Snowboarding is a family. This is the notion that Riders' Poll host Eddie Wall kicked the night off with in a heartfelt speech that finished with a toast to three members who we've recently lost: former TransWorld SNOWboarding Managing Editor Gerhard Gross and influential snowboarders Dillon Ojo and Noah Salasnek.
Riders' Poll is snowboarding's award show. As with any awards show, its intent is to celebrate the most noteworthy achievements that have gone down over the past year. But beyond its purpose as a means of acknowledgment for feats within our community, the night itself is a gathering of it. Taking place on the evening of Friday, December 14th, in downtown Breckenridge, Colorado, this year's iteration drew a crowd of over 1000, comprised of snowboard fans, pros, industry people, and hopefully a few randoms who wandered in to the Riverwalk Center to see snowboarding on full display.
Before the Riders' Poll awards were presented, the winners of a memorial slalom race put on by the Dew Tour team to raise money for Gerhard's wife, Kris, and son, Gerhard IV, were announced and awarded with Korua boards as prizes for putting down the fastest times on a bermed course aside the Dew Tour festivities.
While the majority of the Riders' Poll awards are decided by the opinions of over 100 professional snowboarders, there are four that are not. The Luminary Award and Legend Award are acknowledgements decided by the staff of TransWorld SNOWboarding honoring people in our community that are outstandingly inspirational, and the Men's and Women's Readers' Choice awards, which are determined by snowboarding's most dedicated fans.
There is a common denominator between these three parties—pros, media, and fans—and that is a love for snowboarding. This unifier is what binds us all as the family that Eddie described at the beginning of a night that spilled into the streets of Breckenridge and onto a crowded dancefloor.