Photo: Matt Georges
European snowboarding. It’s what we’ve bled for these past 20-something winters and in our time we’ve seen riders from the old continent evolve from plucky outsiders – better-known for their debatable dress-sense and fondness for hardboot carving – to established members of snowboarding’s Global Elite.
These days, there are more European riders than ever before dining at the sport’s top table: whether you’re looking at bib-boarding contest machines, sweat-soaked urban assassins, backcountry kicker specialists or any other facet of snowboarding, chances are there’s a Euro sending it at the highest level, and we wanted to pay tribute to that.
Welcome to the European Rider Of The Year Awards.
For our inaugural European Rider of the Year Awards, we spun through our Rolodex and polled over a couple hundred riders, filmers, photographers and industry-types to pull together a list of top 5s for Rookies (20-and-under), Female, and Male snowboarders.
We’ve been wanting to throw some Shakas to the guys, girls and kids that have been pushing it hard for a while now, so we figured that polling such an assortment of people well-versed in the art of sideways snowsliding was as good a way as any to arrive at some kind of consensus on the riders deserving of the highest of fives.
“OUR PANEL WAS COMPRISED OF SOME OF THE MOST RESPECTED RIDERS AND INDUSTRY FOLK IN EUROPE”
Lists like this, though, while interesting to pull together and throw some props to the riders pushing the sport, are always going to be a distillation of opinions and as such subject to debate. Snowboarding’s so varied that the definition of what defines the ‘best’ is impossible to quantify. Sure, pure technical chops are a part of it, but then there’s also style, how hard they send it, flow, and the pure stoke you get from watching another person ride their snowboard.
As such there were no hard-and-fast rules or criteria beyond asking people to base their votes on the riding they’d seen in 2017. We asked people to consider a number of things – contest results, video coverage, technical ability, creativity, innovation – but also use their gut, and then vote for their top 3: from this we added up the number of points each rider got, which enabled us to present top 5s for each category.
Being that our panel was comprised of some of the most respected riders and industry folk in Europe, we’d like to think it’s a pretty solid barometer of whose riding deserves recognition for their hard-charging this past 12 months. Props to all who got a holla!
We’ll begin by counting down with the young bucks aged 20-and-under, from 5th to first, followed by the female riders and finally wrap up with the male category.
So, without further ado, get stuck into our European Rider of the Year Awards for 2017…