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 nominees listed below are all deserving of taking home the win. The voting will dictate the results, but the jury is already in for these five, and they’ve determined that they’ve had a season that will be remembered.
Austria's Anna Gasser has been topping podiums and substantiating herself amongst snowboarding's elite for years. Her prowess in slopestyle and big air is undeniable and evidenced by her collection of medals that range everywhere from a 2015 slopestyle World Championship to her recent big air Olympic Gold in Pyeongchang. Most recently, Anna Gasser raised the bar once again when she made history as the first female to stomp a triple cork. This unwavering commitment to progression paired with her extensive bag of tricks, laid-back style, and uncanny fearlessness have all earned her a deserved spot on this list.
Desiree Melancon has been a dominating force in snowboarding for quite some time. With countless video parts over the years in her back pocket, she chose to stray from the timeworn path three seasons ago and embarked on her signature series, United Slopes of America. After battling one injury after the next, the series allowed Desiree the opportunity to stay involved and be productive while allowing herself time to heal. This way of thinking manifested itself with her latest project, Fait Accompli, which she produced with friend and filmer, Marc O'Malley. Desiree's dedication to progressing snowboarding from the ground up and with a thoroughly creative eye has been what made her an easy choice for this year's nomination.
Chloe Kim had a heck of a year. At the age of 17, Kim took Gold at the Olympics in women's halfpipe, putting down back-to-back 1080s. Subsequently seeing the level of celebrity she deserves, she won three ESPY awards this year, including Best Female Athlete. Not slowing down one bit, the now-18-year-old recently stomped the first double in the halfpipe put down by a female.
Jamie Anderson has been a household name within the snowboarding community and beyond for years. She has always been a dominating force in the competitive sphere, and has racked up back-to-back Gold medals in Olympic Slopestyle, as well as an extensive list of X Games awards and otherwise. Jamie is nowhere near done making her mark on professional snowboarding, and we can be sure that her name will grace this list once again.
Hana Beaman has been in the game longer than any nominee on this list. This past season her veteran expertise helped guide backcountry newcomer Mary Rand through the frustrating and tedious process that is filming in powder. All the while, she put together a standout pow part compiled during the filming of Vans' Listen to the Eyes. Hana has demonstrated what experience produces in the backcountry.