Winter is finally here and it has already been a weird one. In NYC, weeks were starting to feel cooler and then the next thing I knew I was running in shorts on a freak 60-degree day. Finally, though, the cooler weather seems to be here to stay and I am pumped! Do you know what else I am pumped about? The Breckenridge Dew Tour Stop.
This weekend plays host to the 2012 Ion Mountain Championships and with over 8 inches of fresh powder this past weekend and clear skies on the horizon, the conditions could not be better. All of the heavy hitters will be hitting the slopes this weekend, it’s going to be awesome. Here are some of my favorite runs from the 2011 Breckenridge stop and what I am looking forward to this week:
Freeski Men Slopestyle
Rebounding from injury, Tom Wallisch laid down a smooth run linking a pair of switch double flips on a day when most of the big names weren’t putting down clean runs.
This year has to be about Nick Goepper. During a breakout 2012 season, Goepper was the only rookie and youngest in the Slopestyle field at WX 2012. Being the youngest at the tender age of 17 wasn’t an issue. He faced the pressure of skiing with the likes of Norway’s Andreas Hatveit, Breckenridge local Bobby Brown and others by winning the silver medal. Dew Tour was no different. While he was second on the podium just a year ago, his lack of consistency created a lot of doubters. Being doubted wasn’t an issue, as Goepper took the final stop of the Dew Tour from Wallisch. Can a gifted and versatile jumper maintain his consistency through all of the stops this year and win his first Dew Cup? While it is not out of the question, the competition is pretty stiff. It should be fun to see the friendly rivalry between Wallisch and Goepper continue this season.
Freeski Men’s Pipe
When Kevin Rolland dropped into the pipe last year, his first massive switch 9 proved it was clear that he planned on taking down the competition. After his massive switch 9, Rolland kept it going with a switch 720 into back-to-back-to-back doubles that put the fans in frenzy mode. Basically it was epic. With a stacked field that includes Tanner Hall, Simon Dumont, Jossi wells and others, it is really anyone’s pipe. With Justin Dorey laying down a smooth double cork 12, right 900, alley oop 5, alley oop flat 3 and an amazing switch double at the end, he was able to ride his way all the way back from 9th to second on the podium. You got to think that Dorey and Coach Trennon Paynter have some big stuff planned for Breckenridge!
Snowboard Women’s Pipe
If you’re a fan of snowboarding, then you already know that the Women’s Pipe final will be just as heated as the men’s. With a talented field that includes the likes of Kelly Clark, Gretchen Bleiler, Hannah Teter, Torah Bright and many more, it is easy to understand why. These ladies all send it big time and are true competitors. Last year in Breckenridge, with some first run drama, it looked like it was Bleiler’s stop to take. That was until Kelly Clark laid down a front inverted 7, cab 7, front 5, back 5, front 9, and back air which landed her at the top of the podium by just 1 point over Bleiler. Can Bleiler lay down a run to hold on to the W this year? Or will Clark repeat her win in Breckenridge? Well I know one thing, you will definitely not want to watch these babes send it on the pipe.
Snowboard Men’s Slopestyle
Last year in Breckenridge, Gjermund Braaten was the one to set the bar with Seb Toots coming in second. Horgmo was the favorite last year as the defending Dew Tour Cup Champion, but he didn’t stay to form. Will we see Horgmo return to his dominating status? We’ll See! But with Braaten’s winning run that had a switch back tail 270, cab boardslide front board to fakie, switch back double cork 10, cab double cork 9, front 180 switch wallride, switch backside 180 off, back double cork 10, and a front double cork 10, I can only assume that this year will be absolutely off the charts. It’s pretty rare that all top three riders score in the 90s, so needless to say the bar has been set pretty high for this year.
Snowboard Men’s Big Air
All of the big names will be facing down in Men’s Big Air. Immediately you think of Halldor Helgason, Torstein Horgmo, Eric Willett, and Sebastien Toutant (Seb Toots). And although the focus is on all of the classic riders, I got to talk about my fellow Saskatchewan native, Mark McMorris. Being the first to first to complete a backside triple cork 1440, you have to be wondering what he is going to pull right? Can he channel his X-Games Aspen success into this years Dew Tour stop at Breckenridge? Stay Tuned!
Snowboard Men’s Pipe
This will arguably be the biggest showdown of the weekend. With seasoned veterans like the Mitrani brothers, Louie Vito, Iouri Podladtchikov (iPod), and Matt Ladley, this Pipe competition definitely has the roster to be awesome. Add in some new talent like Japan’s Taku Hiraoka and consider this event to be epic. So what about Shaun White? Being the biggest name in snowboarding as well as the most well known ginger in the field, he has proven again and again to be the best in the field. Although he made headlines this past summer for other things, I doubt that will play any distraction this weekend. Known for his competitive spirit and dominance in the sport, rest assured that the flying tomato will be flying high in Breckenridge. Will White repeat as the Dew Tour winner and get to enjoy a last run victory lap? Or will the rest of the field push him to the limits?
Last year on the longest pipe ever, fans were treated to Podladtchikov throwing a backside double cork 1260. Shaun White then responded with a double McTwist 1260, and Louie Vito capped things off with three doubles and a 1260. It was madness. I can only assume that this year will be every more massive.
This weekend will also host Freeski Women’s Pipe, Freeski Women’s Slopestyle, Snowboard Women’s Slopestyle, and Freeski Men’s Big Air!
For the full list of athletes competing, check it out here: Freeskiing and Snowboarding, as well as the best live travel streams to help you explore the globe.
Check the schedule to see your favorite events on TV.
And, if you happen to be in Breckenridge this weekend, come out and watch the events with me! It’s going to be unreal.
(Photo Credit: Instagram TrennonPaynter and LouieVito)