Interview with Travis Rice
This past February, 16 of the world’s best snowboarders...
This past February, 16 of the world’s best snowboarders came together. On a mile-long course only accessibly by helicopter, the athletes plotted their way through 80 features incorporating the natural landscape. With a field composed of the top contest, backcountry and big air athletes, the battle was on to determine who would be named the world’s best overall snowboarder.
This Saturday, at 1:30pm ET/10:30am PT, NBC brings the contest to your living room, iPad and computer. Before you tune in, hear what event creator and snowboarding icon Travis Rice has to say about the event – who to watch, what happened when the cameras weren’t on, what your mom might say when the show is over.
Red Bull Signature Series: Let’s start with some basics. How many months in advance did you start planning the 2013 event?
Travis Rice: We started planning the day after the 2012 event finished. *editor’s note: This was February 4, 2012.
RBSS: How much did the event changed after experiencing the contest in 2012? What was your, or the group’s, favorite change to the course?
TR: We knew we were going to learn a lot from the first event that was held last year. So, we took that new information and really edited the entire course as a whole to ride better. We focused most of our efforts on the lookers left side of the course by opening up some lanes to make the course safer.
RBSS: How many trips did you make to the course before the actual contest?
TR: Four trips.
RBSS: We already know the results of the competition, but who in your mind deserves special credit based on their performance?
TR: I’d say the podium was what it was because they rode the course the best. However, I really enjoyed watching all four of the wild cards(Pat Moore, Torstein Horgmo, Mikey Rencz, Bodi Merrill) bring their own creativity to the Ultra Natural course. Seeing Mark McMorris earn his way back into our contest through winning XGames gold, and then holding his own against some of the world best free -riders [at Ultra Natural] to qualify for next year’s event. I also had a blast watching Terje almost win the thing, and DCP prove once again that he is one of the best free-riders in the world.
RBSS: What should we, the viewers, be most excited to witness when we watch the show on Saturday?
TR: How each individual rider deals with the most challenging snowboarding competition in the world.
RBSS: Your contest will be broadcast to thousands of people on NBC this weekend – what in your opinion is the best part about bringing this backcountry snowboard event to the mainstream?
TR: Showcasing the creativity that comes with such an expressive activity. This event was designed to let each rider translate how to charge down this massive run. This is what snowboarding was originally founded upon, and you don't get to see it as accentuated in any other snowboarding events out there.
RBSS: Saturday afternoon, it’s 2:30pm and the show just ended – what do you hope viewers take away from watching Ultra Natural?
TR: Holy *@#*, mommas don't let your babies grow up to be snowboarders.
RBSS: Give us some behind-the-scenes details – what was the funniest thing that happened outside of the contest?
TR: We did a series of lumber jack games to determine start order. And Terje opted out for an alleged sore shoulder and nominated Lee Usher our head lumberjack foreman to take his place. Lee, of course smoked everyone which gave Haakonsen first pick on drop order. He chose fourth against everyone’s taunting for first drop. Then when it was Pat Moore’s turn with 9th pick, he claimed first drop and called Haakonsen out. That was pretty amazing to witness 1st hand.
RBSS: Do you have any ritual or pre-ride preparation you do before dropping into the snow?
TR: I have a subtle habit of adjusting about every piece of gear I have on before dropping.
RBSS: Right now the Signature Series includes fourteen other events. Based on the photos below, which would you choose to compete in, and which would you avoid at all costs?
TR: I would both choose Ian Walsh's Jaws paddle-in event, and I would also avoid the Jaws paddle-in event at the same time.
THANKS TO TRAVIS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO TALK TO US. BE SURE TO CHECK OUT RED BULL ULTRA NATURAL PRESENTED BY NIKE SNOWBOARDING THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 30, AT 1:30PM ET ON NBC.