirt for the rest of the afternoon.
Sorge made sure to make the most of the morning session before the winds rolled in and left the athletes throwing dirt for the rest of the afternoon.

Ethan Nell is putting on his goggles that offer superb eye protection.
Ethan Nell putting on his goggles, the last step before rolling in.
With look-backs like these E-Boy might have a future career in modeling...probably not though.
With look-backs like these, E-Boy might have a future career in modelling... probably not though.

Ethan started his morning off with a couple of test runs towards the bottom of his line before the winds picked up.
Ethan started his morning off with a couple of test runs towards the bottom of his line before the winds picked up.

Tom Van Steenbergen eying the big stepdown at the end of his line.
Tom Van Steenbergen eyeing up the big step down that he shares with Kurt Sorge, Jaxson Riddle and Tyler McCaul at the end of his line.

Reed Boggs is the only athlete to include the Goblin in his line he hit it flawlessly first time.
Reed Boggs is the only athlete to include the Goblin in his line, he hit it flawlessly first time.

The wind picked up midday and have the riders a much needed break.
The wind picked up midday and riders traded two wheels for tools to finish the day.

The Lacondeguy brothers putting the finishing touches on Andreu s line.
The Lacondeguy brothers putting the finishing touches on Andreu's line.

Damon Iwanaga rockin out while digging.
Damon Iwanaga rocking out while digging.

Carson Storch scoping line placement.
Carson Storch standing on the edge, scoping line placement.

No shortage of signs telling you where you are.
No shortage of signs telling you where you are.

Dirt art pt.1
These lines are real works of art.

Dirt art pt.2.
Nothing quite like a perfectly sculpted lip.

Dirt art pt. 4.
The work that goes into building some of these features really is mind-boggling.

Dirt art pt. 3.
More dirt art.

The dirt was treated to some moisture from mother-earth a couple of days ago which helped the teams sculpt the red desert dirt however as dry as the desert is more was needed.
The dirt was treated to some moisture from mother-earth a couple of days ago which helped the teams sculpt the red desert dirt, however, as dry as the desert is, more was needed.

Two of the OG s and best of friends Kyle Strait and Cam Zink work together to shape up the middle section of their runs.
Two of the OG's, and best of friends, Kyle Strait and Cam Zink work together to shape up the middle section of their runs.

Cameron Zink needed to repel to be able to access his landing for some late afternoon manicuring as the storm started to roll in.
Cam Zink needed to rappel to be able to access his landing for some late afternoon manicuring as the storm started to roll in.

Almost like a Choose Your Ending story book...which drop will you choose
Almost like a "Choose Your Ending" story book...which drop will you choose?

Love for Jordy on one of Reed s landings.
The trick jump on Reed Bogg's line pays tribute to Jordie Lunn, lost on October 9, 2019. #RoughAF

Teamwork makes the dream work.
Teamwork makes the dream work.

Semenuk fills his 3 522 sand bag.
Semenuk fills his 3,522nd sand bag.

Tools of the trade.
Tools of the trade. By midday, anyone who had taken the weather window to get on their bike, set their wheels aside and got back on the tools.

Although it seems that all of the teams are a lot further along on their builds than years passed there is still a solid amount of work to do before the big show.
Although it seems that all of the teams are a lot further along on their builds than years passed, there is still a solid amount of work to do before the big show.

Do we really need to write a caption for this one
Brett Tippie with his signature smile behind the wheel of this side by side.

The storm came in at the end of the day and started pushing riders off the course.
A storm rolled in late in the afternoon and the rain began just as the sun set. Tomorrow afternoon looks like it could be a good one after the storm drops some moisture on the riders' lines. Until then!



60 Comments

  • 55 0
 No photos of Vanderpoel’s line?
  • 26 1
 you mean the line without landing ?
  • 6 0
 Hi has to use an existing line since he is racing a cx worldcup the day before Rampage to get his legs in the mood.
  • 3 0
 its so rough you cant see his line
  • 1 0
 @bavshredder: I thought he refused to take part after someone took down all the landings in his line and gone race a road race instead.
  • 2 0
 My bet is that Van der poel will race the course in reverse and go up hill.
  • 48 7
 Would love to see the more natural lines get a boost in the scores this year. Some of the surfaces above look smooth enough to play snooker on them.
  • 23 43
flag skidmarkbro (Oct 12, 2021 at 5:42) (Below Threshold)
 I would love to see you ride down some of these landings. Not hit the drops or jumps, just ride from top of landing to bottom. Go back to playing in the woods Jerry.
  • 14 1
 @skidmarkbro: Why are you so insistent on tearing people down on the internet? You don't even know @danposs86 . Why do you feel you have to resort to childish name calling when someone expresses an opinion?
  • 6 1
 @Spencermon: he's probably triggered at the potential freeride mtb / snooker crossover getting rubbished on the internet ONCE AGAIN, and justifiably so.
  • 40 4
 Why can't we all just be stoked for rampage? They are building all these lines with shovels and rakes for Pete's sake. 0.0 heavy equipment. That's impressive all by itself. The riders aren't just pointing, directing and then testing features. They are out getting dirty building. Still plenty of exposed, gnarly terrain on the way down. Years back they added a bunch a wood and that took the spirit of the event away so they ditched it, now the dirt is too smooth. Sheesh.
  • 15 3
 It’s crazy to me that people can’t comprehend how gnarly each one of these lines are even with the manicured landings and takeoffs. They don’t get it because they have never been or have never ridden terrain like Southern Utah.
  • 3 0
 people ust wish it was again 2001 when lines were gNaRLy and their heads full of hair
  • 4 0
 I can be stoked on Rampage and still want more of the old school ride down the side of a cliff vibe. Gee Atherton's Knife Edge line was the coolest thing I've seen in a long time (his crash notwithstanding).
  • 15 1
 Ahh Rampage the event where Nico Vink decides to not worry about the purity and realness of mtb and instead judge a contest.
  • 14 1
 so many idiots complaining its unbearable
  • 12 2
 Brage
  • 10 1
 Brage ftw
  • 9 0
 Brage
  • 7 0
 Appreciate Steenbergen's jersey!
#RoughAF forever
  • 3 0
 And Bogg's trick jump tribute...
  • 4 1
 Same comments as every year from haters. And the event is largely the same as ever, so there's no new edgy points to be made anyway. The first few rampage videos show what happens when landings aren't clean and packed.

Personally I think Rampage is the most exciting event of the year and it's awesome how it is.

Now if they made another separate event where they turn riders loose on a 100% virgin slope, no trails, no jumps, nothing, I'd support that too. You can't expect Rampage level riding on raw terrain though obviously.
  • 1 1
 It is still Rampage-level riding, just not Rampage-level stunts. Call it Rampage-Raw or something. More content always!
  • 9 4
 Brakes gonna do a flat drop 360 of a skinny on a 50 foot drop and probably still won't win
  • 7 0
 what brakes are those? i want them
  • 1 0
 @nikifor88: new limited edition ones...aren't out yet because they are gonna trail them out at rampage
  • 10 8
 Its such a shame there are so many existing lines (but appreciate the issues in getting new venues!). It takes the creativity out of the competition. I hope there is a point deduction for using an existing line based on the % of the line re-used. some people (zink/strait/sorge) only really need to dress a few lips and away they go. not really fair on the newcomers or those looking to be more creative.
  • 7 30
flag skidmarkbro (Oct 12, 2021 at 5:45) (Below Threshold)
 Do all you UK people just complain constantly?? No wonder no countries are allowing you to travel to them.
  • 1 2
 Keep in mind it’s a much different field of riders than 2017. There are some guys who can claim old lines and build off those but there are also a lot of lines out there that were built by riders in 2017 who aren’t there this year. I would assume those are fair game this year for anybody who wasn’t there in 2017 to build off of.
  • 8 0
 @skidmarkbro: It's a national sport Wink
  • 4 0
 @sino428: Funny you would say that. Turns out, Jaxson Riddle, Reed Boggs, Symon Godziek and Brage are the only 4 in this field that didn't ride in 2017. There is never really much turnover in the Rampage roster...
  • 5 1
 From an environmental perspective, re-using an older venue isn't such a bad thing. Saves some fragile desert ecosystem. Points can be awarded for creative revival of older features. Could be an especially cool way to visualize the progression of the sport.
  • 1 0
 @wilsonians: No there really isn't, but while there are only 4 new guys, there were by my rough count 8 riders there in 2017 who aren't there this year. So there should be plenty of already constructed lines/sections that those new guys could build off if they want too.
  • 5 0
 Great pictures, thank you!!!!
  • 5 0
 Looking forward to Brage's line
  • 1 0
 i am so excited for brage
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