History has been made. Red Bull Formation 2022 was a huge stepping stone for the continuing progression of women’s freeride.
The lines built by the diggers and athletes were some of the most intense lines that women’s freeride has seen with massive drops, huge hips, steep chutes, and big trick jumps. What more could we wish for? Twelve of the top female freeriders in the world spent the last three days working through the lines they built in Virgin, Utah. The riders involved were seen exuding confidence thanks to checking off goal after goal throughout the week, and everyone involved was feeling so many emotions.
Vaea Verbeeck, whose line was on a ridge, was absolutely heinous and one of the most terrifying to even watch. She had hit every feature on her line except two of the drops toward the bottom of the line. Unfortunately, on the second of the three ride days, while building up her confidence to go for the first of the massive drops — which had a technical entrance and required an immense amount of precision — Vaea took a massive slam on the hefty left hip that was another one of her largest features. Medics rushed to her and helped her off the mountain with a suspected knee injury. That was her last day of riding, but she was sure to show up the next day and support the other riders on their final ride day.
Georgia’s Astle’s riding was so smooth all week, and she was dropping into the venue with confidence and steez from one of the most technical entrances. She was ecstatic to ride her line top to bottom on the third ride day, where she took on three massive drops that she executed perfectly. Georgia is definitely one to look out for.
Vero Sandler shared the same line as Georgia, and was always stoked to get a top-to-bottom run with comfort and style. Vero’s awesome digging skills were also showcased at the bottom of the line with a freshly built trick jump that she and her team worked on. Vero was unable to attend formation in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, so it was great to see her face back out there this year with the same steezy knack she had at Formation in 2019.
Louise Ferguson was a newly added rider to the Red Bull Formation roster and her first appearance could not have gone better. She dug all week without complaint and was so happy to be involved with such a sick group of girls. She crushed her top-to-bottom run on day three with no errors and rode with a confidence that spread to other riders. With backflips in her bag of tricks, I’m sure we will be seeing plenty more of Louise in the future. She has a calming presence around her that is like a magnet, and her warm and inviting personality is something we hope to see more of in women’s freeride.
Camila Nogueria’s line went straight down the guts of the mountain, and it led her to carrying speed from the top of the run that could be difficult to control. On her first run on ride day three, she skidded her way down the steep chute and took a tumble. In true Cami fashion though, she immediately got up and hiked back up to the top and rode a clean top-to-bottom line. She had a tough double drop straight into connectors onto a long step down. With such a brutal line, Cami ended up winning the Spiciest Line Award presented by Industry Nine. Cami brought a positive attitude and good vibes throughout the entire week, and she and her diggers worked together to create a unique line that was like no one else’s at the event.
Vinny Armstrong came out swinging and proved to everyone that she showed up to ride a line her and her diggers built from scratch. Vinny gave off the most calm and composed vibes all week, and she has so much steez and style to her riding. On the final ride day, she cruised her top section with ease into her drop and trick jump, where she threw a massive whip that only she could bring back. She then went into her feature called Diagon Alley due to its technicality and lack of room for error. Vinny’s line showcased her steeze as well as her brake control and confidence, and we can not wait to see more of her in the future.
Casey Brown and Hannah Bergemann had lines that truly pushed the limits of women’s freeride, and it is truly difficult to put their lines into words. Just to focus on one feature, there was a massive drop they shared kept them up at night, where all they could think about was rolling over the edge to pop safely to their landings. Hannah took a couple of slams on it in the early riding days, but managed to get it clean on the final ride day along with Casey where they both put together impressive top-to-bottom lines that wowed everyone. The amount of composure Hannah and Casey have is insane, and it was awesome to see just how much every rider looks up to them.
Chelsea Kimball, Harriet Burbidge-Smith, Robin Goomes, and Samantha Soriano started further to the riders’ left on the outside ridge of the venue. Their lines shared a basic framework, but they each had their own take on the line that showcased each rider’s individual style. Chelsea had a super tight drop between two rocks that required immense precision to get perfect in order to execute another drop directly afterward. Sam had an on off drop that led her into her skipper line that she revamped from 2019, which was her favorite part of her line. Sam went huge at Red Bull Formation in 2021, and wanted to focus more on showcasing her skills and personal attributes this year. She looks forward to continuing to ride her line as she is now living here in Virgin, Utah. Unfortunately, on the final ride day, Sam and Harriet were not able to complete a top-to-bottom run as one of the chutes they had been sharing began to deteriorate without their knowledge. It took both of their front wheels, leading Harriet off of a cliff, and taking Sam off course. These women crushed it and we are stoked to see more from them.
Harriet had been crushing the rest of her line all morning, and it was great to see her out ripping in her fresh Red Bull helmet after being an alternate rider for Formation in 2021. She proved all week that she had every right to be one of the athletes, and had a great time bringing her vision for her line to life. Robin took a different way down that avoided the chute, and it allowed her to get a smooth top-to-bottom run in which she pulled a suicide no-hander on a massive drop toward the bottom of the run, and back flipped the final jump. She had been working on these tricks over the course of the ride days, so it was great to see her put them together in one run on the final day. She was a stand-out rider during the entire event, and was able to showcase her bag of tricks on her line. She even threw in a cheeky can-lander to can-back on a lily pad that she and Sam shared, as well as a can-can on and sui off in another run. Robin was very consistent all week which allowed her to ride with tons of confidence, and it showed when she hit one of the larger drops the riders shared without hesitation.
It was incredibly exciting and inspiring to see what these women put together in seven days with the help of their diggers and support of so many others involved. The third annual Red Bull Formation was a raging success, and we look forward to the future events. With an increased roster from eight riders in 2021, to twelve this year, we are hoping to see even more women show what they are made of in the future. Many of the diggers involved were happy to get their foot in the door, and hope to get a chance to be an athlete in future years.
Cheers to another incredible Red Bull Formation!