The Red Bull Supernatural, Travis Rice’s brainchild, is one of the most innovative snowboard events of all time. This year’s event combined elements of contest riding with backcountry snowboarding on a piste, near Baldface Lodge in British Columbia. The world’s best riders were set loose on a course comprised of over 100 man-made features. Perfect pillow lines, tree jibs, gap jumps, log jams, and booters were strategically scattered across ‘Scary Cherry,’ allowing riders to showcase their best tricks. As part of the Red Bull Signature Series, Supernatural will air in its entirety for the first time on NBC, March 31.
We caught up with Travis Rice to hear about his favorite memories of the incredible event and plans for the future.
What was your goal with the Red Bull Supernatural?
The goal of Supernatural was to create the highest echelon of snowboarding contests– the next step. Bringing together the incredibly talented, youthful world of X Games, Olympics, park-style riding and planting it firmly into the conditions that we spend all year looking for: backcountry and fresh snow.
How much time did it take to build the course on ‘Scary Cherry’ and did it ultimately turn out how you envisioned?
There were several years leading up to this but the actual ‘here we go’ production time was a few trips during the winter last season. We started July 1 and did about four and a half months of building the course. Once it snowed, around mid-November, we spent another two and a half months working on the course as the snow fell, doing a bunch of snow shaping and also really strict avalanche control. We spent a lot of time controlling the slope, making sure that every layer of snow that fell bonded to the one underneath, cutting, using explosives, cornice cutting, etc.
What was your favorite feature?
It’s like if you had a hundred children, and you had to pick… I guess I would have to say my favorite was up top. There were a couple pillow lines that we built. I actually didn’t even ride them, but Gigi [Ruf] rode them. Watching Gigi take his 2nd place run was all-time. The way he rode those double pillow features– you’ll see it on Saturday.
What was your favorite memory from the Red Bull Supernatural?
I have a lot. After we ran the event, everyone rode so well and was healthy. No one hurt themselves. It was such an amazing group of people. Afterwards, we were all standing around, just at the bottom, in a circle, and we had a big bottle of Jagermeister that we were passing around the circle, getting a chance to think about what we were grateful for. I think that was, for me, a pretty emotional moment– to have everyone there and so excited post-event.
Following the event, Pat Bridges said, “More events like the Supernatural need to happen for the sake of our sport…” Are there plans to continue this event?
Yeah, I’m going to do everything I can to [continue the event]. We have an incredibly supportive sponsor in Red Bull, who has really stood behind us to keep the vision of this moving forward. When I first set out to do this event, I never planned on doing it as a one-off. I think that this should and needs to be a global series. It really showcases the different places that we’re able to ride, from Asia to Europe to Canada to the lower 48, even up to Alaska. I think that’s definitely the goal.
So what now? From That’s It, That’s All, to the Art of Flight, to the Redbull Supernatural, what do you have up your sleeve?
Hmm… I’d tell you all about it, but then I’d have to kill you. We got some awesome stuff coming up, we really do. I really look forward to what we have coming up in the near future. I was just down south and saw the new cut of Art of Flight in 3-D and it was completely incredible and ridiculous. Beyond that, we’re going to have a couple film projects. We’re already gearing up for next year’s Supernatural. Playing off of everything we learned from this year’s event, next year’s event is going to go off.
Remember: Saturday, 1 p.m. EST, NBC 2-hour special.
It was shot so well. It really shows what the course was like to ride. We basically built the best mile-long run in the world for snowboarding. And the best in the world showed up for it. Get a Caesar, some maple syrup, get Canadian. I hope you enjoy it.