Photo Epic from Tom Van Steenbergen & Ethan Nell's 'Mesa’


If you missed Tom Van Steenbergen and Ethan Nell's stunning freeride epic last week make sure to give it a watch.

When did the filming take place? Why did you go with that time of year?

Ethan Nell: Filming took place the first few weeks of December. We wanted a good break after Rampage and the weather is usually really good at that time.

TvS: And I wanted to pump out a project to be released in the winter. 

How many days did you film for this project?

Ethan Nell: I think we ended up digging for two weeks and filming for 5 days.

Why did you choose Virgin, Utah as the location?

TvS: We went there for pretty obvious reasons. The building and the riding are unbeatable. The perfect place to push your riding. 

What was the most difficult thing for you to work up the nerve to ride?

Ethan Nell: The hardest part about the nerves is hitting the features for the first time. We spend weeks building them, then have to test it ourselves. 

TvS: Hardest thing for me to do was the frontflip drop. By far. It was a big personal goal to do one off a big drop and it felt amazing to finally pull it off. 

What shot took you the longest to get right?

Ethan Nell: My step down flip one-can took the longest to get in the bag just because of the run in. The rock roll before is very close to the lip of the drop, so you have absolutely no set up time for the flip. It took me a few tries but we got it!

TvS: The scrub shot took the longest. I wanted to get lower and skim the ground with my tires but it wasn’t the right set up for that. I probably did 30 scrubs trying to get lower. 

What’s your favourite part of the film?

Ethan Nell: My favorite part of the film is Tom and I’s celebration after his front flip drop. It had been a few heavy weeks in the desert and that was the last shot we needed. Pure excitement and relief.

TvS: Favorite shots are Ethan’s flip can and the fronty drop. 

What’s the most memorable part of the shoot for you?

Ethan Nell: The most memorable part of the shoot was being able to work with some of your best friends the whole time. Digging, shooting, and all the things in between. We had some pretty funny times.

TvS: Most memorable moment was the front flip drop for sure. No feeling can compare to overcoming something that you’ve been wanting for a long time! It was also not the best drop for it. 

What was it like working together? 

Ethan Nell: Working with Tom is always a great time. We basically shared a whole Rampage line the month before so we’ve gotten pretty good at teaming up. 

TvS: It was fun working with Ethan. I’ll definitely do it again. We look at things way differently so working on things together actually worked out good! 

How does riding in Virgin, Utah for a film compare to riding it for Rampage?

Ethan Nell: Riding in Virgin is super normal to me. It’s my home spot to ride. When Rampage is over things definitely become a lot slower paced. It’s really nice. 

TvS: The riding was in the same area as Rampage and the front flip drop was scarier than dropping into my run last year... It’s nice to not feel the contest pressure to do something though. 

If there were an outtake reel, what would it include?

Ethan Nell: If we had an outtake real it would be nothing but hysterical laughs, exotic cars, and even more pitbikes. 

TvS: There wasn’t much that we shot that wasn’t in the video actually. Worked out good! 

bigquotes I also want to thank everyone for the kind words. Means so much to me that people are stoked on this video. We’ll definitely follow it up with another one!Tom Van Steenbergen