Men's Snowboard Superpipe has long been the main attraction at the Breckenridge Dew Tour stop, and this year's showdown in the pipe is shaping up to be the best to date.
For years now, one name has become synonymous with superpipe: Shaun White. White's reign on the superpipe went worldwide when he earned his first Gold medal at the 2006 Torino Games. Then in 2010 he repeated his dominance on the world stage at the Vancouver Games, which cemented him as the authority in the space.
Fast-forward a few years and there are new faces from across the globe finding their way onto podium. Still, the question remains. Can White be beaten?
There is no doubt that white will remain a force in the space, and this year he has all the makings to blow the minds off the industry once more. However, his competition is stiffer than ever before.
Take his fellow U.S. riders. Between Scotty Lago, Greg Bretz, Danny Davis, Matt Ladley and Louie Vito, White has a stacked list of competitors in his own backyard that are all eager to unseat him from the top.
The riders that seem to serve the largest threat, however, are the ones coming in hot from across the globe.
15-year-old Ayumu Hirano hails from Japan and has a silent mystique around the pipe and a seamless style in it. Hirano has been on a steady rise to fame in recent years, and has already claimed five podium finishes in 2013 along with the current title of number one overall in the FIS standings. Hirano has yet to defeat White in an event, but knows what it will take. His effortless style is all his own and everyone is taking notes.
Another force from abroad, Iouri Podladtchikov, aka I-Pod, is no new name to the pipe podium. I-Pod was the first rider to land both switch double cork 1260 and a cab cork 1440, or the Yolo flip as he has dubbed it. This Swiss snowboarder has been nipping at White's boots for years, but this season may the one that everyone remembers.
Regardless of whether it is a foreign or domestic threat, there has clearly been a push from riders around the world to step their game up and take White down. Will this be the year? Well, considering the added pressure for White to perform at Dew Tour in order to earn valuable points in an effort to represent his country once again on the world stage, this week's superpipe events will serve as a window into the likeliness of another season dominated by snowboarding's anomaly.
Catch all the action in real-time at DewTour.com/LIVE at the times listed below, or watch Saturday's final on NBC:
Men's Snowboard Superpipe Qualifier at 3:00pm ET on Thursday, Dec. 12
Snowboard Superpipe Final at 12:00pm ET on Saturday, Dec. 14
* Schedule subject to change. Please check the SCHEDULE for any updates.