With higher stakes and greater anticipation than ever before, the Dew Tour is set to return to the site of where it all began - Colorado's Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Four years ago, the Winter Dew Tour was launched, and Breck was selected to be the leadoff stop. Since that time, so much has evolved. From the progression of tricks being thrown on the snow to the boundary-pushing courses required to keep up with that progression, it's amazing how far things have come in these last few years, and Breck has been an integral part of that. So when the new Dew Tour format for 2012 called for one grand-slam Mountain stop, it's only fitting that the tour chose to return there.
2009 was a game-changer in the world of superpipe snowboarding. After Shaun White landed back-to-back double corks at a contest that August, it immediately became the "must-have" trick of the upcoming season. With the Winter Olympics just around the corner, a full-fledged arms race was underway to not just learn the double cork, but to see how many you could get into your run.
Up to this point, 18 feet had been the standard pipe size at most contests, but the Vancouver Olympics opted for a 22-foot superipe which better allowed for the progression of tricks such as the double cork. The larger pipe soon became the preferred option for the world's top shredders.
And just like that, the landscape of the contest circuit - Dew Tour and Breck included - was forever altered.
Danny Davis wins the Dew Tour's first-ever snowboard superipe contest in 2008
The first two Dew Tour stops at Breck were both won by Danny Davis. His winning run in 2008 was highlighted by a switch backside 720 and back-to-back 1080s. Danny showed up the following year, with his now-signature beard, and worked a cab double cork 1080 into his run.
Starting in 2010, Breck began building 22-foot pipes to match the new standard, and the progression since then has been obvious. Despite dealing with snowy conditions that year, which slowed down the pipe, Louie Vito stuck an impressive run that featured back to back double cork 1080s (frontside to cab), a crippler, a Michalchuk, a frontside 1080 and a cab 720.
Louie Vito, Breck 2010
Last year Breck stepped things up yet again, increasing the length of the pipe to 602 feet, which made it the longest pipe in existence at the time. The extra length gave the riders more wall to work with on their hits, and the result was one of the greatest showdowns to date. Iouri Podlachikov came out with a backside double cork 1260, Shaun White responded with a double McTwist 1260, and Louie Vito capped things off with three doubles and a 1260.
Despite tough competition, this run gave the victory to Shaun last year
The skiers have also been pushing the limits over the years that Breck has hosted the Dew Tour. The first four years at Breck have provided four different winners in ski superpipe and more impressive runs with each passing season.
In 2008, Tanner Hall had a 1260 and a switch 1080 in his winning run. In 2009, Mike Riddle landed a double flatspin and back-to-back 900s in opposite directions. Then in 2010 - the first year with the new 22-foot pipe - the double cork barrage began, as contest winner Simon Dumont now had the double 1260 in his bag of tricks. The progression continued last year when Kevin Rolland laid down an unprecedented run with three doubles in a row.
Watch Kevin Rolland set a new standard for pipe runs last year
Whether you love or hate the doubles - and certainly there are vocal fans on both sides - there's no doubt that the adoption of the trick has led to tons of progression in recent years, and the Breck courses have come to reflect the need for contests to grow with the sport.