IKIGAI: The Shin Biyajima Story by Travis Rice

When Travis Rice was exploring the Japanese Alps for The Fourth Phase, it was Shin Biyajima who helped open up this incredible zone to both the legend and the world. We all know about Hokkaido and its friendly mellow slopes and bottomless snow, but until recently few people knew much about the incredible spine lines, gnarly steeps and world-beating tree runs Japan’s mainland has to offer.

’Ikigai’ has the same meaning as ’raison d’être’, a reason for being, and Shin’s reason is simple: snowboarding. Inspired by the process he saw and accompanied by filmmaker Justin Smith, Travis set out to capture a portrait of Shin Biyajima over two years, following him around his home mountains in the Nagano Prefecture.

“Ikigai captures an intimate portrait of a lifestyle that is quite foreign, compared to the norms of Europe and North America, yet still strangely similar to the principles that most snowboarders share around the love of the mountains.” - Travis Rice

We are proud to help show the world the life and philosophy of one of our favourite riders - we hope you enjoy it as much as us.

What He Rode

Amongst the many boards in Shin’s quiver is the Rave - the ultimate all-mountain freeride board.

Whether it’s blasting down steep faces, railing groomer turns or taking it to the sky, the Rave has you covered with camber between the feet and a slight rocker outside of the bindings, coupled N-Tech construction and Freelflex 3.0.

Click here to find out more.

When riding and hiking all day, Shin uses the Talon boots. They’re comfortable yet responsive, and the Vibram® outsole give traction and support for long climbs in waist deep snow.

The SpaceBlanket insulation and waterproof bladder keeps them warm and dry, whilst the heat-mouldable liner ensures a perfect fit from first tracks to last descent.

Click here to find out more.

If you’re already rocking Nidecker boots, FlowFit guarantees a perfect fit with Flow bindings. Shin uses the NX2s, a stiff, responsive binding for all-mountain charging and carving but with a rockered baseplate for a more natural feel.

Click here to find out more.