SAINT NICOLAS: CLAUS BUT NO CIGAR, NICO NABS #2
When the final votes were tallied, Nicolas narrowly missed another Rider of the Year title, but that's not to say his season wasn't ichiban. Burying himself deep in the woods of Japan while filming for Absinthe's Neverland, Müller manhandled the waist-deep wonderland with pinpoint precision, threading the needle through thick forests and sniffing out natural features to launch himself off of. Nicolas has made a career out of progressing freestyle in an all-mountain environment, focusing more on reading the terrain rather than rotational completions, or, as counterpart Kevin Pearce puts it, "He may not be doing crazy doubles, but his innovation on a snowboard is far beyond anything else I've ever seen." That's precisely why Nicolas makes this list time and time again.
MAKIN' IT LOOK TOO EASY STYLE
"Nicolas makes snowboarding look better then sex," says the winningest rider in US Open history, Danny Kass, in reference to Nico's two phenomenal video parts in Neverland and The B. While Nicolas's mellow persona and easygoing attitude might resemble out-of-bounds freestyle fornication, he also practices "earth control" by pulling out of all carbon-emitting situations while still giving birth to a new generation of all-mountain rulers looking to get tits deep.
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FREDDIE SAYS RE-LAAX
Childhood friend and lifelong riding buddy Freddie Kalbermatten attests to Nico's apathetic style and surf-inspired skills by saying, "I like [Nicolas's style] of riding. It's like surfing in the snow." Müller's meticulous manner and careful contemplation of what he chooses to ride is reflected in what he produces every winter, meditating in the mountains before strapping in and dropping. Patience plays a crucial role in Nico's riding, and it shows in his myriad accomplishments.