We Spoke to Travis Rice and Other Competitors Ahead of Natural Selection Revelstoke

Travis is hyped on this year’s venue. Photo: NST

The Inertia

“It’s going to be a dog fight. Fast, quick and full of entertainment,” Travis Rice told me before the announcement yesterday that the weather window for the 2024 Natural Selection Tour had opened. The contest was announced a go for March 13 at noon PST from Revelstoke.

After a couple fun days of banging out pow laps and side hits at the resort, the 24 invitees have officially transitioned into competition mode. Yes indeed, the mood has gotten a lot more serious around here.

Of course, there’s no such thing as the perfect weather forecast, but the mix of sun and cloud that’s predicted will have to do. The weather’s been one of the major storylines leading up to the contest. But in spite of the weirdness, the riders will drop into bonafide powder snow tomorrow afternoon.

“Revelstoke on a bad year is a lot of places on one of their best,” says Rice. “We’re in the game of probabilities and counting cards at the blackjack table. The fact that there had been the droughts, the heat up  – that stuff’s already happened this year – it actually gave me a lot of confidence because you just don’t have that go through an entire season.”

Not surprisingly, Travis’s instincts were correct and Revy’s been firing for the last few weeks, stacking up snow on the venue that’s just outside the boundary of the resort. 

“This venue is really awesome because it’s actually kind of a melting pot of all the NST venues we’ve seen in the past,” say 2022 overall NST champ Elena Hight, who will be up against Jamie Anderson tomorrow afternoon. “Jamie’s one of my dearest friends and I respect her so much and she’s done so much in snowboarding, so I think it’ll be a really fun duel.”

After last year’s controversial call, everyone’s got their eyes on Dustin Craven. But Dustin’s actually been working with Travis (mostly unsupervised) this year to create one of the funnest-looking venues in NST history.

“You’re never sure what people are going to think,” says Craven. “But Travis came out a couple weeks ago and we went through [the venue] together and at one point he just looked over and was just like, ‘this is f**king sick.’” 

The rivalry will always be there, but both riders are more concerned with the bigger picture success of the event. And Dustin’s up against Sage Kostenburg tomorrow while Travis is up against Red Gerard. So if the two riders do up against one another, it won’t be until later in the event.

The venue off of RMR isn’t nearly as gnarly as Boulder Park, where the action went down last year. But Craven – and the rest of the riders too – seem perfectly fine with that.

“Not everyone got into snowboarding to feel like they were going to die,” laughs Dustin. 

We have yet to see what the Finals venue has in store. This year’s competition is running a little differently than years past. Tomorrow’s contest will serve as the qualifiers and semifinals, with finals running at a different, heli-in location later this week. All the action from tomorrow will stream live on Red Bull TV, whereas we’ll all have to wait until the event airs “as live” on April 4th to watch the Finals.

Either way, clear your schedule tomorrow afternoon and keep an eye out for results and write-ups on the site. I’ll be in the mix, trying not to annoy Travis and the rest of the competitors.


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