[Halldor Helgason: part-time model; full-time European Rider of the Year. Photos: Cyril Mueller.]
Our first placed male rider needs little introduction. He's been stoking out snowboarding by going fast and loose for nigh-on a decade, and 2017 might very well go down as being his best year yet. Our panel of riders and industry were as close to unanimous as things like this can be - he snaffled up more than double the voting points from his nearest competitor - so, ladies and gents, may we present your men's European Rider of the Year...
“He is the most unhuman, radical dude on a snowboard. Halldor does shit that no one else can do, with his own loose style. Rails, park, pow!"
- Kevin Backstrom
Halldor won this by a landslide, and really it’s not surprising. Let’s start with his recent ender part in Arcadia: It’s utterly bonkers, and shows that despite Halldor reaching the grand old age of 26 he’s showing no sign of slowing down when it comes to applying the full send mentality that's become his trademark. As Christian Haller said when casting his votes, "That dude's just a freak!"
Since he burst onto the scene shooting with Factor Films almost a decade ago (check his breakout ender in Notes), this dude from Iceland – of all places – has become one of the defining riders of his generation. With a fondness for going all-in on street, park and powder jumps he quickly stepped up to filming with European powerhouse moviemakers the Pirates and – around the same time – Standard Films, which helped establish his name across the pond.
"I know he is my brother, haha, but I think he really deserves it this year. He fucking sent it all season."
- Eiki Helgason
Further cementing his rising star status, he won 2010's X Games Big Air with a perfect score, tapped into the opportunity the internet offered riders ahead of the curve with Helgasons.com, established several of his own brands and has had more mind-blowing video parts in his career than you can shake a stick at. If we’d done this Awards poll at any time in the past 5 years he’d have been in with a shout. Dayumm!, his Sexual Snowboarding escapades, the Never Not part and much more, he’s been constantly bringing his A-game when it counts in the hard currency of movie parts.
“I don’t know if it’s possible to quantify the amount of fucks he doesn’t give," says MC Henry Jackson. “He's the definition of keeping it real."
Fast forward to 2017 and it was business as usual, as he continued to produce the goods this past calendar year. As well as his much-feted Arcadia segment, Halldor rolled into Superpark and produced a standout performance - whether it was double corking or rewinding on the huge jump, barrel roll Methoding his way into snowboarding’s new favourite trick, or making you scratch your head with his innovative knuckle hits, Halldor was tearing the setup to pieces like a man posessed. If that wasn't enough, to round out the winter off in style he headed back to his home island to produce one of the most memorable edits of the year with his #LobsterCreamWeek.
"Because he is a fucking freak, is one the greatest ever and has possibly had his most insane season yet."
- Fredrik Perry
Halldor has always been pushing limits, both on his board, at the bar, on the internet or anywhere else he is for that matter. Few would argue that he's is one of the hardest working riders out there. But at a time when snowboarders are becoming increasingly ‘athletic’, stage-managed and tend have the edges smoothed off them, he’s a throwback to simpler times. “I don’t know if it’s possible to quantify the amount of fucks he doesn’t give," says MC Henry Jackson. “He's the definition of keeping it real." And even more impressively, this realness is both genuine, and without any hint of ego or arrogance. He’s just a regular, chill dude who loves to send it like the rest of us, and treats everyone - frothy-eyed fan, brand rep, media hacks, store kids - the same. It's just he has more board control and gives less fucks than the likes of us mortals.
But this is beside the point. The nuts and bolts of his snowboarding is what got his peers and industry veterans to vote him into the top spot. And Halldor’s riding in 2017 - as it’s been from day 1 - was that perfect cocktail of awe-inducing, loose, creative and fun. That's what won him the props from his peers, and crowned him our undisputed European Rider of the Year.
Halldor, don’t go changing. You are the man.
“Duh, the man has been sending it harder than anyone else this year when it comes to riding, trick inventing, partying, getting coverage and delivering a standout part. It’s hard for me to be objective here, but, hey. This guy killed it all year long. Both in the street, the backcountry and in the club!"
- Kristoffer ‘Kuske’ Fahlgren