Now in its second year, the Slush Rider of the Year Awards provide the world's top snowboarders with an opportunity to take part in celebrating which of their peers have had the most impressive season over the previous 12 months. In turn the 2021 Slush Awards, as determined by the 200+ professionals who cast their ballots, recognizes those riders and projects which were the most entertaining, inspiring and impactful from January 1st, 2021 through December 31st, 2021.
With a diverse cadre of qualified opinions being culled from an electorate that transcends generations, geography and riding disciplines, the pool of pros who lent their opinions for the 2021 Slush Awards is unmatched in terms of credibility and accomplishments and includes the likes of Jess Kimura (@jess.kimura), Mikkel Bang (@mikkel_bang), Iikka Backstrom (@iikkabackstrom), Dan Leidahl (@littleyogurtbottle), Kennedi Deck (@kenned1deck), Jacob Krugmire (@krugs_), Jeremy Jones (@jeremy__jones), Victor Daviet (@victordaviet), Hana Beaman (@hibeams), Sam Taxwood (@concretesneaks), Bryan Fox (@bryanwfox), Mikey Leblanc (@17is), Reid Smith (@reid_4_speed), Halldor Helgason (@halldor_helgason), Louif-Felix Paradis (@whatelze), Parker Szumowski (@parkszoom), Jake Kuzyk (@jakekuzyk), Pat Moore (@patmoore) and more!
Forward Lean Award
In an effort to recognize the people, projects and initiatives that have elevated the snowboarding conversation by greatly enriching our culture over the last year, Slush The Magazine has created the Forward Lean Award. Each of the four initiatives nominated for the 2022 Slush Forward Lean Award have enhanced the connection to snowboarding for riders around the world, and while we are ultimately bestowing this accolade upon the endeavor that proved most resonant with the hundreds of pros tasked with determining an outcome, each of the following four nominees deserves to be applauded for how they have enriched the mosaic our collective snowboarding community.
Take the Rake: Conceptualized after a round table discussion at Snowboy’s “IT’S TITS” in May, Take the Rake was the first of its kind in its unique mission to create “the first terrain park built entirely by women, for every human to enjoy.” On December 1st, at Trollhaugen Resort in Dresser, Wisconsin, 12 female park builders from across the country came together thanks to the organizational efforts of Trollhaugen’s marketing director, Marsha Hovey. With the additional help of many individuals, including Mary Walsh, Jess Goucher, Chloe Butel and Laura Rogowski, the crew built a state of the art park that helped send a message to the snowsports industry.
COREnation Tour: Erik Leon took his CORE initiative (discussed in detail in issue 1.2) a step further this year as he planned and implemented an event series across the nation that combined a contest with a fundraising effort to various local nonprofits in the area. Donating to the Osceola Skatepark Project in Wisconsin, Vermont Adaptive, and STOKED, Erik Leon not only brought together the community of snowboarding-but helped give back to it.
Seen Snowboarding: Following up the tremendous effort that Torment Mag put into their Pride Week editorial, Tanner Pendleton took the initiative to create a more continuous effort towards the promotion of queer snowboarding. With the help of Kennedi Deck, Jake Kuyzyk, Jill Perkins and many others, various queer snowboard meet-ups have been organized in Minnesota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Vancouver.
Soy Sauce Nation’als: Soy Sauce Nation was started several years ago by Nirvana Ortanez and Andrew Kelly (AK as he is known). On June 24th, Timberline played host to the inaugural event. To quote AK, “The mission was to bring the Asian snowboard community together in one place, creating a space where the riders could meet, share stories, ride together, and connect through snowboarding.”
Save A Brain: A Utah based non-profit whose mission is to provide education, encourage prevention and spread awareness of the long term mental & physical effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and concussions, Save a Brain is staffed by Kelsey Boyer, Micah Anderson, Melissa Riitano and Morgan Scibetta. The team works together with brand partners and local communities to create resources to help educate our community surrounding the realities of head injuries.
Video of the Year (Short)
In what was nothing short of a historical year for the sheer volume of snowboard videos created this past winter, narrowing down the nominees took a fair bit of arguing. The following videos stood out to us as the top of their class in videos under 20 minutes long.
Dead Center: A seven minute and 22 second street offering from DC, Dead Center showcases the top-tier talents of Jacob Krugmire, Ben Bilodeau, Brady Lem, and JibGurl throughout Nebraska, New York, Colorado, and Iowa.
Filmed and edited by Sam Sosnowski
Elles: Arthur Longo takes the helm of this 18-minute short film, while Dan Liedahl, Mary Rand, Blake Paul, and others supply solid support to another great chapter in the Arthur Longo video experience. Arthur and his team’s consistent commitment to showcasing resort and sidecountry snowboarding is not only fresh, but helpful in providing relatable content that helps snowboarding look its best.
Filmed by Jake Price, Harry Hagan, and Olivier Gittler. Directed and edited by Tanner Pendleton.
Good Sport: This two-year street project is arguably a milestone in street snowboarding projects, as Tommy Gesme, Derek Lever and Spencer Schubert put to record some of their best footage to date. And that’s saying a lot. With cameos by Danimals, Mark Wilson, and Artem Smolin, Good Sport stands tall in a sea of street-focused films this year.
Filmed by Colton Feldman, Jake Durham, Jon Stark and Seamus Foster. Edited by Coltan Feldman.
Oasen: The Vans Europe team’s latest film, Oasen, was one of our favorite projects from overseas this year. Filmed in Austria, Switzerland, and Sweden, and driven by Benny Urban, Oasen follows Benny, Kas Lemmens, Dominik Wagner, Ivika Jurgenson, Sebi Springeth, Nils Arvidsson, and Alek Oestreng on their quest to push the boundaries of street riding through creativity and good aesthetics.
Filmed by Tim Schiphorst, Pirmin Juffinger, Tanner Pendleton, and Harry Hagan. Directed by Alex Pfeffer.
Running Perennial: In a characteristically subtle and beautiful way, Louif Paradis reimagines “street” snowboarding parts in Running Perennial. The majority of his clips blend powder and street within one spot in a way that is as refreshing as it is inventive. Accompanied by Toni Kerkala, Mark Wilson, and Phil Jacques, this team put together a really enjoyable watch.
Directed by Jon Stark.
Filmed and edited by Jon Stark, Ian Boll, and Anthony Drolet.
Wind Slab: This short video is chock full of stunning Mt. Baker shots. Led by Austen Sweetin, but filled out with remarkable cameos by Forest Bailey and Zoë Vernon, Wind Slab is extremely well filmed and showcases some of the more creative riding in the biz. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention the very scary—but gripping nonetheless—frontside 720 that triggered an avalanche.
Filmed and edited by Sean Lucey.
Video of the Year (Long)
Videos are the lifeblood of snowboarding culture. From the tricks performed to the style of filming to the music choice, videos are the universal language and historical scrolls of snowboarding. We have separated the Video of the Year category into two parts: Short (shorter than 20 minutes) and Long (longer than 20 minutes). A tip of the hat to all involved in these projects.
Dreamcastle: With one collective obsession, and the bonds of friendship at their side, the Dustbox has created yet another talk-of- the-industry piece that features street snowboarding from one of this generation’s most beloved crews.
Produced by: Colton Morgan, Morgan Jennings, Cooper Whittier
Riders: Cody Warble, Noah Peterson, Peter Cerulo, Robby Meehan, Ryan Collins, Brett Kulas, Billy Bottoms, Joe Sexton, Calvin Green, Jordan Morse, Colton Morgan, Reid Smith, Rob Roethler, Benny Milam, Tommy Towns, Noah Brown, Jonas Harris, Jill Perkins, Max Tokunaga, Dan McGonagle, Cole Navin, Cooper Whittier
King Snow Movie: A truly impressive collection of some of Canada’s best snowboarders, this video touched on all riding styles, showcasing both riders that we’ve known for a while as well as introducing new riders to the fold.
Produced by: Kingsnow Magazine
Riders: Beau Bishop, Bryce Bugera, Chris Rasman, Craig McMorris, Jody Wachniak, Johan Rosen, Matt Belzile, Maria Thomsen, Mikey Ciccarelli, Sean Miskiman, Tommy Van, and more
Paper Tiger: Paper Tiger’s nomination stems from its above and beyond creativity and vision. One of the best examples of a more artistic video that doesn’t feel pretentious, Paper Tiger stood out as one of the top videos from the year.
Produced by: Skylar Brent
Riders: Mike Rav, Austin Vizz, Phil Jacques, Johnny O’Connor, Kaleah Opal
Quasimodo: Successfully capturing the various riding styles of the SIMS team, Quasimodo offers a high-octane video with strong footage from some unexpected places. Featuring footage from around the world, this video warrants repeated viewings.
Produced by: Brock Nielson
Riders: John Jackson, Keegan Valaika, Cody Warble, Shuhei Sato, Martyn Vachon, Nik Baden, Scott Blum, Blair Habenicht, Tadashi Fuse.
Relapse: The latest installment from the Beyond Medals crew boasts a wide selection of snowboarding, from Kevin Backstrom’s astonishing resort riding, to Tor Lundstrom’s smooth execution of classic tricks to Ludwig Biltofts movie-ending ATV part. This video is one to remember.
Produced by: Kevin Backstrom & Tor Lundstrom
Riders: Sebbe De Buck, Tor Lundstrom, Kevin Backstrom, Ulrik Badertscher, Rene Rinnekangas, Ludvig Billtoft
Uninvited 3: An all-girls project presented by Jess Kimura, and the final piece to The Uninvited trilogy. The project lives up to its reputation, ensuring The Uninvited movies remain unrivaled in their ability to showcase a mix of new and old women’s talent in snowboarding.
Produced by: Jess Kimura
Riders: Darrah Reid, Henna Ikola, Nora Beck, Maggie Leon, Ylfa Runarsdottir, Naima Antolin, Kaleah Opal, Grace Warner, Alexis Roland, Miyon Yamaguchi, Taylor Elliott, Himari Takamori, Corrine Pasela, Tsukimi Sato, Yurika Takikawa, and many more
Footage of the Year
The footage of the year category aims to give accolades to the riders that went above and beyond in front of the lens. Whether the rider filmed their stuff in one part, or spread it over a couple projects, the following list of names are the riders that we believe as a staff, put up some of the top clips of the year.
Nora Beck: With the second-to-last part in the Uninvited 3 flick, Nora takes a mix of high speed riding and complex tricks to the screen for a nomination-worthy showing. Showcasing a mixture of new, creative spots, and ones you might recognize, Nora’s mix of 270s and pretzels made her a standout.
Jed Anderson: Already one of the undisputed greatest street riders of all time, Jed Anderson put out footage in three separate projects this year. (Reminder: Super Glue, Hand Over Fist, and Bug Out). Jed’s masterful approach to technical tricks on creative spots, and recent focus on shooting more backcountry jump footage were equally eye-catching this year.
Kennedi Deck: We discuss it more in her nomination for rider of the year, but we really felt like we saw a new level of Kennedi’s riding this past winter. Matching various spots with Jed Anderson, her dedication to filming tricks properly has put her in the top of the pack.
Ludwig Biltoft: Ludde’s stock has been steadily rising for years now, and his two-song ender in Beyond Medals’ Relapse has propelled him further skyward. With one segment featuring street footage, and the other backcountry clips, a rarity these days, Ludde put his versatility on full display and cemented his status as one of snowboarding’s most multifaceted talents.
Jill Perkins: Having filmed for several notable projects this winter, one thing is for sure–last year’s ROTY isn’t going anywhere. Taking on standout rails in Dreamcastle, Jill’s ender was one of the scarier, more impressive clips of the whole season.
Tommy Gesme: One of the key riders in Good Sport, Tommy Gesme continued his dominance in the street realm with some of the more complicated multi-hit lines we saw all season.
Ylfa Runarsdottir: Following up her Rookie of the Year award last year, Yfla stepped her game up massively and got ender in The Uninvited 3. With a collection of flips, hippy hops, roof grinds and switch 50-50’s, the creative and Ylfa’s ever-growing skill made her a shoo-in for a candidate with the best footage of the year.
Cole Navin: With Living Room serving as his personal project, Cole Navin once again awed everyone with his ability to complete some of the most unthinkable rails ever captured on film.
Louif Paradis: The start of the year provided us with some quintessential Louif street footage courtesy of Salomon’s Patches. From technical rail switch-up tricks, to massive gaps, Louif lived up to his name. Later in the year, he would subtly redefine what a street part looked like in Running Perennial with his incorporation of powder in most of his shots.
Maria Thomsen: In one of the first instances we can think of in snowboarding history, Maria Thomsen got the ender part in a shred flick that featured both men and women. With a mix of creative grinds, front board pretzels, one particularly massive double-elbow kink, and a boardslide for an ender that holds up with the best of them, Maria is a clear-cut nominee for this category.
Spencer Schubert: Spencer Schubert nabbed the ender of the most highly-anticipated street film of the year. His crescendo: an unthinkable backside 50-50, that was just the cherry on top of an incredible video performance.
Spencer O’Brien: Spencer unleashed several minutes of solid backcountry footage in her Mountain Goat edit, a mix of 180s, 360s, 540s and a solid back 7 into powder that certainly caught our attention. As she successfully transitions away from the contest scene, we are excited to see what’s in store for “Backcountry Spence.”
Cooper Whittier: Ending the heavily-hyped Dustbox video, Cooper Whittier demonstrated just how much he can shine, with smooth style and a spot selection that was vastly different from many others in the movie. With some of the most memorable lines of the year, and a seemingly unthinkable ability to land without any snow in the landing, Coop just might have what it takes to nab the title.
Rookie of the Year
As snowboarding is not a heavily regulated sport (amen), what qualifies a nod for a rookie nominee is a little bit of a dark art. Nonetheless, we think we’ve done a bang up job of highlighting a solid class of up-and-comers.
Emma Crosby: With her first full part in Salomon’s Hindsight, Emma Crosby shows a lot of promise for the future as a powerful rider both in the streets and in the backcountry.
Quin Ellul: A name to know in Canada for a little while now, Quin really turned heads with his footage in BLP’s project Here’s Where The Story Ends. He has also found himself on the pages of this magazine on more than one occasion.
Maggie Leon: Logging footage in the Spotheads movie as well as Uninvited 3, Maggie Leon’s fast and fearless approach to street riding can’t go unnoticed. On top of her standout riding, she is also leading the way from an industry standpoint, working on various engineering projects for Burton that assist riders with disabilities.
Keegan Hosefros: A Vermont native who has found his way to SLC, Keegan Hosefros hit some awe-inspiring spots in Bryden Bowley’s How Dark Blue Feels video. Based on his performance at World Quarters, among other factors, it also feels like his riding has a lot of room to grow outside of the street realm.
Annika Morgan: From the intro to her interview in this very magazine, the 19-year old German ripper has heaps of style and high-flying moves to match, garnering increasing attention lately with stunts like a switch frontside 180 to knuckle front flip attempt at the Dew Tour and a third place podium at the Visa Big Air in Steamboat.
Blake Moller: Currently ranked second in the world on the Freeride World Tour, Blake Moller came out of the gate swinging this year, incorporating a more freestyle approach than most to the Freeride World Tour run format, which allows just one run. We suspect there are big things on the horizon for this kid.
Henna Ikola: With a strong opening part in Uninvited 3, replete with roof drops, kink rails, natural features and more, Henna’s footage stuck with us as an indicator of her street snowboarding potential.
Noah Peterson: One of the youngest Dustbox members (Green Bean is probably younger?), Noah Peterson put up this year with noteworthy footage in Dreamcastle—from dicey transfers to switch bomb drops—that really stood out in a year of many street projects.
Gracie Warner: This Michigan native put up an impressive performance at the SLUSH Game of S.N.O.W., and once her footage in Uninvited 3 hit the web, her nod for rookie nomination was clear. She’s got one of the most proper frontboards in the game, and as Gracie gets more involved, her footage is sure to blow minds.
Austin Visintainer: First popping up on the scene a couple years back with his head-turning Instagram clips, “Austin Vizz” has exploded this year with his first feature part in Paper Tiger. Amidst taking some heavy slams, Austin’s footage secured him a nod as a rookie candidate.
Rider of the Year
The Rider of the Year category is a coveted title that is awarded to the riders that have established themselves as the top of the field as voted for by a jury of their peers.
Jamie Anderson: With the addition of two X Games medals to her collection in 2021, Jamie Anderson remains the winningest female in snowboarding. On the filming front, she bagged a couple clips for The King Snow Movie. Taking first place in X Games Slope, X Games Big Air, Laax World Cup Slope, Mammoth Grand Prix Slope and Red Bull Recharged and second in the World Cup Slopestyle, Anderson notched yet another standout year.
Jed Anderson: Delivering gold standard clips is no new accomplishment for Jed Anderson, yet it remains an important facet of his nomination. Filming for three separate projects, Bug Out, Super Glue, and Hand Over Fist, Jed made sure his presence was felt in an industry that wondered if he had stepped away for good.
Kennedi Deck: Some of her most powerful footage to date bids Kennedi a nod for Rider of the Year. As a major player in the street project Super Glue, and a continual advocate for queer snowboarding, Kennedi Deck is making waves in snowboarding that go bigger than just riding.
Nik Baden: Hell, even we were surprised by the double cover situation. If you aren’t familiar, Nik Baden bagged the cover of our second issue this year, as well as the cover of Torment Mag, with photos on the exact same jump, shot from different angles (ours by Bob Plumb, Torment’s by Oli Gagnon). You may call it lack of communication between mags, but we call it an undeniable accomplishment on Nik’s part. What’s more, Nik put out notable footage in both Adidas’ Hand Over Fist, and the SIMS Movie, Quasimodo. With room to grow, we believe Nik offers a refreshing take on filming snowboarding.
Jill Perkins: Last year’s champion of this category, Jill Perkins elevated her career once again after receiving the cover of SLUSH’s first-ever edition alongside a feature interview. In addition, Perkins filmed outstanding segments in the Dustbox’s Dreamcastle, RIDE Snowboards’ Zero and Cole Navin’s project Living Room. She, too, has been a vocal advocate and member of Seen Snowboarding.
Arthur Longo: Arthur adds another notch of cinematic success to his belt with Elles, and his continual ability to awe millions of viewers with his outside-the-box ripping of in-bounds and sidecountry terrain positions Arthur among the year’s top rider candidates. In our secretive discussion of potential nominees, Arthur’s name was quickly thrown out as a no-brainer from all across the industry. And while it was the SLUSH staff that ultimately settled on these names, we had to agree: no-brainer.
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott: Owning the most impressive contest result sheet in this field, forefronted by her spectacular performance at Natural Selection’s Jackson Hole stop, Zoi’s year has been undeniably among the best of any rider out there. To get analytical: She took first place at NST Jackson, World Snowboard Champs Slopestyle, and the World Cup Big Air in Austria. She took second place at X Games Slope, World Snowboard Champs Big Air and Laax World Cup Slope. She also nabbed third at X Games Big Air.
Mark McMorris: With the world watching, McMorris took home the win at the most gripping contest of the year during the Jackson Hole stop of the Natural Selection Tour. With other podiums at several notable events, Mark further rounded out his season with cameos in The King Snow Movie as well as Travis’ Rice’s epic, Snake Milkers. (Wouldn’t have been our first choice for a name.)
Maria Thomsen: Garnering the ender part in The King Snow Movie, and a cover to match, Maria Thomsen had a banner winter. Her battles with large kink rails are matched by few, and there’s that old “enders speak louder than words” saying that we also just invented.
Rene Rinnekangas: When it comes to looking for candidates for ROTY, we try to consider the riders who do not fit into one category. To us, Rene is the perfect mix of all disciplines of snowboarding. With podium finishes at major events like the X Games, and top-line film endeavors—like his clips in Relapse, and more importantly, his personal project, Sugared, a 15-minute, mind-bending display of street, resort and backcountry riding—Rene has positioned himself as one of most versatile boarders in the game.
Robin Van Gyn: Taking the overall win at the Natural Selection Tour in Tordrillo was a formidable feat in itself. Of course, she was granted that opportunity after winning the Baldface stop of the Natural Selection Tour. Beyond that, Van Gyn helped produce an entire web series, Fabric, which highlighted various women in the outdoor space. Robin had quite a renaissance winter and it placed her among the top riders of the year.
Spencer Schubert: We can keep this one pretty succinct: we just can’t get over how impressed we were with Spencer Schubert’s footage in Good Sport. With more technicality than perhaps any other street snowboarder delivered this year, Spencer Schubert had one of the best showings this winter, no question.