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 in 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 snowboard, and the three nominees below have all made immense contributions in both regards.
There is a small handful of snowboarders who have reached a point in their career at which it is appropriate for them to star in their own film. It is a model that can be attributed to another nominee on this list, Travis Rice, and has been utilized by such notables as Pat Moore and Jake Blauvelt. Bode Merrill has reached that point, and his signature project Reckless Abandon provided the chance for Bode to fully display his prowess on a board. It also offered a huge opportunity to up-and-comers Erik Leon, Ozzy Henning, Hans Mindich, and Jesse Paul.
Scott Stevens is an apple. Measuring him against any other snowboarder is an apples to oranges comparison. He has created his own genre of snowboarding and in the process inspired countless others to look at ordinary terrain with a new eye. His character is as unique and engaging as his riding; he’s as studied as any snowboard nerd could be yet free of the judgement that often comes with such careful scrutiny of a particular discipline. Plain and simple, Scott is one of the nicest, most enthusiastic snowboarders you’ll ever meet, and this season was a big one for him. He filmed perhaps his best part to date—which is saying a lot— in Union’s STRONGER. and also compiled his own iPhone movie reminiscent of his suzygreenberg270 days.
Travis Rice is one of the brightest superstars snowboarding has seen and deservedly so in every way. The Wyoming boy has traveled quite a distance since his first feature film, The Community Project, but retained a humble attitude the whole way. For the past five years Travis has been filming for The Fourth Phase, which released this fall. What can be interpreted from watching the film is the degree to which Travis has matured while maintaining dominance of snowboarding’s backcountry freestyle realm. Rice’s career is prolific to the point that it has paved the way for other high-profile riders to rise as well, which in itself is something worth recognizing.
We'll be announcing the winner at this year's Riders’ Poll event in Breckenridge, CO on December 9th. Be there!
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. All TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders’ Poll winners will be announced and awarded in Breckenridge, CO on Friday December 9, 2016 during the Winter Dew Tour weekend.