Mag Minute: Travis Rice, snowboarder

The two-time X Games medal winner admires Richard Branson and wants to meet admirals from the Ming dynasty. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Freestyle snowboarding pioneer Travis Rice grew up a skier in his hometown of Jackson Hole, Wyo. At age 18, without a sponsor, he drove to Snowboarder Magazine's Superpark to compete and landed a backside rodeo off a 110-foot jump, thus making a name for himself in what was then an up-and-coming sport.

Rice competed actively from 2001 to 2009, winning four X Games medals: two gold, one silver and one bronze. In 2012, Rice created the Red Bull Supernatural, a big-mountain course for one of the year's biggest freestyle contests.

Which living person do you most admire?

Richard Branson. He truly goes for it. He’s down for causes he believes in, he is committed to thinking outside the box, he’s a sailor and he has his own island with an occasional surf break. He’s killing it.

What is the one thing you always have with you?

A bookmark with a photo of a friend of mine, [pro snowboarder] Jeff Anderson [who died in 2003]. I keep it in my backpack. And a multi-tool. I always carry a multi-tool.

If you could go to dinner with anyone, dead or alive, whom would it be?

I would take the Chinese sailing admirals to dinner -- all four of them -- from the height of the Ming dynasty. They essentially discovered the entire world back in 1421. But it’s a huge mystery; all of the records were destroyed. I’d like to meet them and find out what went down.

What is your most irrational fear?

Anything from paralysis to confined spaces, but they’re pretty rational. I’m able to rationalize most of my weird fears.

What was your best Halloween costume?

I was a PETA protester a couple years ago -- I was protesting PETA. So I wore nothing but animal stuff. It was obnoxious. ... Oh, and one time I was a blog. I had a white painter’s one-piece with markers hanging from it, and people wrote on me.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

I like to think I have many perfect days. Perfect days are simple days devoted to enjoying just being and having the ones I love around me and doing anything from surfing to riding.

What was the first thought in your head when you woke up this morning?

“I don’t have to be up for another hour. What the f--- am I doing awake?”