Atherton marks his return to racing and freeride with an incredible edit that sees him put his creativity and courage to the test


Just over one year ago, Gee Atherton crashed badly while filming ‘The Knife Edge‘. Now, not only has he recovered from the terrible injuries sustained in that crash AND returned to racing, making his debut at the 2022 Red Bull Hardline, but he’s also returned to creating visually spectacular freeride edits. The aptly named Ridgeline II: The Return showcases Atherton’s immense creativity, riding skills, and courage.

Never one for shying from a challenge, Atherton has ridden some pretty daunting terrain in his time. He’s taken on the Red Bull Rampage, he’s raced Red Bull Hardline and the Downhill World Cup series, and created some eye-popping edits, often showcasing the beautiful terrain around his home in North Wales.

The Knife Edge nearly put a stop to all of that. While riding an insanely exposed slate ridge line, Atherton lost control, tumbling hard down the mountain side. The list of injuries sustained would be enough to stop almost anyone else from riding ever again.

“There was a high-impact fracture to my femur, so 5 or 6 pieces were blown apart, which blew through all the muscle and fascia around the bone,” he explains. “I broke 4 or 5 ribs, which also punctured my lung. An open fracture on my radius came through the skin, and there was a lot of nerve damage. I fractured my eye socket, broke my nose, and to top it all off, I knocked myself out”

But determination is also an attribute Atherton has in abundance, and a passion for riding that drove him through his long and difficult recovery process. As well as a lot of soft tissue therapy, he also went a second revisionary operation on the femur break as it wasn’t healing as anticipated. And throughout all of this, there was no guarantee that Atherton would be able to ride again.

But, he says, it was the draw of riding the ‘new Ridgeline’, built before the accident, that motivated him onwards.

Come September 2022, he felt well enough to not just return to racing, but to make the Red Bull Hardline – dubbed the gnarliest downhill race in the world – his return event. And he nailed it, cheered on loudly by the crowds who were also more than happy to see his safe return. It boded well for Ridgeline, but Atherton is the first to acknowledge that it was still a challenge, mental and physical, to square up to the line he’d spent so long thinking about.

“I have to admit the first day up on the new ridge was challenging,” he explains. “I’d been riding chilled bike park laps and suddenly I was back at the top of a Ridge with all the knowledge of what had gone before. But I do these projects purely because I love it. I’ve always enjoyed that creative side,.. the freedom to build things as hard as you want. There are no boundaries, and I always end up making them a little bit harder than I should. As soon as I dropped in I was back where I belong”