Red Bull Formation is Back: Dig into the Lines as Ladies Get Ready to Ride [Photo Essay]

Scoping, Sizing, Sending. All photos: Alexa Christensen

12 athletes, 24 diggers, and countless supporters are taking on the Virgin, Utah desert for seven days to showcase some of the world’s best female freeride athletes for the third annual Red Bull Formation event. The event is centered around progressing women’s freeride by bringing riders together who can push each other’s limits on the bike and build relationships off the bike.

Day one, Sunday May 8th, was a scout day for the athletes and diggers to scope their lines and get a feel for the terrain they will be tackling this year. The venue chosen for this year is the same one that Red Bull Rampage was last held at in 2014 and 2015. As Formation is still a growing event, digging is limited to three days, and having the outline of previous lines makes building complete, top-to-bottom lines much more attainable for the diggers and athletes.

Day two, Monday May 9th, started bright and early for everyone with the first day of focused digging on the horizon. Athletes and diggers teamed up to form game plans for how they want to tackle their lines this week. On day three, Tuesday May 10th, the athletes and diggers had another sun-up to sun-down session and were excited to see their lines begin to come together. They looked forward to a rest day on day four and a final day focused on just digging for day five, Thursday May 12th.

Now let’s talk about lines.

On the looker’s left you will see Vaea Verbeeck’s ridge line that she has been working on with Vero Sandler and Georgia Astle. Toward the middle you will find Casey Brown and Hannah Bergemann’s drop in from the top of the venue that is quite heinous. Hitting the same drop in, just coming from a different angle is Cami Nogueria and Louise Ferguson’s entry.

Verbeeck’s ridge is super exposed and has some massive features including a left hip and big drop. Nogueria will be following the line directly straight down the guts of the mountain, allowing her to carry lots of speed for her massive double drop. Casey Brown will split off from the entrance to ride her partner Brett Rheeder’s line from 2015 that has plenty of steep chutes, but still maintains its flow. On the right side Vinny Armstrong and her diggers (including her brother, Sam) are taking on a fresh line that will be all her own. Moving further right to the next ridge over you can find Chelsea Kimball, Harriet Burbidge-Smith, Robin Goomes, and Samantha Soriano working on an entrance to their line that Chelsea and Harriet will be splitting off of. There is so much variety in each athlete’s riding style and their lines really showcase it.

Sandler and Astle working on their bench right below the drop in.
Vero Sandler was so covered in moon dust that even her eyelashes turned white.
Look closely and you can see Vaea’s left hip.
The watering hole with Rachel Dobronyi.
The sand bag station.
Team work makes the dream work on Samantha Soriano’s crew!
Katie Lozancich getting all the nugs ( a nug is a really good photograph)
Spotted in the wild by Blake Hansen.
Skratch Labs Fuel + Hydration keeping everyone hydrated.
Vinny and Sam Armstrong working on a section.
Time for dinner!!!

Now onto rest day. Thursday is the final dig day and the riding happens Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Keep an eye out for the ride shots next.

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