As 2015’s Red Bull Rampage charges ever closer towards us, the riders of the event take to the hills of Virgin, Utah to lay claim to their lines and dial in their features. But, with the stakes of the biggest freeride event set so high and usable real estate being limited, battles for line choice can be a test of creativity and camaraderie
Red Bull’s Rampage freeride event has become the most iconic event of it’s type. Riders and fans alike wait with eager anticipation for this event to arrive every year. Red Bull has made sure hype this event as the end all, be all of freeriding. But, technically it is regardless. That’s because, besides some much smaller grassroots events, there is no other event of its caliber. One of the symptoms of Rampage standing on its own is that the competition to participate is fierce. Many of the best riders in the world are unable to participate in this invite-only event, and the ones that receive an invite face other challenges beyond massive drops and monster gap jumps.
Leading up to the day of competition the riders are allowed to hike the hills of Virgin, Utah with a small team of helpers to design, shape, and perfect their lines. Scoring at Rampage is built around 4 categories:
- Fluidity and Style
- Air and Amplitude
- Line Choice
Since each category is worth 25% of an athlete’s final score it is easy to deduce that this time of choosing and building lines is crucial to a win. New riders and riders that have not participated in Rampage in recent years face an uphill battle in this arena. That is because there exist a sense of ownership of previous years’ lines, work, and maintenance that has been established by veterans of the event.
While most of these athletes are friends there is a lot on the line for this single event competition. Camaraderie can be tested when someone wants to utilize the heaps of creativity and work that another athlete has invested in their line choice.
The upside is that this type of battling for real estate can force riders to step outside of their normal trail mindedness, and look for new opportunities and challenges. The downside is that while this is potentially more entertaining for spectators, and may push the sport forward, this can be at the risk of the athletes themselves. If you’ve watched a Rampage event in the past, you no doubt have been amazed at the amplitude that these riders are capable of, but have also cringed when they come up short. This event was cancelled for several years due to increasing risks that the competitors were taking. In the end, everyone must ask what the value of line ownership over risks is worth. It is always a balancing act of pushing the sport, engaging the spectators, and caring for the safety of the competitors.
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