148: Travis Rice/Debrief

Travis Rice photographed via Zoom, February 2020. Photo: Tozer

Like all good ideas, the Natural Selection Tour seems obvious in hindsight. The world’s best riders on a course especially created to showcase snowboarding at its most progressive and stylish? Conveyed using next-level production and designed to nudge snowboarding away from the evolutionary cup de sac we’ve been heading down for years? Why on earth has nobody thought of this before?

The answer is that similar ideas have been mooted in the past. But it took somebody with the clout, vision and sheer dogged energy of Travis Rice to make it a reality. It’s been an endeavour, as Travis explains during our conversation, “50 years in the making”, and with the dust settling we sat down for a catch up about a truly historical moment for competitive snowboarding.

Photo: Tozer

As regular listeners will know, I’ve also had a tiny involvement in Natural Selection as a member of the five person Selection Committee alongside Travis, event COO Liam Griffin and industry legends Barrett Christy and Pat Bridges. As part of that arrangement, Travis agreed to come on the show to discuss the entire show once Jackson was in the bag. The result is an expansive, illuminating chat that takes in the entire lengthy backstory to Natural Selection, what it means for snowboarding, and how Travis felt about losing to eventual winner Mark McMorris in THAT quarter final match up. This is a peerless insight into the entire NS story from the man who made it happen. Don’t miss it.

Listen to the episode below

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Show Notes

  • Weather and travel chaos
  • Backcountry with Elias and Austin
  • Adapting the Natural Selection course for the public
  • Prepping for the BC and Alaska stop of the Natural Selection Tour
  • Feeling thrilled and amazing delivering on Natural Selection
  • “This thing has been 50 years in the making”
  • Planting seeds for this to live
  • Complementing current competitive riding
  • The path snowboarding has taken to get to where it is today
  • Taking inspiration from his experiences
  • “Building a bridge between appreciator and creator”
  • Creating something relatable across all types of riders
  • The relatable beauty of reacting to what’s in front of you
  • Raising production levels
  • The positive impact on riders coming through Natural Selection
  • Zoi’s win and the opportunities for women
  • What Travis learned from the 2008 Quiksilver Natural Selection
  • Why it was important that NS could compare to video parts
  • Learnings from the 2012 Redbull Super Natural
  • Bringing the event back to Jackson
  • Building the first features three years ago
  • Depth Perception
  • Pitching the drone shot
  • Gab the drone engineer and pilot
  • Being prepared for any eventuality
  • The judging for Natural Selection
  • Redefining falls
  • The head-to-head with Mark McMorris
  • Top riders reaching out of their comfort zone for the event
  • Shaun White turning up for the week
  • Having some of the best resort days
  • Ben and his magnum of champagne
  • The awards
  • Canada and Alaska events
  • Plans for the future
  • Giving back to snowboarding
  • ‘Leave it better than you found it’
  • Bringing an event that’s open to everyone
  • Impending fatherhood

People Mentioned

  • Liam Griffin
  • Elias Elhardt
  • Austen Sweetin
  • Mark Landvik
  • Tim Zimmerman
  • Terje Haakonsen
  • Ozzy Henning
  • Bode Merrill
  • Ben Ferguson
  • Mark McMorris
  • Chris Rasman
  • Zoi Sadowski-Synnott
  • Jeff Pensiero
  • Eric Jackson
  • Gabriel “Gab707” Kocher
  • Chad Otterstrom
  • Anna Gasser
  • Shaun White
  • Brooke Castle
  • Shrub Brothers
  • Gigi Ruf
  • Mikkel Bang
  • Elena Hight
  • Hana Beaman
  • Pat Moore
  • Sage Kotsenburg

Places Mentioned

  • Canada
  • British Columbia
  • Alaska
  • Jackson Hole
  • Baldface Lodge

Brands, Companies, Organisations Mentioned

  • Polaris Snowmobile
  • Yeti
  • Natural Selection
  • TTR
  • The Arctic Challenge
  • Air and Style
  • X Games
  • Quicksilver
  • Redbull
  • Uncle Toad’s
  • Olympics
  • Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
  • Freeride World Tour