Rice announced himself on the snowboarding scene at 18, when he performed a backside rodeo over a huge 35m gap jump at the Superpark contest in California. Now 34, he’s the star of more than 20 snowboard movies, a US Open winner, an X-Games gold medallist and considered one of the most influential boarders of all time. He spoke with Coach’s sister brand Men's Fitness about what makes him tick.
What does it take to become a great boarder?
One of the greatest attributes is strength of mind – that’s definitely played a huge part in my career as a boarder. Always trying to be kind to yourself is important too, because if you push any vehicle too hard then it will eventually start to break down. You have to honour the required recovery.
How hard do you have to train in the off-season?
I spend a couple of months training before winter. Ideally I would spend a lot of time in the gym but I don’t always get the time. When I do get in the gym, I do very little heavy lifting – instead I focus on balance and general mobility work. Building strength through mobility is key for a snowboarder. I do a lot of workouts to improve muscle movements and get stronger connective tissues, especially in my legs because the impact of snowboarding on your muscles is major.
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When the season comes around, how much training do you do then?
Come winter, especially when I am riding full-time, it’s much more about managing recovery and health. It’s in the summer season that I work out and get my muscles fit and ready before the big impact of the winter season. In winter I spend more time rolling out, stretching and spinning out the muscles on the bike because it makes my body more able to cope with the impact. Many people underestimate your fitness and health when you’re a snowboarder.
How important is confidence in getting to the top?
Confidence and visualisation are two really key elements in what I do. If I try to ride something I’m not confident about, then things often don’t work out as I had hoped. There were moments in The Fourth Phase (Rice’s new movie with Red Bull) where not all of the team were confident, but I was and that’s so important. I wouldn’t be able to snowboard such huge mountains if I wasn’t confident in my ability. Visualisation is one of the most important factors: being able to play it through in your mind and tell yourself that there is no possible result other than success. I hope that comes across in the film.
How do you conquer fear?
I let go of the idea of trying to conquer fear a long time ago. Fear is there for a reason and I find it a gift and one of our greatest attributes. I think you must make fear an ally, listen to it and honour it, but never let it overwhelm you. Fear does a great job of keeping you alive. I wouldn’t be here today if I was a truly fearless individual. I have developed a great relationship with fear, one of love and respect. There have been times where fear is around me, but the confidence and love of what I’m doing overrides that feeling of fear.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want people to think I always thought not just outside the box, but outside the whole concept of a cube. That, and losing yourself in something that you love.
The Fourth Phase is out now on Blu-ray and as a digital download. For more about Red Bull athletes go to redbull.tv (opens in new tab)
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