Although Travis Rice had been making waves across the snowboarding landscape for a few years beforehand, it was his part in Absinthe’s seminal 2004 video Pop which really propelled him into the major league category he continues to inhabit to this day. His section featured many highlights, but the part which blew everybody away the most was his showstopping corkscrew jump across Chad’s Gap in the Wasatch Mountains, in Utah, United States.
Even legendary freeskier Candide Thovex, himself the first man ever to clear the jump, expressed his admiration for Rice, and some would even suggest that what was thought possible in professional snowboarding was redefined that day. However, viewers of this video might well argue that he also proved just how much hard work, bravery and talent goes into getting that jaw-dropping, game-changing shot which everyone is going to remember for years to come. Because in this video, you don’t just see that spectacular sequence which all the pros watching on their smartphones in the ski resort bars are going to want to beat, you also see the early attempts, last second stalls, and mammoth misses which actually went down on the day.
It just goes to prove the old adage that genius is ten percent inspiration, and ninety percent perspiration. Or to put it another way, before you can soar like an eagle into snowboarding folklore, you’ve got to land face-first in the powder from fifty feet more times than you’ve had muesli and orange juice for breakfast. Either way, it makes for incredible viewing, just don’t snigger at the back when one of the greatest snowboarders the world has ever known doesn’t quite land (OK, drastically overshoots) one of the most demanding jumps imaginable.