OPENING PHOTO: MATTIAS FREDRIKSSON
I don't think I will ever tire of the Swiss Alps' diversity. From one valley to another, it's completely unique. Each has its own personality. Once you start digging, it feels endless and the intricacies linked are limitless. I get the same feeling today as my first trip in the early 2000s—the convergence of space so open and vast with the jam-packed nature of rugged ranges is intoxicating. In this shot, Stephen Matthews bridges that very gap above Verbier, Switzerland, looking toward France's Mont Blanc massif.
PHOTO: MARGUS RIGA
I don't want to seriously injure myself or die as much as the next guy, but I like to put myself into situations where that variable exists. I choose my friends based on this mantra too, because there's nothing as invigorating as being in a situation where pain and/or death is one mistake away, looking over at your bud, and laughing aloud at the absurdity of the situation, while sheer adrenaline is the only thing keeping you going. Kenny Smith is one of those friends. Always pushing it just a little bit past the line to keep it exciting. —Margus Riga
Kevin Landry, Fraser Newton and I headed out to build a new trail and promptly saw this wicked rock bluff hiding in the woods—there she was, staring at us. Plan altered: We decided to only build this beast. Lit a fire, drank a bunch of beers, and my girlfriend Nina came in and cleaned up our mess of a rock pile, which she crafted into this beautiful runout.
It was the first big line of the season for me. It's always nerve-racking to drop into lines like this. You pretty much know how it's going to ride, but there are always unknown variables. This line happened to have an over-vert entrance. I wasn't totally sure that the bike wouldn't flip over and buck me down about 60 feet. These days it seems like everyone I know is having or has kids, so we decided to call it 'Strapping Young Dad.' —Kenny Smith
PHOTO: BRUNO LONG
Shooting for the "DreamRide" series has taken our team to some very unique locations the past two years, and the third installment was no different. Spending over a month in New Zealand had our intrepid crew zigzagging over both islands, traveling South to North. In the final days of the trip, we found ourselves at the Te Paki sand dunes, near the northernmost tip of New Zealand. The 10-kilometer-long and 1-kilometer-wide strip of desert is a natural oddity that fit in perfectly with the peculiar mindset for "DreamRide." We were greeted with driving rain and strong winds, coating our bags and camera gear with sand. Working in these conditions was not ideal, but with any project like this, perseverance usually pays off. It did so once again in this image, one of the only usable frames in two trips to this spot. Rider: Mike Hopkins
PHOTO: TOBY COWLEY
When I work alongside a rider, chances are we'll both be stoked on the final image. It builds investment. Physically you've created something together. And, you get to bounce ideas off each other as it takes shape. It's incredibly rewarding. Along those lines, Jonas Lomax and I built this with Brendan Howey this past winter. We wanted the hip to be big, but it also needed to highlight Howey's style. Sure enough, Howey's in his element, totally composed.