Thanks to Red Bull Rampage, Southern Utah is one of the best-known big mountain biking destinations in the world. Every year, riders travel there from far and wide to test their skills and mettle on the area's notoriously gnarly terrain. For most, it's an opportunity to push their limits for a few days before heading back to less-terrifying terrain. However, a lucky few grow up riding here, cutting their teeth on steeper and looser slopes than most of us will ever ride. Southern Utahns tend to grow into aggressive, fearless riders, none more so than Ethan Nell.
Photos by Peter Jamison
Ethan Nell was born and raised in Southern Utah, surrounded by steep hills and perfect jump-building dirt. He started biking as a toddler, and quickly expanded his interests to include the full gamut of vehicles of both the two and four-wheeled variety. These days, he’s traveling the world as a professional mountain biker, but nothing beats shredding red dirt at home.
He got the chance to do just that while filming for Accomplice. We caught up with Ethan to learn a little more about his biking history and interests:
Mountain biking has taken me around the world and allowed me to meet my best friends.
Tell us your first bike-related memory?
I remember being around three years old when my dad took the training wheels off my little bike. I did laps around our house for hours.
What’s been one of your favorite bikes and why?
My favorite bike is, and always has been, my downhill bike. It really suits my style coming from moto and is able to handle big jumps and drops.
How has mountain biking been a tool for you?
It has taken me around the world and allowed me to meet my best friends. I’ve had the chance to compete in events like Red Bull Rampage
What does the mountain bike symbolize to you?
To me, a mountain bike symbolizes a sense of freedom and happiness.
If you could only ride one place in the world forever, where would it be?
I’ve been around the block, but my favorite riding will always be in Virgin Utah, my backyard.
Where did you film for Accomplice? How was it?
Virgin, Utah. We had a few difficulties with weather as per usual but it was amazing hanging out with the best crew. I got to shoot with Cam Zink, Tom Van Steenbergen, and Jaxson Riddle.
Who’s your favorite person to ride with and why?
Hands down Andreu Lacondeguy. He will put a smile on your face the entire time and is an absolute style king.
If you’re not riding wheeled vehicles, what’s your favorite pastime?
That’s a tough one. Most of my life consists of things with wheels: pitbikes, moto, cars, side-by-sides. If we're talking no wheels, I’d have to go with surfing, hanging out on the boat, fishing, or hunting.
What’s your favorite trick? Least favorite?
My favorite is a Turnbuckle 360, and my least favorite is a tailwhip.