We sat down with Brian Rice, one of the latest additions to the #BurtonTeam, to check in after a winter of contests, media hits and so much more.
Last summer, 16-year old Brian Rice moved from the Detroit area to Copper Mountain in pursuit of bigger opportunities in the world of snowboarding. Since then, he has been climbing the ranks of Slopestyle and Big Air contests, with his sites set on the Winter Olympics.
The bigger opportunity that Brian was looking for found him when major media outlets started sharing his story with the world. Brian met with media teams from The New York Times and Sports Center, all while sticking to his training schedule and competing at every event he entered.
In the midsts of his most hectic winter yet, Brian officially joined the ranks of Mark McMorris, Anna Gasser, and Zeb Powell with a seat on the #BurtonTeam. We wanted to officially welcome Brian to the team and unpack his roller coaster ride of a winter.
First of all, welcome to the team, Brian. What has it been like since you joined the #BurtonTeam?
It's great to officially be on the team. It's like I have a new family inside of snowboarding. It's crazy to be on this team, with so many riders I've looked up to and seen on TV during the Olympics and X Games. Before getting on the team, I'd talk to a lot of the riders at contests or on the mountain, we all knew each other. But now it feels like I'm part of something bigger. It's less of a fan moment and more of a friendship now.
Rad, seems like you fit right in with the rest of the crew. Looking back on this winter, How was it? Can you give us a quick recap?
It was pretty gnarly haha. I did a ton of traveling for contests, which I'm very blessed for. I ended up having a great season in regards to contests. It's been a miracle for sure, but it's put a lot of weight on my shoulders.
Well, not so much pressure. But, it's just been a lot of notoriety and there's a level of responsibility that comes with that. A lot of people have seen the press hits. They know a lot about me now and always talk to me about it. That's been cool, I get to tell people how great those were, and through that, I get to meet a lot of new people.
You really did get a TON of media attention this winter from huge organizations. With all of this attention, how did this winter compare to past seasons for you?
I mean, this was one of my best seasons, mostly because of all of those things. It's been such a crazy experience, with all the sponsors and my name getting out to so many more people. I don't think this type of thing will happen again any time soon and I feel so fortunate.
Could you take us through each of your big stories from this winter?
This one stood out the most because it was the most fun. It was a great opportunity to show my involvement with the NBOSS (National Brotherhood of Skiers & Snowboarders). I got the chance to meet and ride with Keir Dillon which was awesome. Keir actually told me he hadn't been snowboarding in a really long time before that shoot. And a few weeks after we wrapped, I saw him riding at the World Quarter Pipe Finals in Squaw. It was great to see him back and snowboarding after we linked up.
This one was huge. After the interview got published, people would stop me in the lift line and tell me about how they read the article and how important it was. I liked this interview a lot because they asked questions that wouldn't normally come up in an interview. Those questions really got me thinking about what I was doing and the impact I could have on snowboarding.
Burton: Welcome To The Team Announcement:
I saw this as a chance to put my mark on the snowboarding world. Before that announcement, people just knew me as a Black snowboarder, but now, I'm on one of the most elite teams there is. This helped put things in perspective for me, especially towards where I can take the sport and my riding.
Seems like these media outlets are shining the spotlight in the right place. Since you have the attention of snow many people, what message are you looking to pass along to people looking up to you?
For me, the biggest thing I'd want them to take from what I'm doing is this: It doesn't matter where you come from or what you've been doing, or even what you have done. What really matters is the work you put in and where you want to go with it.
Well, that's some really good advice. With that, what are your plans for the off season / summer?
I think I'll link up with the rest of the team to do some of the summer camps. But, mostly going to be training off snow on dry slopes or where ever I can. I've got bigger tricks to put down next season, so I'm looking to dial those in to get ready for next winter.