What makes a trick stylish? It's a debate we've dedicated countless hours to, yet we're still no closer to finding that magical formula. When it comes down to it, you can't really define good style, it's the most subjective thing in snowboarding.
But, if you REALLY wanted to define style; you could refer to the dictionary like some of us here at Onboard HQ; you could consult your own personal snowboard Gods, whoever they might be; or you could even ask one of our senior photographers, if you dare. Or you could just read this article. It would be safer and easier.
We could have split this one into five or more different posts covering all areas of snowboarding, from park to freeride, street to pipe and back to the backcountry, but good style is omnipotent, boundless and eternal, it doesn't matter where it shines though, the important thing is that it does.
Maybe it's just because it's Christmas that we're getting all ethereal in our description of style here, but style matters. Without it snowboarding would be pretty stale.
Every trick would look the same if rider's didn't put their own tweak, that different grab, a little poke here, a shifty there. Even the way people are built changes how they look while snowboarding. Then you can go into the realm of more personal style aspects like how long your mullet is, how tight your pants are or how tall your tee is. A rider's personality has to shine through somehow in our opinion.
We might be getting a little too deep now, so let us begin our round up of the most stylish tricks of 2015. These are in no particular order, and style will always be subjective, so if you disagree, let us know!
Scroll on down to have your style-ometer blown out of this world.
Danny Davis - McTwist Japan
The people's champion is a champion of style, changing the way we look at pipe riding every time he drops in. Not only does he blast out massive switch methods that could rival Terje's regular method, he is also makes magic in the rest of his run, like this tweaked out McTwist japan. Probably one of the most stylish grabs when executed properly, Danny gets this one spot on as he whips it back to take the rotation all the way around. The dude abides.
Ståle Sandbech - Backside 720 to method
Classic Ståle right here. This guy is on another level of talent and has the ability to make every trick look his own. Take this backside 720 for example, there are thousands of snowboarders who have this trick dialled but very few who can put it down with so much style. Maybe it's the sun setting in the background, maybe it's the slo-mo, or maybe it's just because we love methods so much, it doesn't matter, it's just a rad trick that looks the business.
Sven Thorgren - Cab 12 double shifty at Nine Knights
Sven Thorgren is one slopestyle rider taking things in a direction we really enjoy. Clearly influenced by his good friend Ståle Sandbech, Sven is always thinking up new grab variations and has one hell of a tweak on him. Watch his full season edit if you haven't seen it yet, it's full of tricks which match this in terms of his style coming through strong, but the double shifty here makes our jaws drop. Executed with perfect timing to generate power for the rest of the rotation, this one had our heads spinning in awe for weeks.
Dylan Gamache - That Switch Carve
An obvious choice, Yawgoon Dylan Gamache basically made it cool for you to carve again and not look like some kook with hard boots and a matching lycra speed suit. We're all for getting your elbow down, but no one does it with more style than this guy. Extra points for doing it on a Capita Slush Slasher too. A prime example of how good style is hard to copy, this year we've seen more switch carves than hot dinners, but none as tasty as this one.
Niklas Mattsson - Hand Drag miller flip (with thrust)
Yeah, this might have only been in the warm up rounds of the Beijing Air+Style but it was the standout trick in what was a blur of insanely shit hot triple corks. This one took a lot of balls, literally, and we're oh so very proud of Niklas for thrusting his way into our style books.
Mikkel Bang - Backside rodeo
One member of the Onboard crew claims Mikkel Bang is "the definition of style" and we think he might be right. This backside rodeo is so floaty it's mesmerising. Every little thing is perfect. From the grab tucked so neatly behind the back leg, his leading arm poked out to guide the rotation, the subtle head shift to spot the landing, to Mikkel's recognisable outerwear combination, all on a massive booter in perfect bluebird backcountry conditions. A classic trick, executed with precision and grace, this is style.
Halldor Helgason - Backside shifty / Crail
Just when you thought it was gonna be a super slow back one, Halldor brings it all the way back to regular through some sort of body contortionist, voodoo, wizard shit. We have a sneaky suspicion that he's actually grabbing crail here from the way his hand pops off when he releases the grab - the amount of tension going through his board is palpable - but the pause after he releases before the landing is next level.
Mario Wanger - Powder Turn
In our opinion Mario had one of the best backcountry parts this year and his powder turn proves it. Some might argue that this isn't really a trick, but anyone who's had days like this won't care because they know how good it feels, and looks. Nipple deep in the good stuff Mario busts out a proper toeside turn, kicking up a massive rooster while presenting his hand to high five the powder gods as he blasts through the white room with his front foot waaaay up there. This is about as Müller-ish as it gets. We just wish we could see his face to see how big his grin is!
Peetu Piiroinen - Frontside 360 to Method
Peetu gives us the real insight to his personality with this one. Blasting off the Prime line in Stubai with a super slo-mo frontside three he grabs method while his upper body keeps rotating resulting in the most beautiful tweak we've seen in a very long time. So sick!
Marius Schafferer - Front board shifty
One for all the rail kids out there, this is one of the smoothest, DGAF, G'd up, style for days kind of shiftys that we would love to see more of. A solid front board in between the bindings is a timeless trick but the shifty out puts the icing on an already very sweet bit o' cake. This looks better than any 450 off ever will. When you see Marius thuggin' out on the landing you know he was pleased with what he just did, it looks like it felt really, really good.
Kevin Backstrom - Frontside 360 redirect
Kevin has style for days. No grab, boned out, held until the last possible moment, smooth as you like front three redirect on an intimidating feature at Nine Knights while surrounded by an eager field of young bucks throwing rotations that they probably can't even count yet. True to his own style, he throws this one into the mix and it definitely gets us gets our heads nodding in approval.