The sound builds from far away, it is the sound I have not heard for a long time but I know it all too well. I put down my cup of tea, grab my snowboard, hop in the elevator, walk out the entrance of a freshly built mega lodge and walk across the street as the first of two helicopters glides to the ground. Ten minutes later all is quiet and I am strapping into my snowboard on top of a pristine mountain ten miles from the closest road. It has been a few years since I have experienced the ease of Heli boarding and I am curious how it will feel.
My mind is open and free and I am not fighting the joy as I float down the Selkirk’s mountains of Revelstoke Canada to film for Travis Rice’s mega movie, The Art Of Flight. Ironically the last time I filmed using a helicopter was for Rice’s last movie “That’s it That’s all.” The change away from helicopters had been in the making long before TITA, and has led to almost every interview I have done since “That’s It, That’s All” with a ‘So you hate helicopters now?”
No. I want to evolve my snowboarding, I want to explore new terrain and I want to show people that world-class big mountain riding does not require helicopters and lots of money. But most importantly it became clear to me that the biggest high’s I was getting on my snowboard came from hiking my lines and spending long periods of time cut off from the outside world camping in remote places.
‘3,2,1, Travis Rice is dropping,” comes over my radio as a stand at the bottom of the run looking over at the pristine super wedge at the bottom of a steep mountain face. Travis flies of a cliff at the top of a chute, lands perfectly in powder and points his snowboard toward the wedge 500 ft below him. He must be going close to 50 mph when leaves the lip. He dips his shoulder and floats a double cork over a large gap and puts his board perfectly down on the landing zone 120 ft from the take off. It is the first snowboarding I have seen and ends up being the movie ender. The next morning I am standing atop a beautifully sculpted wall of spines. I had spent quite a bit of time scoping the terrain around Revelstoke when this face appeared out of nowhere. Once we set down Travis and I realized the face was right across the valley from where Craig Kelly died. Travis named it “Standing Salute,” in honor of Craig. Travis gave me the pick of the liter and I navigated the main spine exactly how I wanted. All the below action photos are by Clarke Fyans Mid Face. Coming up on the exit spine. This is the moment Travis started going crazy. Here he negotiates his sluff through technical spines and then floats a 60 ft backside 180, landing perfectly on the spine…. …and lays into a switch pow turn. After that he threw himself off a natural hip at the top of another section of the spine wall. He cased a spine and cart wheeled to the bottom of the face. It was a crash that would have ended most people’s season but Rice headed back up for a rebate. This time he went bigger, same result, but a broken board. As impressive as Travis was stomping everything he tried on the movie ending kicker, it was his freeriding that really impressed me the most. There are a handful of riders that can stomp tech tricks on super wedges. But I am not sure if there is anyone in the world that can stomp massive tricks in the middle of lines with the consistency that Travis can. In a day and a half I saw a level of snowboarding I have only seen one other time when Johan was in his prime and went 9 for 9 in AK and filmed his whole video part in a day.
As for me I had a great time snowboarding with Travis and enjoyed watching the progression of the sport first hand the culmination of two years of totally committed hard charging from Travis. The forecast called for mixed weather and I had already spent more money in a few hour of snowboarding for Art of Flight then I did in a year of filming for Deeper. As much as I enjoyed my time with Travis I found myself craving the solitude and simplicity of my split board. So 48 hours after landing in Revelstoke I headed home.
POV from one of my runs in Revelstoke: