"Although I'm not a fan of the Olympics, he surprised me and the rest of the world by showing it’s not just a competition, that it can be fun and done with style; two things the Olympics suck right out of everything before they take a dump on it and put it on TV." - Jess Kimura
"He won the first-ever Olympic slopestyle gold medal and emerged as the best spokesperson for snowboarding we could have asked for. He's doing a holy crail on a Wheaties box! What else do you need?" - Bode Merrill
At the moment that Sage Kotsenburg stomped a backside 1620 Japan to win the inaugural men’s Olympic slopestyle gold medal, even the biggest contest haters around started celebrating, not merely stoked for the charismatic then twenty-year-old contorter from Park City, Utah but for snowboarding being displayed on the world’s biggest stage on our own terms. Years ago, Jeremy Jones retired from the red and blue gates to make a turn for the better beyond the backcountry gates where the best times are the highest times. Jeremy states that, “Sage saved slopestyle by bringing style and uniqueness to a discipline that was starting to look more like figure skating than snowboarding.” Perhaps as important as the tricks that Sage set down was the poise and casual nonchalance he showed while making history. With all the hype focused elsewhere, Sage had nothing to lose as he dropped in with an avant-garde bag of tricks. While everyone else was making the games into a triple cork recital, Kotsenburg kept it real and rode away with his face on a Wheaties box as he was catapulted into the stratosphere of shred hype. Yet, rather than taking the C-List celebrity train to the bank, Sage kept riding and filming--and above all else--having fun. Despite being a Sochi favorite himself, Torstein Horgmo isn’t a sore loser as he celebrates Sage by revealing, “In a year where there's been the most eyes on snowboarding ever, Sage was the best representation of snowboarding we could have asked for in the Olympics. Then he went out and filmed a banger video part in 'NoToBo' like a true boss.” In addition to 'NoToBo', Sage starred in his own web series named for his signature spin, the Holy Crail, as well as landing the opening edit of Nike’s short-lived 'Emergence' series. Hell, Kotsenburg even managed to trade tricks with Coonhead at Superpark last spring where the latter displayed his version of the Holy Crail titled the Hail Mary! In closing, when SNOWBOARDER first starting shooting with Sage as a thirteen-year-old Wasatch wünderkid we made him wear green to distinguish him from his older, blond-locked brother Blaze, who in turn was made to wear red because of his name. Nearly a decade later, Sage has swapped his green garb for gold and we couldn’t be more stoked for our 5th best rider of 2015.