The Free Rider

Casey Brown bags yet another harrowing first descent in Argentine Patagonia while filming a wilderness freeride segment for Return to Earth. Photo: Margus Riga

The Free Rider Blazing a New Path to Freeride Stardom

Standing in the middle of our dust-covered campsite, feeling shattered from another long day of blasting down treacherous scree slopes, we stared across the barren gorge at a lone figure perched atop the mountain in front of us.

The wind had been howling all afternoon, and we were anxiously hoping for a sustained lull as the sun’s rays waned on the horizon.

For four evenings running, I’d negotiated that precipitous boulder-funnel on my way back to camp, alternating between controlled slides and slow-speed washouts in a purposefully diagonal traverse to the creek bed below camp. Every time, I wondered what it would take to straight-line that rock-choked chute from top to bottom. If the wind would just subside, that solitary silhouette gazing down at us could give me my answer.

I jumped as my walkie-talkie crackled, heralding a voice of disarming composure: “I think the wind’s died down enough. I’m ready to drop when you are.”

“Ten-four,” I responded, pausing momentarily to ensure the cameras were recording. “We’re rolling.”

We watched, our collective breath held, as the figure picked up speed and gouged a series of savage, sharp turns on the mountainside’s loose upper reaches. Midway down, the rider straightened out into a section of thick shale slabs, only to be bucked forward in what looked certain to end in an over-the-bars-torag-doll crescendo. Miraculously, the rider managed to get feet back on pedals in time to dredge a giant super-G arc along the base of the trough, checking just enough speed to ride safely into the chunky runout.

“Yeeeaaahhh!” we yelled in unison, leaping around in joy and relief.

This article is for our Subscribers and Plus Members.

Gain access by purchasing an online or print subscription.

Basic Free Subscription
$0 / Year

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

Sign Up

Plus Online Subscription
$19.95 | Year

  • Online access to the latest print issues the day they hit newsstands

  • Download print articles and take them with you on the go for offline reading

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

 Get Plus 
Free Trial

Premium Print Subscription
$34.95 | Year*

  • 4 Issues/year of our print magazine mailed directly to your front door

  • Online access to the latest print issues the day they hit newsstands

  • Download print articles and take them with you on the go for offline reading

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

Go Premium

Already a Member?

Login