Travis Rice is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the world of professional snowboarding. The proverbial “Paul Revere” of the big mountain freestyle movement Given the fact that EA has brought him on board for the new SSX game it is pretty easy to see just how serious they are in taking the series to a whole new level of “extreme”.
We recently had a chance to spend a few minutes chatting with Travis about the new direction of the series and snowboarding in general. Check out what he had to say.
Complex: Being someone who has experienced Patagonia and various ranges throughout Canada and New Zealand in real life, what are your thoughts on the new focus of the series and EA’s attempt to give the game that “hard edge” appeal and over the top gameplay the series has always had along with a more realistic approach to the dangers that exist?
Travis: I think that this is the best direction that they could have gone, truthfully. Just as games have become more dynamic and they have put almost 3 years of work into this new game, building up the many landscapes and ranges. It looks amazing. I know that they ended up using a bunch of NASA data to create all of the mountain ranges and I think they put in a lot of extra effort to try bring in an actual “mountain” environment with fresh snow and what it’s like to boar din fresh snow. I think that the direction that they are headed is the absolute best choice.
Complex: From what you have seen of the game, do you get a similar rush as a player that you have experienced yourself going down these same ranges in the real world?
Travis: That is sort of funny that you ask that because I just finished playing and showing the game to a couple of friends who are just now seeing the game and one of the comments was “damn, I can’t wait to ride some powder”. What is great about it is that it has a “true feel” riding down but then almost out of nowhere you get taken so far beyond the real life experience when the SSX feel comes into play. It’s got an awesome soundtrack, and when you get into tricky mode it almost becomes like going to a disco. That is when it becomes a straight up party and that is when the roots of the series come through.
Complex: What was it like seeing yourself in the game for the first time?
Travis: It was great! I just finished playing with myself about a half an hour ago and I am not ashamed of it one bit. It is a great representation of me but it is still a funny thing to see yourself as a video game character. Plus, I definitely have the best character out of the whole cast, for sure.
Complex: Gaming aspect aside, describe for us that initial feeling, or rush, when you drop down into a range and you make first contact with the snow and start heading downhill. What is it like?
Travis: The best thing that I can say is that all of the outside static, or noise, kind of quiets because your focus is on the task at hand. It is all about what is directly ahead of you. It’s kind of that presence is what keeps people coming back.
Complex: What is your favorite range to board, out of all of the ones you have experienced during your career?
Travis: On a good day and if we are talking just a given “day”, I think that up in Alaska. A “good” day in Alaska is about as good as it gets. As far as day to day riding, I think I would go with the Rockies or interior B.C. I come from Jackson Hole so riding trees and the storm conditions... it’s pretty epic.
Thanks to Travis for taking the time to chat with us!