Concerns for rider safety put paid to the event for three years in the mid noughties. In 2008 it came back and it was the era of slopestyle in the desert.

In the years 2005-2007 there was no Red Bull Rampage. The reasons behinds it hiatus are no doubt more complex behind the scenes that most people know but the basic gist is that it was just getting too dangerous.

It’s all fun and games until someones loses an eye, and all that.

During those Rampage-less years the freeride sideshoot of slopestyle took off massively (pun intended). Big ramps – made of dirt or more often wooden structures. Big media-friendly events based in cities or other areas where spectators could get to easily.

The growth of decent internet and mobile connection and the rise of the smartphone is also a factor in the slopestyle boom. Suddenly you could watch events no matter where you were.

Anyhoo, Rampage returned in 2008. And it was very different. Gone were the scree plummets and clouds of dust kicked off. In their place was something resembling a carpentry circus.

From the get-go this new Rampage had it detractors. Which was understandable; it wasn’t really the same ‘landscape riding’ as it had been. But nevertheless the crowds – both online and in the Utah desert – got bigger and bigger every year. So organisers and sponsors were happy.

Then history sort of repeated itself. In 2014 and 2015 there were noises coming out of various places saying that the event was getting too dangerous. Someone was going to get paralysed or killed.

And, in a more mercenary marketing sense, all the wooden built stuff was becoming a bit boring and samey as well. We were all slopestyled out.

So things have changed again in 2016. Out goes the wood. In comes the sand bags and shovels. The claim that Rampage is now more ‘natural’ is a bit misleading. There’s still loads of sculpting, grooming and building going on. No one is riding truly natural lines.

But from the pics and videos we’ve seen so far it does look like a great merging of old skool Rampage and slopestyle Rampage.

We can’t wait to watch it later today!

(p.s. Andreu Lacondeguy for the win)

Red Bull: “After 2004, Red Bull Rampage went on hiatus for three years. These were pivotal years in freeride mountain biking. Slopestyle, as a contest format and discipline, was gaining traction. Soon, the trick-oriented-style of riding exerted a heavy influence on the mountain bike community and that momentum had reached intense levels by the time the return of Rampage was announced for 2008. The riders were better, the jumps bigger, the level of progression was exponential, and needless to see the ante was upped big time.”