Farmington HIlls snowboarder trains for 2020 Olympics

Farmington Hills snowboarder Brian Rice II, also known as “Flyinbrian”, on September 8 flew to the Utah Olympic Park to pursue his dream of becoming the first U.S. African American snowboarder in the 2020 Olympics.

FlyinBrian Rice
Flyinbrian Rice of Farmington Hills completes a tail grab while snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain in CA. (Contributed)

Rice will train with the U.S. Snowboarding National Team coaching staff at the prestigious Project Gold Camp. Top junior snowboarding athletes from across the country are invited to this camp, which is part of the U.S. Olympic Development Pipeline.

After getting his start at age four in his own front yard, Rice formed the Hillside Husky Ski Club at Hillside Elementary School to get more children involved in snow sports. At age 10, he competed in the USASA-GLSS (Great Lakes Snow Series), earning his first invite to the 2015-2016 USASA Nationals.

The following year, Rice won the Woodward Rider Progression Award and competed in his first all-around competition where he participated in SlopeStyle, Halfpipe, Boardercross, Giant Slalom, and Slalom at the 2016-2017 USASA Nationals.

Flyinbrian at Mammoth
Brian Rice competes at the 2019 USASA Nationals Event. (Contributed)

At the 2017-2018 USASA Nationals, Rice finished 12th place in all-around. Ski, and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) in Colorado presented him with a full–time athlete training program for the next season. When SSCV coaches recognized his potential, the 13-year-old Rice packed his bags and headed to Vail for the 2018-2019 season. For five months, he lived at Copper Mountain and competed in the USASA-Rocky Mountain Series.

“Brian has been an amazing addition to our snowboard team here at Snowboard Club Vail,” stated Chris Laske, SSCV director. “He brings a very humble attitude and is looked up to by our younger athletes as he shows them how hard work equates into great progression. I really look forward to seeing where this talented young athlete takes his snowboarding over the next couple of years.”

In 2019, Rice earned Bronze in the Overall at the USASA Nationals event, which included competition in Slopestyle, Halfpipe, Boardercross, Giant Slalom, and Slalom. This qualified him for the USSA Revolution Tour and the US Project Gold Camps.

Rice attended Farmington Public Schools full-time until last year, when he was asked to move to Colorado to live with a host family (for the season) and switch to online schooling through Virtual Learning Academy Consortium (VLAC) through the district.

Watch Flyinbrian in action: