Who is the best snowboarder in the world? That's what Travis Rice aimed to determine at Red Bull Ultra Natural, an all-mountain freestyle competition in Nelson, British Columbia that the snowboarder created (and which took place in February, but will air on March 30th on NBC at 1:30 p.m. EST). As a Jackson Hole native who's spent the last decade setting the sport's bar ever higher for films, big tricks, and innovative competitions, "Trice" seems as good a judge as any, having won his own contest in 2012. While it's hard to even fathom how a human body can launch off such monstrous jumps and cliffs, huck a double 1080, and land with a board beneath them, even Travis knows when to play it safe. In 2012, 34 people were killed in the U.S. by avalanches in mostly backcountry terrain, bringing to the ski industry's forefront a need to increase avalanche danger awareness and education. While more and more recreational skiers head out of bounds for added excitement and more challenging terrain, it's still worth taking a page or two out of Travis's book of safety experience. We got a hold of him between heli drops to tap his expert advice for backcountry safety tips.
Stand tall against peer pressure.
Peer pressure is a challenging factor in the backcountry. It only takes one boisterous, overconfident individual to get a whole group into trouble. Travis runs into this all the time when filming sketchy segments. "For line choices, shooting big jumps and riding extreme terrain, especially when we have huge camera crews involved, the most difficult thing I do is to say 'no,'" he says. "You have to be pretty self-centered in that you're the only one who can really look out for yourself in the backcountry." If you're uncomfortable with decisions being made, speak up and either try to reach some kind of resolve or just say "no."
Credit: Scott Serfas / Red Bull Content Pool