Sage Kotsenburg was the biggest winner of the night at the inaugural Snowboarder Awards ceremony at Copper Mountain on Thursday, taking the Men’s Rider of the Year title and the Most Valuable Video Player award for his part in Joy, which was also the Video of the Year winner.

Sage Kotsenburg
Photo Credit: Kanights
Sage Kotsenburg

“I truly think that video parts are a vital part of snowboarding,” Kotsenburg said, accepting the MVVP award. “I encourage everyone to get out there in the streets, in the backcountry, take some backcountry courses, get out there and try to film: it’s snowboarding’s history and it’s really amazing.”

Prior to this year Kotsenburg was perhaps best known for his gold medal slopestyle performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. But Joy, which also starred Red Gerard and Ben Ferguson, among others, was a breakout moment for him. The ender, a backside double cork 1260 Japan over Chad’s Gap, a legendary 120-foot gap between mining pilings in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, helped make him the obvious choice.

Snowboarder Awards
Photo Credit: Kanights
Joy crew

Later in the night, Kotsenburg took his return to the podium as an opportunity to humbly share the spotlight with his fellow Rider of the Year nominees Red Gerard and Travis Rice.

“Red: to be up for a Rider of the Year nomination at such a young age, Olympic gold medal, all that… I’m so hyped to see what you do in the future,” Kostenburg said. “And Travis Rice: his riding in Dark Matter is seriously death-defying and unreal, so to be next to those two is a dream come true.”

Snowboarder Awards
Photo Credit: Kanights

Jamie Anderson won Women’s Rider of the Year, largely in recognition of her 2019 film Unconditional, which took the most decorated women’s contest rider of all time into the backcountry of Japan, British Columbia, and Alaska, and back to her Tahoe terrain park origins. Anderson has multiple Dew Tour wins and podiums, among other accolades across snowboarding. Her sixth slopestyle gold at X Games Aspen last month was her 17th medal, putting her just behind Shaun White and Mark McMorris for most X Games snowboard medals, and ahead of both of them for most X Games slopestyle gold.

But this award wasn’t about all that. As Snowboarder Creative Director Pat Bridges put it when Unconditional first came out, “Jamie went from being the best women’s contest snowboarder to the best women’s snowboarder. Period.”

Packed house

“I’m honored: I love snowboarding, I’ve been doing it most of my life,” Anderson said, accepting the award. “Thank you to all my sponsors, my friends, my family for making this dream a reality.”

Bridges opened the evening on a somber note, dedicating the proceedings as a celebration of some titans of snowboard history who died in 2019: Snurfer inventor Sherman Poppen, film producer Waide Hoyt, switch stance riding master turned photographer Jason “J2” Rasmus, The Snowboarder Movie: Forward star Jaeger Bailey, and Burton Snowboards founder Jake Burton Carpenter.

Stale Sandbech

“From the gear we ride to the slopes we actually strap in above to the heroes, the icons, the movies, there’s no facet of snowboarding that Jake didn’t champion and improve and personally I will put it on the record when I say that I believe Jake Burton Carpenter is the most influential snowboarder to ever live,” Bridges said, before dedicating the night’s celebration of snowboard excellence to the lost riders as snow dumped outside the venue for the ceremony. “We’re going to have a lot of fun riding powder tomorrow, and we’re going to do it for these guys.”

Speaking of snowboard excellence, Jill Perkins was another powerhouse, taking Women’s Most Valuable Video Player honors for her part in the 2019 film Everybody, Everybody and winning a Toyota Fan Favorite Award.

Snowboarder Awards
Photo Credit: Kanights

“First off, thank you guys, this is crazy,” Perkins said. “I’d like to thank all the people who’ve helped me out, most off and foremost my family, my mom… Snowboarder Mag for putting on this event, and all of you guys for voting and just killing it and ripping and inspiring.”

Luke Winkelmann

Luke Winkelmann also won a Toyota Fan Favorite Award. The 19-year-old was a star of the 2019 film Per Mission and took rookie of the year honors at the 2019 Burton U.S. Open after his 4th place slopestyle finish behind Red Gerard, Sven Thorgren, and Mark McMorris. “Standing in front of this crowd is a dream come true,” he said on Thursday. “Thank you guys for voting… this last year has been so sick and super fun and I’m blessed to be living with it you all.”

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and friends

Rookie of the Year honors went to Cooper Whittier – a star of The Dust Box Presents, which won Short Film of the Year – and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, who made her presence known last season with slopestyle wins at Dew Tour, X Games, FIS World Snowboard Championship, and Burton U.S. Open, and as the only woman featured in the film Brothers McMorris.

Cooper Whittier

“I’m real proud of women’s snowboarding at the moment, everyone’s killing it,” Sadowski-Synnott said, saluting her fellow nominees and all the women in the room. “Thank you, snowboarding.”

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