Shred And Be Counted—The 2003 Riders’ Poll Awards

At the very first TransWorldSNOWboarding Riders’ Poll Awards in 1991, Shaun Palmer took the stage to accept his award for third place overall draped in his signature red, white, and blue—announcing, “I’d like to thank Tom Sims, Andy Hetzel, and a special thanks to President Bush for kicking ass in Iraq.” Ah, how times have changed—wait …

Twelve years, five Riders’ Polls (the awards took a brief hiatus between ’91 and ’99), and one Bush-family generation later, the world of snowboarding has reconvened to honor the shreds of now. And oh yeah—to party. Although the 1991 poll results were based entirely on a reader survey, the Riders’ Poll of today is a true poll of the riders. Big-time pros from all over the world put pen to paper, finger to keyboard, and mouth to telephone receiver in order to vote on who’s biggest and best among their peers. It’s no committee of doughy, desk-ridden industry heads making the call—it’s a poll for the riders, by the riders.Jennifer Sherowski

 

Rock The Vote

Here’s just a small percentage of the big-name shreds who took minutes out of their chill time to vote in this year’s Riders’ Poll:

Hana Beaman

David Benedek

Gretchen Bleiler

Annie Boulanger

Brandon Bybee

Gaetan Chanut

Kelly Clark

Chris Coulter

Nico Droz

Chris Dufficy

Chris Engelsman

Ali Goulet

Matt Hammer

Lukas Huffman

Jeremy Jones

Mikey LeBlanc

Erik Leines

Nicolas Müller

Mitch Nelson

Chad Otterstrom

Ross Powers

J2 Rasmus

TJ Schneider

Paavo Tikkanen

Eddie Wall

Rookie Of The Year: Women

Hannah Teter

Age: 16

Sponsors:Burton, Anon, Mountain Dew, Clif Bar, Nixon, U.S. Snowboard Team

Lives: Belmont, Vermont

2003 Contest Highlights: Halfpipe first places at the Park City and Breckenridge Grand Prix and an F.I.S. World Cup in Japan, second at the Aspen Grand Prix halfpipe, third at the X-Games halfpipe and the U.S. Open halfpipe and slopestyle.

 

Flying the flag of the Teter clan and the Okemo Mountain School junior class, Hannah raised the women’s halfpipe bar in 2003 by stomping ten-foot-plus airs, smooth 900s, and maintaining her East Coast steez and consistency throughout the season. This sixteen year old is really pushing women’s riding—which is no easy feat when you’re learning to drive and dealing with the awkward teen years, too. But Hannah’s not your average teenager, which is why she blew everyone away this year. Oh yeah—don’t miss her Check Out in last October’s issue of TransWorld.A.F.

“What to say bout Hannah Teter? If you’re lucky, you just might meet her. She’ll show you an Indy boned passed what you’d think. And she never gives in, ’cause she’s Mad-Skills Inc.”—Abe Teter

  

Rookie Of The Year: Men

Zach Leach

Age: 23

Sponsors: Gnu, Red Bull, Grenade, Oakley, Headquarters Skate Shop

Lives: Mammoth, California

2003 Contest Highlights: Third at the U.S. Open Rail Jam, honorable mentions at the Nixon JibFest and Red Bull Heavy Metal

The blazing core of the East Coast talent explosion has delivered one mean piece of shrapnel in the form of Zach Leach. With his smooth skatey style and a no-joke approach to the jib, this Vermont expatriate has manad to transform himself into a rail-riding heavyweight. Leach stayed busy in 2003, filming for a feature part in Kingpin Productions’ Back In Black, slaying metal in front of the camera from Burlington and Denver to Portland. Zach is also a newly inducted member of the Gnu army—he was enlisted along with fellow foot-soldier Kyle Clancy to join Danny Kass in using Mervin’s power for evil instead of good. Solid sponsors, a sick video part, plenty of backup—Leach has it all and is set to destroy come 2004.J.S.

“Zach is innovative and motivated—he knows how to get things done and have fun doing it. I guarantee you will be seeing a lot of Zach in the future.”— Brad Kremer, Kingpin Productions filmer and director

Rider Of The Year: Women

Gretchen Bleiler

Age: 22

Sponsors: K2, Oakley, Red Bull, Aspen Ski Co., Giro, DaKine, Polar Revolution Snowboard Shop

Lives: Aspen, Colorado

2003 Contest Highlights: Halfpipe wins at the Vans Triple Crown at Mammoth and Bear Mountain, the Winter X-Games, the Park City WorldSuperpipe Championships, the Grand Prix at Mt. Bachelor and Aspen, and the June Mountain AST.

This season I stopped questioning myself and just rode,” says Bleiler about her eight-event winning streak in the 2002/03 season. Whether it was in whiteout conditions at Park City or bluebird at the U.S. Open, she was there to win every contest she entered. With a golden halfpipe run including huge krippler 540s and 720s she’d dialed early in the season, Gretchen consistently landed on the podium, ending the season with overall titles for both the Vans Triple Crown and Grand Prix series.

Bleiler has been seen emceeing for EXPN in Hollywood, freeriding at Silverton Mountain with TWS, and is rumored to be featured as one of Outside magazine’s 25 most amazing women, as well as looking sexy on the pages of FHM. Think that she achieved all her goals last season? Think again—there’s definitely more where that came from.A.F.

Gretchen’s a really strong rider. I’ve seen her take some bad crashes, and she always gets back up—the falls don’t slow her down.”Andy Finch

Rider Of The Year: Men

Shaun White

Age: 17

Sponsors: Volcom, Burton, Oakley, Target, Sony PlayStation

Lives: Encinitas, California

2003 Contest Highlights: First at the Winter X-Games slopestyle and halfpipe, first at the Bear Mountain Vans Triple Crown slopestyle and halfpipe, first at the U.S. Open slopestyle and second at the rail jam, first at the Arctic Challenge slopestyle.

Saying Shaun White has had one hell of a year is like saying he’s pretty good at snowboarding—a disgusting understatement. At sixteen, he’s nearly all grown up, and his style and strength show it. He’s explosive, technical, and most of all—the kid never falls. All this comes together to make him the perfect contest-winning machine. The X-Games, the U.S. Open, the Arctic Challenge—you name it, he won it in 2003.

White has been flying the Burton flag and annihilating transitions the world over since he was “yea high,” but the little freak has now managed to attain new levels of snowboard supremacy. His latest conquest is beyond pipe walls in the realm of slopestyle, where he’s discovered the joys of jibs and kickers. Although Shaun has yet to frequent the out-of-bounds arena—Walsh and Jones better watch their backs when he decides he’s ready for the backcountry.—J.S.

“The kid rips like other kids—he just rips a little more. He’s tech and has more juice in his legs than when he was younger—that’s a good combo.”—Terje Haakonsen

Rock Star Of The Year

Romain De Marchi

Age: 24

Sponsors: Burton, Analog, Dragon, Nixon, Pulp 68

Lives: Geneva, Switzerland

Over the last few years, stories of Romain’s exploits have passed through the office like a freight train. But this year Mr. De Marchi really got after it with not one, but two different arrests for his booze-fueled antics. Not to mention tales of him starring in underground adult films, having late-night rendezvous with multiple women, barroom brawls, and hangovers so bad he missed consecutive days of filming. Yet he still manages to produce unforgettable photos and standout video parts.

Living the life of a poor man’s Axl Rose yet still giving the crowd what they want—that, boys and girls, is the sign of a true rock star. Our hats are off.C.C.

“Romain—living la vida loca.”—Dean “Blotto” Gray, Burton team manager and photographer

Party Time

High fives and shakas were just some of the things thrown up at the Riders’ Poll party held September 5, 2003 in downtown San Diego—check it. Thanks to our friends at Bear Mountain, Sessions, and ASR for helping out with all the party radness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-of-bounds arena—Walsh and Jones better watch their backs when he decides he’s ready for the backcountry.—J.S.

“The kid rips like other kids—he just rips a little more. He’s tech and has more juice in his legs than when he was younger—that’s a good combo.”—Terje Haakonsen

Rock Star Of The Year

Romain De Marchi

Age: 24

Sponsors: Burton, Analog, Dragon, Nixon, Pulp 68

Lives: Geneva, Switzerland

Over the last few years, stories of Romain’s exploits have passed through the office like a freight train. But this year Mr. De Marchi really got after it with not one, but two different arrests for his booze-fueled antics. Not to mention tales of him starring in underground adult films, having late-night rendezvous with multiple women, barroom brawls, and hangovers so bad he missed consecutive days of filming. Yet he still manages to produce unforgettable photos and standout video parts.

Living the life of a poor man’s Axl Rose yet still giving the crowd what they want—that, boys and girls, is the sign of a true rock star. Our hats are off.C.C.

“Romain—living la vida loca.”—Dean “Blotto” Gray, Burton team manager and photographer

Party Time

High fives and shakas were just some of the things thrown up at the Riders’ Poll party held September 5, 2003 in downtown San Diego—check it. Thanks to our friends at Bear Mountain, Sessions, and ASR for helping out with all the party radness.