12 months after the last rider touched down and the dust settled, the main build crew at Red Bull Rampage is already out in the Utah desert laying the foundations for what promises to be another off-the-charts celebration of all things freeride. The event is still a couple of weeks away, so for now, it's the official course builders doing their thing. We'll be bringing you updates as the build progresses, and of course, we'll have coverage from the event itself, so keep it locked on Vital MTB over the coming weeks. To get us going, here are a few pictures and videos that the builders and course designers have been sharing - it's looking pretty wild out there already!

First introduced in 2010, the Oakley Icon Sender has become somewhat of a symbol of the event - at the very least, one of the most eye-catching features and also one of the most demanding to build. This year, Oakley ran a contest to crowdsource the main design idea for the new Sender, which landed us with this:

Sketch by  Scott Dickson // Oakley

With the event looming over us like an angry Utah thunderstorm, now it's time to take the design idea to dirt. Jeremy Witek from Gassparks, main contractor for the build, shared this little video clip from the site.  Work on the Oakley Icon Sender is progressing nicely - apparently, it might be of world record height, too...

Comboversteve shared this shot of a lip for flips, also part of the Oakley Sender.

October 5, 2013: The riders are starting to arrive in Utah. Andreu Lacondeguy shared this shot of the Oakley Sender in all its glory. Duuuude....

Jeremy Witek showing off some kind of boner-log inspired madness - in typical Rampage fashion, until you start seeing riders on some of these features, it's hard to even imagine where the line actually goes and where you might be supposed to be landing...

Some kind of wild mega-boner-log

Looks like the step up near the bottom of the course is back for another year of big whips and mega flips, courtesy of Jeremy Witek.

Kyle Strait's line shaping up too!

Jeremy Witek shared this shot of several features.

Canyon Gap in da house! Shot from comboversteve.

Canyon Gap - shot by comboversteve

The far left ridge line is also getting some love thanks to Bender, Spangler, and dailyshredder.

If you wonder how they build some of this stuff, Red Bull has some interesting snaps from the work in progress. When you need a skid steer to lift the boom-lift, you know you're doing it right. Check in with Red Bull's Rampage site to keep up with the news and discover related stories.

© Dave Reuss/Red Bull

One day soon, somebody is going to have to guinea-pig this thing. Not it.

© Dave Reuss/Red Bull

Stay tuned as the desert madness revs up. This year Rampage will once again start on top of the highest possible elevation within the pre-existing venue, opening more options for riders on the way down. Riders will have just three days to build their lines, starting Tuesday, October 8th, and are limited to a build crew of three people, unlike last year.

We can't wait to see it all go down on October 11-13, 2012. For more details, visit the official Red Bull Rampage website and be sure to keep it locked on Vital MTB for more coverage as the event unfolds. Yeow!

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  • norcal77

    9/30/2013 1:25 PM

    listen, i understand you don't "NEED" to hit the wood. however the sponsors spend a lot of loot to throw this event, they want to see more riders from all aspects of the cycling world come to this venue. the more riders they bring in, the bigger the audience and that helps create better brand awareness. No hate vs the sponsors, im glad that they are towing the line. So again you dont have to hit the wood, but im sure the judges have been influenced in some capacity to acknowledge the man made hits. This doesn't make Rampage any less scary. It is just my and i assume many others personal preference to see 100% natural runs. We have so many contests with ramps and man made stuff that is really cool....i love it. So why not leave Rampage alone. Again.....this is just what i want and im not paying anyone's light bill.

    p.s.-Semenuks line last year was the scariest line i have ever seen and in my opinion set a new standard for what is expected and what the bikes/riders are capable of.

  • kidwoo

    9/29/2013 3:21 PM

    Yeah wood iz stoopid! I don't want to see anyone hit that gigantic drop, much less trick it. That would give me cancer and cancer is bad!!

  • Roots_rider

    9/29/2013 10:42 AM

    Soooo....lets remind people here. You're not forced to hit wood at Rampage, Darren and Brandon both had podium worthy lines without touching any wood. AND!! IF you want to hit the wood, YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT THERE!! The top of the course is no joke. It's not a damn boardwalk down to the icon sender, it still takes commitment. If you ride slow and look scared on the way to the wood features, it doesn't matter what you throw, your not going to score well for the whole run. When zink 3'd the sender, he charged to it. Sorge hit it last year after riding a burly line above it, people seem to forget where this event is being held, it IS still Rampage.

  • norcal77

    9/29/2013 1:07 AM

    Lets see who can really ride big mountains, not big perfectly built ramps and groomed dirt tables. let the kids in skinny jeans stay home at the skatepark so they can work on their bar spins. I want to see Beuhler rip the dirt and not be pressured to hit any man made crap. If you dont get this then you just ....never will. one man made jump at this competition is too much. opinion....

  • zack.wheal

    9/27/2013 10:15 PM

    get rid of the wood is what i say rampage is a natural event when wood is involved then theres no naturality still now with wood being used on the course more rad mad trick might be trown out

  • canadmos

    9/27/2013 7:46 PM

    Is that top drop the suicide option for anyone who doesn't want to compete anymore?

  • manuel.lost

    9/27/2013 3:04 PM

    I think the wooden structures can exalt the characteristics of slope style riders. Now the rampage is no longer an exclusively "freeride" event but involves riders from different backgrounds: downhillers, freeriders, slope style riders ...

  • mcraindog

    9/27/2013 10:13 AM

    Thanks for the full page story and not some flip through pictures!

  • ryan_daugherty

    9/27/2013 9:41 AM

    Huh.. I was ok w/ the Oakley icon sender but all the other wood is pretty lame. Too much if you ask me. It's all big bu still adding too many wood features filters riders into those zones which stifles creativity with their line choice.

  • bturman

    9/27/2013 9:45 AM

    Having hiked the course last year, know that there is WAY more natural terrain to cover than the relatively little bit of wood you see here. Plus, the Icon Sender now sends riders 3 ways, rather than 2, which actually opens more options than last year. Personally I'm for it. The handful of wood additions allow the riders to focus more time on the rest of their lines. They only have 3 days to build this year with 3 helpers...

  • ryan_daugherty

    9/27/2013 9:50 AM

    I trust everything you say.

  • Scott_Townes

    9/27/2013 10:22 AM

    It's easy to tell the people who've never been there and have very little knowledge about the venue itself because every year they always bitch about how there's too much wood and not enough "natural" hits.

    Also how old are you? I'm just curious because I've noticed that most people complaining were around 10-12 years old when the last "all-natural" Rampage occurred... they seem to forget that the Rampage then compared to now is vastly different. They also forget that in 2004, they announced that it was the last Rampage EVER.

    So really instead of bitching about insignificant details, they should just be happy it's back at all. You should trust bturman because everyone that has walked the course knows he's telling the truth... hell if you open up your eyes and watch a full run vid, you'd know that the wood only takes up a very, very small part of the venue.

  • ryan_daugherty

    9/27/2013 10:36 AM

    Hey Scott - I'm 30 years old and used to live in Utah, I've been to the old site and have walked around it. I have followed Rampage from the first year they did it when I was a senior in high school. I've been riding mountain bikes since 1996 and I'm not a hack... well I'm still a hack.

    I just don't want the wood features to become a slippery slope and are required to hit to win (regardless of what the judges say). Also I'd hate it if riders felt that they needed to hit any of them to even podium. In addition I wouldn't like to see an increasing number of wood features be added year over year. I think this could funnel people to certain zones and limit creativity of line choice which from what I understand is the spirit of the event. Opinions not bitchiness. I'm very grateful for Rampage and everyone/everything that takes to put on a great event.

  • Scott_Townes

    9/27/2013 12:48 PM

    So... you haven't been to the new site? gotcha, thanks for that bit of information.

  • sino428

    9/27/2013 2:17 PM

    I think the wood features definitely add a positive element as long as its not overboard. The only thing I worry about is that of they build one big hit or one big centerpiece feature that sort of becomes a required element which leads to alot of guys taking the same lines to make sure they hit it. You want to avoid what often happens in Ski/snowboard slopestyle where it seems the big 'money booter' at the bottom is all that matters. Don't want it to turn into some kind of best trick contest.

  • ryan_daugherty

    9/27/2013 2:21 PM


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