The following interview is one in a series of discussions had with snowboarders who have transcended the traditional boundaries of sport and come to represent something ... more. In trying to define the somewhat indefinable spirit of snowboarding, to put words to the feeling that propels us at the deepest level, we sat 10 riders down and asked them this question: Why do you snowboard? This is one response.
For the last decade there has been a hyperactive blip on the radar of extraordinary activity. That anomaly goes by the name of Travis Rice. Some simply know him as a talented, hardworking man from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Others, however, argue that he might have an extra-terrestrial gene splice and/or be an example of the athletic quantum evolution of our species.
Any way you slice it, Rice continues to extend the boundaries of what is possible on a snowboard. Want proof? Look to "The Art of Flight" or the success of his self-created Super/Ultranatural contests. Despite all of his physical accomplishments, however, what really earns Rice the most respect from his peers is the raw honesty of his quest.
"Travis is a game changer, someone who really makes it happen," explains fellow pro and YES. co-owner DCP. "He ... is the hardest worker in the business -- and he does it all in the name of snowboarding! Not only is he the most progressive rider out there, but he organizes events to push the sport and remind people what snowboarding is all about."
Rice has become an ambassador for passion -- the side of snowboarding that most snowboarders, from beginner to expert, can most easily relate to. What keeps the guy who pushes boundaries harder than anyone out there inspired to keep on going? We'll let him tell you himself.
They say, if you want something done right you need to do it yourself. The way I look at that is essentially the same: If you want something done the way you perceive it, then only you can go get that.
I think there are a lot of people out there with a lot of incredible ideas and insight, but the number that actually succeed gets greatly reduced by the fact that it takes going the extra mile and doing that hard work to see those ideas through.
I'm a big fan of manifesting your own destiny, but at the same time having the humility to understand when you need help. It's always right around the corner if you ask for it.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who will help you on your quest is essential. A lot of what I have found and done has been with a team-based system. I have been fortunate enough to work with some great people over the years, from photographers and filmers to the companies I've chosen to align myself with. Only together have we been able to accomplish these big movie and contest projects.
As far as snowboarding goes, I started relatively late and after a few years I fell deeply in love with it. Before that I skied. When I got a little older what really complimented really snowboarding was the lifestyle that came with it and the people that came with it.
The free spirit and creative aspect of snowboarding all comes from the counter-culture side of life where the limiting factors are less. Snowboarding is a pretty open activity as far as rules go.Take any established, mainstream sport for instance. There is plenty of room for incredible moments, but all-in-all you can say it's fairly determined, right?
Snowboarding is such a young sport that there are lots of places that have yet to be explored. It's not just the park and pipe contests, it's not just the freeride events, it's not just gong up on the hill and riding with friends…
So much of it relies on nature -- that element of it. Because of that, in a way, it really helps you connect with your true self.
Even though most ski areas are pretty contained you're still way up in the mountains. You get to breathe the fresh air, hear the birds sing, all while riding down a mountain!
The conditions change every day and I think that it's so cool, because if you are out there a bunch you get a little more tuned-in to the ebb and flow of nature. These days society is very out of touch with those things. Now with the Internet and social media all of that has been amplified way out of proportion!
The need to tune in is let go when we snowboard ... at least for a run. It just takes you back to nature, and to me that interaction is priceless.
I have found that putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is one of the better ways to get to know who you really are. In a way, you don't really know what you are made of until you have to face an uncomfortable situation head on. Both the exploratory elements and the physical aspect is a good way to get to know yourself.
Snowboarding has taught me how to become empowered, but it has also taught me humility. It's taught me how delicate and special life really is. It's taught me not to take things for granted. It's allowed me to move from a somewhat closed mind to an open one.
Without sounding too esoteric I'd like too think that snowboarding has taught me how to be a better person.