Casey Brown shows us how to fly as she hits her double drop feature at Formation. Katie Lozancich photo.
Welcome back to the second installment of our Red Bull Formation Photo Saga! In the last chapter, we featured riders Hannah Bergemann, Jess Blewitt, Camila Nogueria, and Samantha Soriano. Today we're going to showcase the remaining athletes: Casey Brown, Vaea Verbeeck, Vinny Armstrong, and Chelsea Kimball. Each athlete approached their time in the desert differently. Some gravitated towards 40-foot plus drops like Kimball, whereas others—like Verbeeck—were eager to play with style and tricks. Despite their differences, all of these riders shared the same goal: to progress women's freeride. We think it's fair to say they achieved that goal and then some.
Take a look through the best action and reactions from the week of shredding in the Utah desert. We hope the content inspires you to grab your bike and go kick some ass!
Casey Brown was originally supposed to ride at the first Formation but was sidelined due to a shoulder injury. Going into this year’s event there was a lot of buzz because remember, this is the rider who’s ridden into Corbet’s Couloir and competed at the qualifying event for Red Bull Rampage. Unsurprisingly, Brown thrived in the Utah desert, gravitating towards a line she built with Hannah Bergemann and Samantha Soriano that tested her limits when it came to riding with sheer exposure and hitting drops. One of our favorite moments of watching her ride came when she successfully ticked off the entrance of her line. After she greased the terrifying entrance, Brown picked up her bike and hiked back up the mountain to show Samantha Soriano the line and give her pointers. Not only is she an exceptional rider, but a true leader in the sport.
Helmet on, Casey is ready to take on the day. Katie Lozancich photo.
Brown was often at the venue early in the morning, eager to ride. Katie Lozancich photo.
Casey throws a one-hander on the trick jump.
Hannah and Casey on the way up to the top of their line. Katie Lozancich photo.
Getting ready to drop. Katie Lozancich photo.
After checking off this feature, Casey grabbed her bike and hiked up again to help Sam with dropping into it. Katie Lozancich photo.
Hannah and Casey celebrate after successfully riding the terrifying entrance to their line. Katie Lozancich photo.
Another notable feature of Casey’s line was the Plastic Bag Drop, a heavy drop with little room for error. Katie Lozancich photo.
If there’s one thing Vaea Verbeeck knows how to do it’s riding her bike fast. The former World Cup racer and reigning Queen of Crankworx has a knack for finding the fastest line down the mountain. But this year at Formation, Verbeeck found herself with a unique challenge: going slow. Her line was chock full of technical drops that navigated its way down a narrow no-fall pathway. It demanded technical precision and the ability to pop and dump speed at a moment's notice. Naturally, Verbeeck worked through the challenge and ticked off one beautiful top to bottom descent. Our favorite moment? Watching her throw a clean tuck no-hander at the very end.
Vaea shows off her trademark racing scrub. Katie Lozancich photo.
It’s only up from here. Katie Lozancich photo.
Is that a rocket, or Vaea pinning it down the ridge? Hard to tell the difference. Katie Lozancich photo.
The most intimidating part of Vaea’s line was this massive double drop. Vaea stomped it during her top to bottom run. Katie Lozancich photo.
And to finish things off with style, Vaea throws one snazzy-looking tuck no-hander at the bottom trick jump. Katie Lozancich photo.
At the first Formation, Vinny Armstrong wowed everyone with her flawless 90-degree whips, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering she’s won a handful of Crankworx Whip Off Championships. This year, we saw the return of her iconic whips and watched Armstrong push herself on steep chutes and drops. While Armstrong certainly shines while she’s in the air, she made it clear that she's a versatile rider, able to adapt to all kinds of terrain. However, it was exciting to see the dynamic between her and her pal Jess Blewitt. They fed off each other’s energy, most notably when they threw down one of the heaviest whip trains we’ve seen yet at Formation.
Vinny warming up on the big double drop in her line. Katie Lozancich photo.
She’s got more than just whips in her trick toolbox, and her knacks are looking good. Katie Lozancich photo.
Vinny and Jess Blewitt kept each other company throughout the event. Katie Lozancich photo.
Watching them train the drop and trick jump was always a fun time. Katie Lozancich photo.
There were whips for days with these two. Katie Lozancich photo.
Vinny isn’t just nasty in the air, she knows how to ride technical terrain, too. Katie Lozancich photo.
One of the things we first noticed about Chelsea Kimball was that she was rocking a knee brace. Three weeks before the event she tore her meniscus and couldn’t straighten her leg. If her knee was bothering her, she didn’t show it. Trying to ride and build in the Utah desert on one good leg is already a challenge in itself, however, Kimball didn’t let that hold her back and came into the event with the bold goal of creating her own feature from scratch. The new build was a gargantuan task. Defying the odds, Kimball and her dig team built a massive drop that fed into a canyon gap. Thanks to all of grit, sweat, and one killer dig team, Kimball’s vision came to life beautifully. The icing on the cake was seeing Kimball guinea pig both features and greasing both of them without a hitch.
Drops are Chelsea Kimball’s specialty. Katie Lozancich photo.
Chelsea boosts it off the trick jump during warm-up. Re Wikstrom photo.
Scoping the entrance of her custom-built drop. Re Wikstrom photo.
On top of building a brand new feature—an incredible accomplishment Katie Lozancich (left) / Chelsea and her digger Cj Selig celebrate below. Re Wikstrom (right) photo.
After nailing the drop, Chelsea ticked off her canyon gap. Not a bad way to end a line if you ask us. Catherine Aeppel photo.
Lachlan Morton is a real-life superhero. After becoming a bit disillusioned by the rules and discipline of riding big bike races like the Tour De France, he decided to set out on his own and make the whole thing a little bit harder. This year, he pedaled the “Alt Tour”- the entire course of the 2021 Tour de France unsupported and alone, including all the transfers. That meant he covered 5,500 kilometers and climbed over 65,000 meters, in an effort to bring it all back to road cycling and the
There’s a reason they tell you to keep your head down when you’re near a helicopter – rotor wash is a powerful force that can literally blow you away. Unfortunately, Carson Storch was reminded of that the hard way after a taking a tumble trying to jump his bike off the skid of a hovering heli. The rotor wash caught his wheels before he landed, sending him over the bars and re-breaking his collarbone. We’re bummed to hear about the injury, Carson, but damn that’s a headline you don’t read very
DARREN BERRECLOTH Darren Berrecloth has been one of the best freeride mountain bikers in the world for almost two decades. Originally from Parksville, BC on Vancouver island, Claw has established himself as a rider who is not only extremely versatile but equally hardworking as well. This summer he'll be on the machines as he's announced, right here on the BTP, that the Bearclaw Invitational slopestyle event will return to Mount Washington next summer! Photo: Mark Warner