Sage Kotsenburg Wins Men’s Rider Of The Year—2020 SNOWBOARDER Awards

words by Mary Walsh

ROTY! ROTY! ROTY! CONGRATS SAGE! Thirty-two minutes and seventeen seconds into Joy, Sage Kotsenburg drops into one of the most anticipated shots of 2019. In the movie that Sage made with Ben Ferguson and Red Gerard, his snowboarding comes full circle, from young rider watching Travis and Romain in Pop, to contest circuit favorite and Olympic gold medalist, to backcountry vanguard, upping the ante on seminal spots and in doing so, unflinchingly affecting the future of snowboarding. And the final seconds of Joy provide the most distinct proof of why so many of the 2020 Rider of the Year panelists chose Sage as their pick for number one: Sage unleashes the double back twelve Japan heard ‘round the world on Chad’s Gap, an iconic spot that is a relative stone’s throw from where he grew up in Park City. But even more, while the Chad’s clip is a worthy ending to Sage’s 2019 video offering, it’s only part of a whole host of insane footage that the twenty-six-year-old rider put together, contributing to one of the most renowned video presences of the year. Said 2015 Pipe Rider of the Year Danny Davis, “Sage stepped up. He blew me away at how talented and savage he is on big ass kickers. He raised the bar on a few legendary jumps with some incredible style and stoke to go along with it. The kid deserves it.” John Jackson agreed, noting, “Sage’s riding is in another league this year.” 2019 SNOWBOARDER cover rider Joe Sexton commented that Sage had “insane jumping and a refreshing take on backcountry snowboarding,” while 2016 ROTY Mark McMorris mentioned, “Sage was head and shoulders above most this year with spot/trick choices.” Fellow Wasatch rider Jake Welch was also impressed, saying, “The thing I love about Sage is it always appears he’s having a good time. Always smiling. He is insanely talented and makes it look effortless,” while Russel Winfield threw in, “He keeps it super old school while at the same time tastefully pushing the limits.” When it comes down to it, Sage’s explosive style resonated throughout snowboarding. Noted Halldor Helgason, “Sage went all in, killed it, made my balls proud, and that’s why he deserves Rider of the Year.”

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