Mountain Dew-sponsored snowboarders Red Gerard and Danny Davis helped welcome media and VIPS to Breckenridge on Friday morning with an exclusive First Tracks ride session before sharing their thoughts about what is unique about the Dew Tour at Breckenridge, now in its 11th year.

“I live right down the road from here and Dew Tour has always been one of my favorite events,” says Gerard. “It’s always one of the first events of the season and it’s usually the gnarliest course of the season, so it’s a crazy one to start things off on! But I love it: when you have a super creative, super challenging course it’s really fun to get into practice and start trying to figure it out.”

Gerard’s 4th place finish at Dew Tour last year helped secure his slot to compete on the U.S. Olympic team at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. He says he truly had no idea of the scope of what that would mean or what would be in store for him when he got there. His adventures and misadventures in South Korea would become international headlines as tales of the redheaded teenage snowboarder were broadcast around the world, and he became a household name overnight: Red Gerard, the snowboarder who slept in, lost his Olympic uniform jacket, then won the Slopestyle final and uttered several audible curse words on the international broadcast in disbelief as his scores came in and as his family celebrated. By the following day, even Donald Trump knew the name Red Gerard.

“I never could have predicted all of that in a thousand years, but it worked out nice,” Gerard says. “I’m really psyched on all the opportunities I got, especially getting to go to the White House. I got to hang in the White House! That’s the main reason I went, it was just super cool being there. I was sitting in the farthest away corner when my name got called. It felt like being in school. Like, oh, man, don’t call on me! Next thing I know I’m standing at the podium talking to the president. ” News reports from the event delightfully confirmed that Gerard called Trump “Dude.”

Danny Davis says he’s flattered to see Dew Tour course designers getting more and more creative with their approaches to the halfpipe, borrowing some ideas for this year’s modified superpipe course from the Peace Park sessions he’s helped develop in recent years in his mission to fuel creativity in snowboarding.

“It’s so nice to show up to my first contest of the year and have something fresh that everyone is trying to figure out instead of a firm, icy, December halfpipe,” Davis says. “Like, Scotty James is coming off of a win at the Grand Prix last week and here he comes to Breck and he’s looking at this pipe like, ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m gonna do in here!’ That’s beautiful! That’s what I’m talking about. It’s going to bring a different kind of riding out, because there are some features where you’re not going to be able to do double corks and big spins, you’re going to have to get more creative.”

Now that riders have been playing in the new pipe all week and heading into a weekend of competition, Davis says he couldn’t be happier.

“I’m really happy to see that people are liking it, even though it’s a challenging course,” he says. “Some people have dropped out, but those are probably the riders who just want to ride halfpipes. The real snowboarders want to ride everything and have fun hitting hips, tranny, jumps, rails, whatever. Those people can continue to do their FIS World Cup circuit, and we’ll continue to do cool stuff like this: to me it’s exciting to make everybody break out of their usual contest runs. I’m guilty of it too: you start to figure out what the judges like and then you ended up doing your same run at every contest all year. I’ve been really ready to break out of that for a long time now, and it’s exciting that it’s finally fully here.”