Men’s Rider of the Year
For a professional snowboarder, the Rider of the Year award is the most coveted of all. To win this category is to cement a legacy and catapult one’s status to an elite level, and the five nominees listed below are all deserving of taking home the win, for various reasons. The voting will dictate the results but the jury is already in for these five, and they’ve concluded that these dudes had the winter of a lifetime.
Few riders possess the international acclaim that Halldór Helgason has. He is a professional snowboarder in the truest sense of the term but maintains the looseness that makes snowboarding what it is. With a style all his own, he puts down never-been-done tricks every season, and his ender part in The Future of Yesterday provides numerous examples of such.
Torstein Horgmo is as household a name as it comes in snowboarding. He has dominated contests and delivered outstanding video parts alike. This season the Norwegian rider known best for his park prowess took his backcountry riding to a whole new level, delivering outstanding footage in the DC Transitors series and in the leading role in the film Shredbots Untitled.
More than a decade into his career, Eric Jackson is one of the best backcountry freestylers in the world and has been for the majority of his tenure as a professional snowboarder. His known love for flyfishing blended this season with his prowess in the powder to create a project called Alignment, and his footage in such demonstrates just how dominant Eric is. E. Jack is looking more comfortable than ever today.
With a career as enduring as Kazu Kokubo's, it's a surprise he hasn't won this award already. Kokubo, the rider who made a name for himself in the halfpipe, has always been exceptional at riding natural terrain, but this season marked a new height for Kokubo, as he directed and starred in a signature project called Kamikazu that provided an opportunity for a cast hand-picked by Kazu himself to document top-tier backcountry freestyle riding.
Austen Sweetin is young but he's been around, and like many of the finer things in life, he only gets better with age. This season was a big one for Sweetin. After having been a supporting cast member in Travis Rice's Depth Perception, Sweetin took the reins on his own project this season, directing and starring in a film called High Octane, this time with Travis stepping into the supporting role.