PSYCH HACK | MIKE CICCARELLI
By William Fraser, MC Mikey Ciccarelli was a contest guru and former Team Canada athlete who recently became a backcountry master. In...
After choosing to take on Travis Rice at the inaugural stop of the Natural Selection Tour in Jackson Hole Chris Rasmn found himself at Baldface Valhalla with a shot at redemption. Amongst the stacked field of Canada’s best snowbaorders, Rasman stomped a clean and technical top-to-bottom run for the win. He’s not off to Alaska for the Natural Selection final. We caught up with Rasman as he was zipping up his board bag to hear how it all went down.
Photos by Chad Chomlack
Rasman, you won! You’re going to Alaska.
Yeah, dude. I’m out of here. I’m in the garage right now. My bags are packed. Just got print off a negative COVID test result and yeah. I’m all ready to go.
You’re going to ride with Mark McMorris, Mikkel Bang, and Ben Furgeson. All of you have AK experience, right?
Yeah, totally. All three of them do. I don’t have a ton of AK experience. I didn’t get to ride AK lines when I was there for Truffle Pigs, we had the wind storm ruin everything, but I have a little bit of AK experience. I think Mikkel has the most experience, but I think it’s a pretty even playing field. Without Travis competing, I think it could be anyone’s day, which is kind of cool.
You’ve accomplished almost everything a pro snowboarder can at this point. Where does this win sit on the achievement ladder?
This just might be at the tip-top of highlights. I’ve had a lot of moments throughout my snowboard career, where I’m like, “Wow, this is my life. I can’t believe it.” But this one’s crazy. Thinking back to watching Supernatural and Ultra Natural at Baldface in 2012 and 2013. And just wishing that I could compete in an event like that and hoping that one day I could.
I don’t really think anyone can articulate what it feels like to dedicate so much of your life to one thing, put so many of your eggs in one basket and have it work out so well for yourself on a level like this. I don’t personally have the words to describe it, but it feels incredible. I’m so happy and thankful and excited.
We all saw what you ride at the Jackson Hole stop. How different was this experience?
Baldface Valhalla was different in so many ways from the Jackson event. It wasn’t a built course, all-natural terrain, where we had to kind of guess and select our features and hope that the natural stuff lined up with what we planned. That said, it was still a contest and you’re still trying to win and get to Alaska. I think for me personally, it did give me a bit of a competitive edge [having competed in Jackson] because it made me want it more. And it also kind of made me realize what a judged event is looking for, which for me I’m super green with. I have zero contest experience, and I think I maybe took it a little… Not too chill in Jackson, but I didn’t think about my plan enough. I just rolled with the punches and went snowboarding. Going into Baldface Valhalla, as soon as I got eyes on the terrain, I started formulating my plan of how I could make my run look the best and get a high score.
What do you think sealed it for you? Did you get a good grasp of what everyone else did?
No, that’s what’s crazy is it wasn’t a live event, so we didn’t have a TV to watch other people’s stuff go down. I didn’t see anything, but I knew I had a pretty big plan and with a lot of maybes in my run. I had like five hits planned out in my top to bottom run. And obviously the first two went really well, the bottom three could have gone better in terms of my critical video part mentality. I could have done them smoother, could’ve gone bigger, but I landed everything. And when I rode out from the last hit, I was like, “Wow, I just landed the five hits I planned on a run I’ve never ridden before. I think I’m sitting good.” So I was feeling good about that, but I didn’t know how everybody else did. And yeah, the tension was building up, where you had a week and a half to sit there and ponder, and wonder how we did.
If it wasn’t you winning, who do you think it would have been?
I think it was a pretty tight second place between Dustin Craven and Mark Sollors. Dustin rode a really technical and rowdy line for the top of his run. And then Mark kind of rode this little line, a couple little ollies and kind of spine hops, and then all of a sudden he starts picking up speed and he just pops off this random roller with trees everywhere, and does like a 60-foot frontside three.
So, Lib Tech pulled your pro model board for next season. You think they’ll reconsider?
I hope so. There have been some chats about it. We’ll see, but we’re working on something.
What are you looking forward to most about this next stop?
Just being there. I’m just so grateful and happy to have made it this far and to be able to compete in all three events. And I think, honestly, I’m just most excited about being there and getting to hang with all of the rad people that will be there with me. Big fan of McMorris, Mikkel and Ben, and I love hanging with Mikkel. So I’m kind of just excited to snowboard and hang with all those guys; it’s going to be great.
The Natural Selection stop in Jackson had so many eyes on it, and people were praising the event. It quickly bacame a special thing for snowboarding. From the inside does Natural Selection Tour feel specail to you?
Oh my gosh, definitely. Obviously, it was incredible seeing the feedback and the vibe that the rest of the world had towards what happened there, but I’m not just trying to fluff it and exaggerate; it was so unique and special to be a part of. Everyone was just so cool and happy to be there, and it reiterated the fact that I chose the right line of work, I decided on the right industry. I’m surrounded by a lot of special and like-minded people that are passionate about snowboarding. And yeah, it was one of the coolest things to be a part of, man.