Dew Tour's iON Mountain Championships are officially underway and the practice sessions have begun! More than ever before, athletes from across the globe are arriving in hordes to get runs in early and often.
Often known as hang out days, the first few days of practice around the event are typically not the busiest and more of a chance for athletes to scope out the space and get acclimated to the local conditions. Between checking out the courses and finding their lines for the weekend to simply understanding the lay of the land around the venue, a typical practice day is generally low-key. This year's event has grown to be anything but typical.
Earlier this year, Dew Tour was announced to be the first of five official U.S. Olympic selection events to determine which athletes will ultimately represent their country.
"I get to the competition as early as I can to acclimated to the pipe, the weather, the elevation or whatever it might be to get settled and feel as much at home as I can," says two-time Olympic athlete Scotty Lago.
Scotty Lago seems to be acclimating to the pipe just fine as seen with this method.
“[Dew Tour] is a little more laid back, a little cooler -- they actually know what they're doing and have good advertising and coverage," says the candid Torin Yater-Wallace.
Yater-Wallace will be competing in Men's Freeski Superpipe this week and attempting to earn a spot on the first-ever U.S. freeski halfpipe team. In addition to the pressure to perform to make the team, the practice days are especially important for Yater-Wallace this time around as he is also on the mend from a recent collapsed lung from less than two weeks ago.
Torin Yater-Wallace is stoked to ski this week.
"I haven't skied in like a week and a half, had to go the hospital this morning.... Finally got it done and sped over here. I'll be skiing now, I'm stoked!"
Regardless of why, that fact is that these athletes have made a point to get here early and get ready for a week of high-stakes, action-packed events!
The 2013 Dew Tour will be available on NBC, NBC Sports Network, Dew Tour Live on DewTour.com, NBC Sports Live Extra and the NBC Sports Live Extra App – the NBC Sports Group's live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.
Dew Tour Live - Dew Tour's dedicated digital platform - will stream every competition live bringing more Dew Tour action, interviews and behind-the-scenes access than ever before.