Travis Rice is a name that has been tattooed onto the timeline of snowboarding, and not with the shaky haste surrounding that ungodly shoulder portrait of your ex-girlfriend, but rather a progressive focus that continues to grab the sport by the horns and steer down previously uncharted terrain.
Rice’s incredible talent has not gone under the radar, and over the years, he has won countless accolades, from Snowboarder of the Year, to X Games gold, to even #13 on Snowboarder Magazine’s list of most influential riders of all time. This sort of notoriety is something that a budding athlete in any sport could only dream of, but it is what Rice has done beyond his fame to shape the sport that is uniquely compelling and powerful.
After successfully competing against the highest echelon of snowboarding’s elite, Travis Rice took his massively inventive style and spearheaded filmmaking, starring in and creating some of the most widely acclaimed, bestselling videos in the sport’s history. Positive feedback surged around films such as 2008’s “That’s It, That’s All” and 2011’s “The Art of Flight,” yet he continued to expand in ambition, eventually setting his sights on creating a new kind of competition – one that would wholly enlist his vision of what competitive snowboarding has been progressing towards all along.
Following a one-off appetizer with Quicksilver called Natural Selection, Rice’s competitive concept was eventually adopted by the bright minds at Red Bull, and in their traditional spirit of working with athletes and making big ideas a reality, Supernatural was born in 2012 as part of their signature series.
This weekend marks the dawning of another killer installment in the Red Bull Signature Series: the Ultra Natural, bigger and better than anything previously seen, and broadcasting across the country, Saturday, March 30th at 1:30 PM ET on NBC.
The event is not only another one of Rice’s trademark creations, which blesses it with inherently mesmerizing watchability, but unique in the fact that it stands apart from conventional snowboarding contests.
In your mind’s eye, try to conjure up a few images regarding televised snowboard competition. Dew Tour? X-Games? Surely, this mental picture wouldn’t be complete without snippets of footage involving highly pre-meditated, rehearsed insanity, all bursting forth from the legendary superpipe, slopestyle and big air events that viewers have grown accustomed to since snowboarding hit the TV screen.
To get an idea of what NBC is broadcasting this weekend, you may want to wipe the aforementioned slate clean and transplant in a heavily powdered, 50-degree slope, peppered tirelessly with countless features that allow for an infinite number of line, trick and style variations. The concept of a singular path with rehearsed action points is out the window, and in its place steps the looming beast that is Bald Face, British Columbia. This is the arena that Rice handpicked to host this year’s Red Bull Ultra Natural, and on Saturday, you owe it to yourself to watch 16 of the world’s best snowboarders showcase their extreme talent and battle for gold.