By Annie Fast
Being a pro snowboarder is a lot more than strapping on a snowboard. Travis Rice will be the first to tell you, ya can’t be a pro and not travel. Shit goes down on the East Coast, then the West and then back to the East, all before you have to jump on the next plane to Japan and back. We caught up with Travis somewhere between Montana and Wyoming where he broke down his schedule for us while lounging on his snowmobile in the afternoon sun. “It has been crazy,” he says, “but so much fun.”
Travis’ winter started way back in August of ’02 when he left his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and flew to New Zealand to ride for three weeks. Later that Fall he flew to Switzerland for a week and a half with the Rossignol team and then on to Les Deux Alpes, France for the beginning of the season. After returning to Jackson for two weeks, he went to Mammoth to freeride in mid-November, then had to go to L.A., he says, “to announce a skateboard thing at the LA Ski show” and finally headed back to Mammoth.
Travis flew from Reno to the Nissan Tokyo Dome Big Air and Quarterpipe in Japan. He spent a week there, and took first place in the Big Air. Then it was back to Reno before rallying to Park City for four days at the Grand Prix Jib Jam. “I slept through the Jib Jam,” he says, adding, “I had to get back to Jackson to film the first part of the Bluebird wax promo movie with Harrison Ford at the beginning of December.” The intro was a scripted thing with Harrison, you’ll have to check out the movie to see what he’s talking about. Travis say, “Then I hung out in Jackson and rode pow for like a week and a half and partied for New Years. This is where shit gets kind of hazy.”
Travis drove to Park City and hung out at the DC Mountain Lab, then flew to Aspen the first week of February for the X-Games and got fourth place in Slopestyle. Back home to Jackson for the last week of February to film for a TV show called Adrenalin-X (the team of Travis Rice and Victoria Jealous won). He road tripped back to the Park City DC Mountain Lab, and then to The Session in Vail, Colorado-he got fourth in Slopestyle and first in the Rail Jam. Travis filmed with Grenade for a week at Sonora Pass, California, and then off to Japan (again) for the Japan Slopestyle, where he got second place. Travis says, “Kurt Morgan Grenade filmer and I flew to Sapporo on the North Island and met up with Colin Langois and Danny Kass who were there for the Toyota Big Air. We just traveled to Hokaido and spent a week and a half riding pow and thinking of Jeffy Anderson.” Travis’ next stop in mid March was the US Open in Startton, Vermont. He dominated again, taking first in the Jib Jam and third in Slopestyle. He and filmer Kurt Morgan drove up to Boston for the World Quarterpipe Championships. “You’re pretty much competing if you’re drinking,” he says, not offering any result rankings. Travis filmed for five days on the East Coast with the Grenade crew and then drove up to Canada, north of Montreal, for the Wildcat Empire Shakedown Big Air to Rail, “It was super fun,” he says.
In early April, Travis got to go home for a few days before heading up to Haines, Alaska with Absinthe films. Travis says he encountered, “crazy avalanches, sketchy snow, and good weather.” From Alaska, Travis went straight to Scandinavia for the Arctic Challenge and won the Quarterpipe. Travis filmed in Jackson and then flew down to Mammoth to do some backcountry filming with Absinthe and Grenade, then back to Jackson and more filming with Absinthe. He flew back to Reno, where he met up with the DC team and its new Ford Excursion with a four-place trailer loaded down with brand new Yamaha sleds. He did more filming at Sonora Pass and a private session at the June Mountain pipe. Travis took a breather and headed back to Jackson to “just freeride with the Guch for a few days.” He then spent some quality time with his pops sailing in the Bahamas, followed by a week in Florida where he went skyddiving for the first time.
What are his plans now? Travis says, “This summer its going to be V-to-the-A-to-the-K-A-tion.” Yeah, right. Look for Travis in Grenade’s Night Of The Living Shred, Absinthes Saturation, and on a highway or in an airport near you.