Snowboarding legend Travis Rice spends his life travelling the globe in search of the best runs. This year, however, he's giving mother nature the winter off as he creates his own dream location for Red Bull Supernatural. Situated on Baldface Lodge in Nelson, British Columbia, it's a man-made snowboarders paradise and Travis is here to show us how it was created...
To make Red Bull Supernatural a reality, Travis Rice had to find the right location and he did just that in Baldface Lodge. Once the place was, well, in place, Rice and Red Bull pulled together a team of skilled Canadian lumberjacks to enhance the run with a variety of freeride friendly, freestyle features - once they secured proper governmental and environmental approval, of course.
It took nine loggers more than 7,500 hours and 243 chainsaw sharpenings to create over 80 features in the course. Now, with the work having taken place during the snow-free summer, the 2,200 vertical feet of the Scary Cherry run has been built into Rice’s dream snowboard run and is fully ready for the arrival of 18 of the world’s best snowboarders on February 3.
'There’s no limit to what is possible with a little creativity and some will.'
“Inspiration for the course design came from nature, straight up, and the crazy features that I’ve seen people ride,” said Rice. “Also, some inspiration came from what they are able to do with mountain biking courses, like building stuff through the trees. There’s no limit to what is possible with a little creativity and some will.”
In partnership with the local forestry officials and registered wildlife biologists, Baldface Lodge, Red Bull and Rice conducted studies to make sure that the build wouldn’t negatively impact on the wildlife habitat. They took a close look at the impact of moving the earth to help construct the large kicker at the bottom of the run, the possible impact to local grizzly bear populations and they also did an inventory of the tree species on the slope.
The forester’s report raised no concerns for tree species on slope, except for the pines. Taking the forester’s findings into account, the crew made sure that no pines were cut or used in the course’s construction. To complete the project about 50-70 sub-alpine spruce and fir trees from the slope were cut down and then repurposed into the platforms. Finally, the crew worked with government land managers to make sure the proposed contest build was not in violation of any policies or codes pertaining to forest use.
The run now features a variety of slope angles and natural features. It starts off with an extremely steep, over-40 degree slope angle providing big mountain terrain before tapering to 35 degrees, where most of the wooden platforms and other features have been built.
At its midway point it flattens out, providing the perfect location for Rice’s dream 300-foot wide kicker with pow landing zone. After the kicker, the slope drops to a 30-degree pitch where terrain park builder J.P. Martin, working with Rice for inspiration, has planted a garden of innovative slopestyle features.
“I'm a snowboarder and I believe in it,” said Jeff Pensiero, Owner of Baldface Lodge. “I believe that snowboarding has the ability to change people into better people. I believe that this contest can make snowboarding itself better. It’s been a huge commitment and it’s much easier to commit this fully to something I believe in. To have this contest happen at Baldface and in our hometown of Nelson is just incredible for my team and me.”