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Construction for the premier big mountain freeride event of the year -- Red Bull Rampage: The Evolution -- is now officially underway. Building commenced this past Saturday, with the digging crews arriving on site and moving equipment out to the venue.

Since its inception, Red Bull Rampage has worked with Todd Barber of H5 Events, and this year they have put together an extremely talented crew of diggers to sculpt, shape and construct the competition venue features. The team includes Jeremy Witek of Global Action Sports Solutions, Randy Spangler and Josh Bender, who is responsible for introducing the original site location to Todd and Red Bull.

After taking a hike around all the different routes and lines, the diggers were beyond stoked. Bender, who has been on every Red Bull Rampage build to date, reported that course conditions were the best he had ever seen. Happy with what they found, the crew immediately got to work on some of the new additions.

Red Bull Rampage 2012 is being held at the same location as the 2008 and 2010 events, a few miles off the beaten path in Virgin, Utah. Despite the fact that the site is the same, things are going to be different this year in a BIG way. Red Bull Rampage 2012 will feature a new start location from the highest possible elevation within the venue. This opens up 25% more terrain for riders to pick lines from, and includes multiple new wood and dirt features on the way down.

Over the past two years Mother Nature has aided the building process by buffing out previously-formed features and lines, compacting and hardening the topsoil with rain and wind. Normally the soil is extremely light and low in moisture, blowing away easily. This makes it difficult to build and form features that will last through multiple riders. With recent heavy rains, conditions are now beyond ideal and the site is looking absolutely immaculate. This year is shaping up to provide the best conditions possible for riders to showcase their talent and push the limits of the sport.

A total of 44 athletes were invited to compete at Red Bull Rampage this year, including 13 athletes pre-qualified into the Final, like past winner Brandon Semenuk. He will be joined by hopefuls like the young Red Bull Joyride podium finisher Anthony Messere and overall World Cup winner Gee Atherton. This year downhill racers, slopestyle athletes and freeride competitors will go head-to-head at the biggest and gnarliest competition in biking, and everything is lining up for these athletes to give it their all, with nothing left in the tank at the bottom of the courrse. Stay tuned for more updates, including a look at some of the new course features.

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