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 lead-off 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 Breckenridge 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 to Breck.
Since the iON Mountain Championships will mark the 5th year of having the Dew Tour in Breckenridge. it’s a good time to look back at the important moments from the first four years.
Four Years of Progession (And Counting)
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 Breckenridge 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. The following year, he showed up with his now-signature beard and worked a cab double cork 1080 into his run.
Starting in 2010, Breckenridge 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 still stuck an impressive run that featured back to back double cork 1080s (frontside to cab), a crippler, Michalchuk, front 10 and a cab 7.
Louie Vito, Breckenridge 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 and gave the riders more wall to work with on their hits. 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
This superpipe progression is obviously not just limited to the snowboarders though. The skiers have also been pushing the limits over the years that Breckenridge has hosted the Dew Tour.
The first four years at Breck have provided 4 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. The next year, 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 dub 12 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 Breckenridge courses have come to reflect the need for contests to grow with the sport.
The Kids Are Alright
Because it’s held in December, the Breckenridge stop of the Dew Tour has always been one of the earliest major events on the contest calendar each season. One of the fun things each year is getting to reset whatever expectations you may have had about the field of competitors. Every year you seem discover a familiar face who stepped their game up to new levels or a virtually-unknown kid who breaks out in a big way on a national stage, particularly in the slopestyle disciplines.
Perhaps the greatest example came from a local fresh-faced 17-year-old skier in 2008. Having just been picked up by the Breckenridge Freeride Team, Bobby Brown was already starting to make a name for himself in the industry, but the Dew Tour represented his first major contest. Ever since winning his hometown slopestyle contest that weekend, Bobby’s ascent to the top of the freeski ranks has been rapid.
Bobby Brown sends it at his home mountain in 2008
The following year brought the arrival of Andreas Hatveit. A rookie only as it related to Dew Tour, the Norwegian with a terrain park in his backyard started off a dominant Dew Tour season with a win at Breckenridge.
That same year the snowboard slopestyle world was turned upside down by a pair of exciting 16-year-olds. Tyler Flanagan and Sage Kotsenburg announced their arrival with a 1-2 finish, a precursor to successful seasons and careers for both riders.
Watch Tyler Flanagan’s winning run from 2009
The trend of teen-aged snowboarders holding their coming-out parties at Breckenridge continued in 2010 with 17-year-old Canadian Mark McMorris. Finishing just behind Torstein Horgmo, McMo kicked off a breakout season full of podium finishes by stomping doubles and landing a smooth run top to bottom.
Back on the freeski side of things, last year we were re-introduced to Nick Goepper. The Vermont product wasn’t exactly an unknown, having hit the podium at a Dew Tour stop the year before, but a lack of consistency kept him off the list of favorites, at least in the eyes of prognosticators. As it turned out, Goepper was ready to make the year’s biggest leap, starting with an amazing 2nd-place showing at the Breckenridge Dew Tour. Any lingering doubts about Goepper were swiftly put to rest when he followed that up with several contest podiums, culminating with his defeat of Tom Wallisch at the last Dew Tour stop after the two had developed a friendly rivalry over the course of the season.
2012’s breakout star, Nick Goepper
The Dew Tour’s going one and done on the mountain this year, but it’ll still be in its usual December slot, meaning that everyone will be looking to start the US contest season off with a bang. So put your preconceived notions aside, sit back and enjoy the spectacle of shredding that’s sure to take place. It’s time to reset the scoreboard once again.