By Mike Lewis

In snowboarding circles, 2008/09 will be remembered as the year of Travis Rice. The dude was everywhere, won everything, and set the bar at an entirely new level. We caught up with Travis to congratulate him on his latest title of Exposure-Meter Champion, a race he absolutely dominated like LeBron on an elementary playground, and see how he plans on topping this season.

Rice modeling his ‘09/10 Quiksilver signature line.

So, we just wrapped up the Snow Business Exposure-Meter, and like just about every other award TransWorld gave this year you stomped it.
Good to hear. I remember seeing the first and second [issues] and in the second one [I had] twice as many points as everybody else. It was epic – I’ve never seen it like that.

Yeah, you were by far the highest we’ve ever had on media coverage.
Epic, I think it will be a great help for projects in the future.

What does this mean for you and your sponsors?
It means a lot to me because I think a lot of what the Exposure Meter represented for me is kind of little projects and babies I’ve been working on for years. It helps legitimize what I’ve been trying to push through as far as the contest I did, Natural Selection, and the film I just finished, That’s It, That’ All.

I’m hyped on it because I hope in turn sponsors throughout the entire industry will further see the value in standing behind on the grassroots level what riders interpret as what they want to see in snowboarding. I hope it creates a little bit more value there for sponsors to stand behind their team riders’ vision as far as where they want to see snowboarding headed.


Do you think the coverage of Natural Selection helps increase the viability of contests that don’t fit into the typical mold?

I think it’s really been great – I would like to thank the snowboarding community for having something like the Natural Selection or the David Benedek Gap Session or the Arctic Challenge. Events like these help give snowboarding the diversity that [it’s] based upon. I love and am glad that there are halfpipe contests, the Grand Prix series, that the Dew Tour has taken off, that there’s the Olympics, but I think without these other events, snowboarding’s timelessness isn’t really there.

I’ve been lucky because I have brands that have full faith in me and my partners. I’m really lucky to work with such awesome brands as Lib Tech, DC, Quiksilver, and Red Bull because I’ve kind of been able to come up with psycho contest ideas as far as taking some sort of fantasy idea and actually applying it, and more than anything have the follow through to see it through.

How do you follow this year up?
I’ve had a real fun past month filming with Dan Brisse and Mark Carter for Absinthe films. I actually just finished a long week of meetings working on next year’s Natural Selection and I think that’s what I’m going to be spending a lot of my time on in the next year is making the Natural Selection bigger and better.

Are you going to be working on a new film with Brain Farm next year?
We’re actually going to start filming this summer.  I’m really kind of taking a little time to really step back and see the follow through on the projects we finished up, primarily the film, but it’s been nice for me this year, I’ve had a lot more time to work on some new board stuff that’s coming up with Lib Tech. That’s been one of my biggest projects – this new stuff called C2, which my board line is primarily offered in next year. I’ve been riding and testing different variations all winter and it really and truly is the new technology like what Banana was to camber. It’s a refined technology; it’s kind of a combination of Banana and camber together. It still has all the benefits of riding Banana but solves all of the problems that I wasn’t content with on Banana. Banana is the funnest board to ride but I don’t film or compete on it. This new C2 is the end all – the fix on the indecision between Banana and camber.

Where you pretty involved on the development?
Yeah, full on.

What are you most stoked on with that?
How it performs. It basically has every positive element from both camber, why it’s great, and why Banana makes snowboarding more fun and easier. It gets rid of several issues which fell a little short and makes a more overall effective board than just camber. I think people will still enjoy how a pure Banana rides, but I have full faith in the C2 for next year. That’s been a big thing for me and working with Quiksilver to further the line I have with them. It’s been nice this year, I’ve been having more time to put towards that. Without doing the full production. It’s been fun.

How are you planning on improving Natural Selection? The bar was set pretty high.
I’d love to talk more about it, but it’s not concrete yet. One thing I can say is we’re definitely building upon the foundation from last year. Having one year in the bag and an objective stance on what worked and what we need to do better with. I have full faith in the riding itself. I think it’s going to be much more dynamic next year. It’s all up to the gods as far as the conditions but we’re going to put ourselves in the position where wheteher we get 6 inches or four feet, it’s going to be great.

Taking a year off with the Natural Selection we’re just going to be able to make it that much better next year here in Jackson. It’s going to be two weeks before the Olympics, probably just after Denver, I can say Denver now. And then starting another film project. It’s going to be a two-year project. The working title of it right now is Flight.

I don’t think people will really hear too much about it this year, but the following year for sure.

So ‘11/12 it will be out?
Yeah, the fall of ’11.

That’s It, That’s All crushed it at the snow box office. What’s the story on Flight?

I have full faith as far as our project. We basically spent two years learning through trial and error about everything that we attempted to take on. Going into this next project, we’re building on the trials and tribulations of this last one. Basically it took us two years to figure out what it was we were trying to do. Going into this new project with all of that figured out and a little more confidence from both sponsors and affiliates and people that are helping us out, I think we’re going to have a lot more streamlined effort. We have a lot of the plan already figured out. We have a lot of amazing riders that are committed and a lot of support from our sponsors Quiksilver and Red Bull. I look very forward to showing people what we hope to achieve with this next film.

Do you see the film industry changing to fewer, bigger projects?
If you take a look at what it was two years ago versus what you hear is going on this year, it’s definitely. It kind of had no other choice than to cut some of the fat. And I think there’s still a place and appreciation for the grassroots films that’s just kind of go out with your friends and just shoot. I’ve always been a big fan of the low budget project, but as far as further representation of what is going on in snowboarding kind of to an outside state, there needs to be a little bit more attention to detail. I guess I just look at the state of skate films in the last ten years and I think that it has no other direction that it can go but to go towards fewer, higher quality films. The same year-in, year-out format needs a little bit of rebirth. I think they can still work, but I just hate to see passionate people get lazy.

For the full Exposure-Meter rundown and an in-depth look at the snowboarding film industry’s future, pick up the May issue of TransWorld Business.