Red Bull Formation, the first event created to advance women’s big mountain freeriding, allowing the eight top riders in the world – Hannah Bergemann, Camila Nogueira, Casey Brown, Chelsea Kimball, Jess Blewitt, Sam Soriano, Vaea Verbeeck, and Vinny Armstrong – to propel the women’s field of the sport. Dubbed a progression session, the week-long event from May 24 through June 1st saw athletes scout the mountain, sculpt their lines and shred top-to-bottom runs on one of the most challenging, yet iconic freeride venues in the world. It’s clear the women’s field of the sport won’t ever be the same.
“This was the most spectacular women’s freeride mountain biking that we’ve seen to date,” said Katie Holden, a Red Bull Formation founding organizer. “Each athlete got out of their comfort zone when envisioning their lines and it paid off in a huge way. It just shows how hungry and talented the women in this sport are to progress.”
With support from some of the most accomplished professional action sport athletes including freeskiers Michelle Parker, Lexi Dupont and Birk Irving, as well as freeride mountain bikers Jaxson Riddle, Carson Storch and Ethan Nell, there was an added layer of mentorship and expertise to the process.
“I’m just blown away by how far the ladies have improved in such a short time span,” says Michelle Parker, who provided invaluable advice and support to the athletes this week. Part of her role included one-on-one time with each athlete to tackle the fear of riding such rugged terrain. “The stuff we built this week is way bigger than the first year, it’s incredible to see the progression. I’m honored to be part of this and see the women level up together.”
The event consisted of three dig days, where the riders carved out their ideal line on the mountain; one rest day, where they found community in each other and the industry mentors; and three ride days, where the mountain was host to the some of the gnarliest women’s freeriding seen to date. Each ride day the athletes chipped away at pieces of their lines, hoping to bring it all together in a top-to-bottom run on the final day.
In addition, one athlete walked away with a new accolade: the Evolution in Action Award, presented by event sponsor Arc’teryx. While the event at its core is about collaboration rather than competition, athletes had the opportunity to vote on the participant that best represents the values of Red Bull Formation.
Walking away with the award and a stipend was Hannah Bergmann. Her fellow participants cited her ability to set the tone for the event and be a mentor to the younger riders as reasons for why she deserved it.
“The thing I’m most proud of is to ride in a way that inspires confidence in everyone else,” said Bergmann upon accepting the award.
Capping off a successful camp, Holden remarked, “Everything that we do in this moment at Red Bull Formation matters for those that come behind us. This is a space for us to come together to progress and push the sport forward.”
A YouTube series and Red Bull TV documentary on Red Bull Formation will be airing late summer. For more info follow @RedBullBike to receive updates. To learn more about Red Bull Formation 2021 athletes and read additional recaps from the event, please visit the event website here.