Red Bull Rampage: Behind The Lens
“It’s is the biggest, gnarliest freeride mountain bike competition each year”
In my mind, Red Bull Rampage is essentially the Olympics of the freeride mountain bike world. Red Bull’s invite-only mountain bike event has been going on each year (minus covid) since 2001. Held in Virgin, UT it’s home to some of the steepest, most high-consequence terrain any competition has to offer. But what sets it aside from other competions that many people don’t realize is that not only are these guys’ riding the most insane lines, they’re also digging them!
One of the most unique factors about Rampage is each rider getting to choose his line within a specific zone. From there, they’re allowed two diggers, who help them formulate a high-scoring run. All this physical work right before a massive high-stakes competition is damn impressive. Armed with shovels, pick-axes, rakes, water sprayers and more, they slug everything up and down the hot Utah cliffs for days at a time. Meticulously dialing in their line feature by feature.
When it comes time for competition day, each rider gets two runs. Because of the intense labor that goes into these runs in the days prior, it’s not uncommon for their ‘comp run’ to be their first full run connecting all the drops and features these cliffs have to offer.
Adobe Premiere timeline of a ‘Course Preview’ next-day edit during Rampage 2021. Video below.
Without standing at the top of these drops in person, its basically impossible to comprehend just how insane and steep the terrain here is. My first trip to shoot and edit for Red Bull Rampage was in 2019. Pack the water, and bring your hiking boots! Time to load that F-Stop bag full of camera gear and meet the riders at the top!
Each Red Bull Rampage event I’ve been to has been with my good friend Nick Mitzenmacher of Uncommon Friends media. We worked these events together while at GoPro, and in more recent times as independent creatives.
The temps during Rampage in Utah can be really hot, and lugging gear up and down cliffs, all day then returning to edit in your hotel room each night is no easy task, but with that in mind, it truly is one of the most unique event opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to experience both in 2019 and 2021.
More recently I also worked the ‘sister’ event, the 2022 Red Bull Formation – which is a Women’s specific event based on the same ideas, riding in the same zones. Having been to this venue three times now to watch both men and women ride lines that you couldn’t pay me to drop – well, impressive is not an adequate word to describe my thoughts.
Every athlete that makes there way out to these events is pushing their sport to the limits of what’s possible. Each year gets bigger, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Red Bull Rampage 2022!
Written by Alex Hogue – Adventure Filmmaker.