Icelandic snowboarding history was made Friday in Denver, Colo. as Halldor Helgason was awarded the Rookie of the Year award at the annual Transworld Riders' Poll Awards -- the same day as he topped the men's Slopestyle Elims at Winter X Games 14. The Akureyrian sensation thus becomes the only Icelandic shredder to win the Rookie of the Year at both of North America's largest snowboard magazines. The last rider to almost pull it off? Halldor's older bro Eiki. Here's what Halldor had to say about the double win.
ESPN: Man, it's been a big year. Can you tell me what's it's like to have won the Rookie of the Year from the two most prestigious snowboard magazines in the world?
Helgason: It feels crazy. I didn't expect it at all. It's a great honor for sure. To know that all the other riders were choosing, I am so stoked on it.
Was that something that was a goal of yours?
No. Not really. It's nothing that I'd been thinking of. I've just been riding, trying my best, and filming a lot, so that's been helping I think.
What do you think it is about you or your riding style that has so many people stoked on you?
Man, I don't really know! Me and my brother started out riding rails a lot. That's all we did in Iceland. Then we moved to Sweden and went to a snowboard school and we learned jump tricks so now we try to mix it up a bit, I guess that's it.
Does it feel crazy to be the first Icelandic dude to win both Rookie of the Years?
It does feel crazy. My brother won Rookie of the Year for Snowboarder and he got nominated for Transworld but he didn't win, so yeah, it feels crazy man.
Are things gonna be different back in Iceland? It's a pretty small country.
It is small. I do feel it a little, people kind of know me. It's cool, without doing anything, just snowboarding.
What are some of the best things about this year?
The thing I was most stoked on was that Standard Films wanted to film me last season. I've been watching their movies since I was so small and then, all of a sudden I'm filming for their movie and I get the second to last part. That was crazy.
Do you think that winning these awards is going to lead to bigger things?
It's going to help for sure. Almost anyone that knows anything about snowboarding knows something about these awards, so it's pretty damn big to win but I don't really think about it like that. I just ride and try my best the whole time and see what happens.
What else you got poppin' for the rest of this season?
I've been riding at the DC Mountain Lab, and it's been so fun just chillin' and riding. It's also my first X Games ever this year, and I'm going to do the last stop at Dew Tour, too. Then I'm going to film as much as I can with Standard and try to get a good part for the season. And I'm also going to be posting every day on me and my brother's blog, Helgasons. Check it out!
2010 Transworld Riders' Poll Awards
Video of the Year: Forum Snowboards' Forever
Standout of the Year: Xavier De Le Rue
Readers' Choice Awards: Eiki Helgason and Marie-France Roy
2010 Legend Award: Tom Burt
Women's Rider of the Year/Women's Video Part of the Year: Annie Boulanger
Men's Video Part of the Year and Men's Rider of the Year: John Jackson