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Red Bull Formation: Finalized Lines

As the window closes on dig days, the women of Formation prepare to hit some of the biggest lines of their careers

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A few of the women started easing into hitting parts of their lines on Thursday, as digging officially wrapped up at the Red Bull Formation site in Virgin, Utah. Hannah Bergemann guinea-pigged a huge drop on the line she’s sharing in part with Casey Brown and Sam Soriano, while Cami Nogueira towed Vaea Verbeeck into another big-commitment line, but mostly the women stayed on the mellower features below the mid-road, conserving their energy and excitement for a big day ahead on Saturday. The guys on site, like Carson Storch and DJ Brandt, also tested some of the features, offering advice on things like roll-in speed, but are there primarily to play a support role, watering lips, or pitching in on builds, while the ladies take the lead.

Most of the day was spent perfecting builds in advance of tomorrow first day of sessioning, with the ultimate goal of cleaning top-to-bottom runs and further pushing the progression women’s freeride, a discipline that has historically been male-dominated. Formation follows in the footsteps of Red Bull Rampage, the 2o-year freeride event, held on the same cliffs above Virgin, Utah, but Formation is about camaraderie over competition, with teamwork and the elevation of the entire sport held in higher regard than whose line is the most consequential or tricks the most technical. Both Formation and Rampage take place on private land in Virgin, and offer a rare opportunity for creativity, where riders and their diggers can envision lines and sculpt them into reality.

Formation continues through the weekend.

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Photos: Leslie Hittmeier
Cami Nogueira, an Argentinian native and Aspen local, has settled right into her first Formation.

Teamwork is the driving force during the builds, with every spare hand put to use. Blake Hansen and Dylan Cobern muscle their way through the afternoon, working on Vaea Verbeeck and Cami Nogueira’s line.
The desert's beauty never fades. Neither does the constant need for water.

The guys at Formation are on-site primarily in a supportive role, quite the opposite from most big freeride events, which have historically been largely male-dominated. Formation is breaking that mold.
Sam Soriano pushes back up. Soriano, a first-year Formation invitee, built primarily with Casey Brown and Hannah Bergemann, both of whom participated in Formation 2019.

Soriano takes off, after Hannah Bergemann guinea-pigged this feature, and gave it the go-ahead. “I like that stuff. You only have one chance to do something for the first time,” Bergemann said.
Soriano and Casey Brown still full-faced and focused, after sessioning one of the biggest features of their line, while Formation founder Katie Holden offers an arm and a smile.
Vaea Verbeeck and Hannah B. scope the line, then Hannah goes huge.

Verbeeck in flight.
Jess Blewitt leaves the Utah dust in her wake, as the 18-year-old Kiwi takes part in her first Formation.

Digging from dawn ’til dusk in the hot desert sun requires brief moments of respite whenever they can be found.
Verbeeck and Noguiera's crew reinforces their top section from the mesa with rebar. Sketchy for walking, but it'll go on a bike. Kind of sums up most of the Virgin terrain.
Gettin' it done on day three.

Blake Hansen (left) and Robin Goomes, who’s an alternative rider, lended Verbeeck and Nogueira on the ridgeline.
Hansen, a long way up.

Team badass.