Aside from being perhaps the most prestigious form of recognition which exists in snowboarding, Rider of the Year serves as a timestamp on the state of snowboarding during the period for which it is awarded.

It is an accolade based on talent primarily but not entirely. The Rider of the Year is someone who is progressing our culture on and off their board.

Earning the nod of Rider of the Year forever cements a snowboarder into the history books as a guiding force within snowboarding.

Bode Merrill, this year’s Rider of the Year recipient, is among a small handful of snowboarders who can ride both backcountry and street at the highest level. You can count the rest on one hand. This multi-disciplinary talent landed Bode in the position to star in a signature project, Reckless Abandon. Like Travis Rice--a fellow nominee for this award--and Pat Moore and Jake Blauvelt have done with their films before, Bode’s movie provided the chance for him to fully display just how fucking mental his ability on a snowboard is. It also offered a huge opportunity to up-and-comers Erik Leon, Ozzy Henning, Hans Mindich, and Jesse Paul. This was a big year for the large dude from Utah.

Congrats, Bode!

About Riders’ Poll:
For 18 years, TransWorld SNOWboarding has polled the professional snowboarding community to find their picks for the best riders of the year. Each season, these awards are decided by the opinions of over 100 pros. While TransWorld SNOWboarding hosts the awards, the winners are truly a reflection of peer acknowledgement--the highest honor any rider can receive.

Check out more from Riders’ Poll here.