There’s been a lot of talk about the glorification of avalanches lately and none got it heavier than Travis Rice and his near-death slide off a 60-ft cliff in The Fourth Phase. Travis talked to Snowboarder‘s Pat Bridges about it and why the decision was made to include it in the film. Also of note was that he had zipped off his ABS bag before dropping into the line. Travis breaks down a few bad decisions that lead to the injury.


It wasn’t as big as the slide in Alaska in The Art Of Flight that you had to self-arrest during to keep from being swept?
Yeah, that was a bigger, deeper slide. If you look at all the slides and pockets that I have kicked off in the past films I have compartmentalize them and broken down why a little pocket or the slide was triggered. Every single one of those is dangerous and you can be buried by such a small slide but it is something that I am close to because I am out there riding and constantly tip-toeing around whether to ride something or not. I am trying to make those safety calls on the fly. The slide in The Fourth Phase was a bad call on my part, which led to me going over that cliff. The signs were there. I underestimated the amount of snow that was in that area. That morning we had been riding a couple miles away and were getting one to two inches of surface snow to move. That wasn’t really enough to be too concerning as long as we stayed on a small slope. We weren’t getting any secondary propagations and we were digging our pits. What was below that top level of snow was actually pretty locked up. The thing was we went to a different part of the range for our evening mission and there was a lot of wind accumulation and there was more snow because it was coastal. It went from 1 to 2 inches to 5 to 8 inches. So A.), I underestimated how much snow was on the face, and B.), I underestimated the energy that surface layer of snow had. I also underestimated my escape routes. From the front it looked like it was a relatively flat face but once I was on slope it was actually quite a bit of drainage. Again it was a series of bad decisions on my part that led to that situation. For me, it is still really uncomfortable to see that piece of the film. Honestly, after it happened, for a while, I didn’t even think that we were going to necessarily show it.



Click over to SNOWBOARDER MAG for the Forthcoming feature interview with Travis Rice



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