Dew Tour kicks off today at Breckenridge
summit daily news
After wrapping up a fifth-place finish in last weekend’s U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix, snowboarder JJ Thomas couldn’t wait to get back in the pipe.
Well, Breckenridge’s new 22-foot pipe, that is.
“It’s probably one of the best pipes in the world,” Thomas said at the time.
And, with this week’s Nike 6.0 Open – the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour – at Breckenridge Ski Resort, Thomas will be just one of the hundreds of world-class athletes to take competitive runs down the resort’s new pipe and slopestyle course.
“I’m really exciting (about the Dew Tour),” said Thomas, the 2002 Olympic bronze medalist and a member of Breck’s pro team. “I love competing at Breck.”
The Winter Dew Tour is a three-stop action-sports series featuring snowboarding and freeskiing competitions in both halfpipe and slopestyle.
Breck is playing host to the series’ first stop for the third straight year with competitions set to kick off today with open qualifying for men’s and women’s snowboard pipe and men’s ski slopestyle.
According to a press release from Alli Sports, which operates the series, more than 280 athletes will go through open qualifying, trying to earn a spot on the tour.
Meanwhile, a slew of the sports’ biggest names are already prequalified into the preliminary rounds.
MEN’S SNOWBOARD HALFPIPE: Thomas is the defending Dew Cup champion as the series’ overall winner a year ago. And the list of challengers to dethrone him is long. Last weekend’s Grand Prix champ Louie Vito is slated to compete, as are Breck X Games champ Steve Fisher, Scotty Lago, Iouri Podlachikov and Summit County local Zack Black. Former Olympians Greg Bretz and Mason Aguirre and the Mitrani brothers, Luke and Jack, are also prequalified into the field. Prelims kick off at 11:05 a.m. on Friday with finals the following day at 1 p.m.
WOMEN’S SNOWBOARD HALFPIPE: Fresh off her win in the Grand Prix, Kaitlyn Farrington will look to defend her overall Dew Cup crown against a stiff field that includes Kelly Clark and Elena Hight. Some of the biggest names on the women’s side – including Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teter – are also prequalified into the field. Prelims are Friday at 10 a.m., while the finals are on Saturday at noon.
MEN’S SNOWBOARD SLOPESTYLE: Two years ago, at the inaugural Dew Tour stop at Breck, Mikkel Bang burst onto the world scene, finishing second (to a guy names Shaun White) after working his way through open qualifiers. Now he’s one of the sport’s elite, but he’ll be challenged by homegrown Euro X Games champ Eric Willett, along with defending Dew Cup champ Sage Kotsenburg. Slopestyle legend Andreas Wiig is slated to compete, as are youngster Tyler Flanagan and Norwegian rider Torstein Horgmo. Lago, Black and Aguirre are also slated to compete. And, just as Bang did two years ago, don’t be surprised if someone comes from the OQs to make it big. Summit County’s own Brett Esser is the reigning Canadian Open champ in slope and will be in Thursday’s qualifier. Prelims are Friday at 2 p.m. , and the finals are at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
WOMEN’S SNOWBOARD SLOPESTYLE: Jamie Anderson may be the most dominant female rider in any discipline, as she’s virtually owned the women’s slopestyle scene for the past few years. Last year’s Dew Cup champ will be challenged by a fierce field that includes Kjersti Buaas and Chanelle Sladics. Prelims are Saturday at 11 a.m., and the finals are Sunday at 10.
MEN’S FREESKI HALFPIPE: After their performances at the Grand Prix, Canadians Justin Dorey and Mike Riddle are certainly among the favorites this week. American freeski superstar Simon Dumont is a threat to win any time he clicks in his skis, and Kiwi Jossi Wells is the defending overall champ from a year ago. The French contingent – especially Xavier Bertoni and Kevin Rolland – should factor in, as will Americans Matt Philippi, David Wise and Dan Marion. Prelims are slated for a 2:30 p.m. start on Friday. The finals are Saturday at 10 a.m.
MEN’S FREESKI SLOPESTYLE: While Dumont, Wells and Jacob Wester are among the biggest names in the field, Breck’s Bobby Brown may be the skier to watch. The former Front Ranger is an X Games champ and figures to ski well on his home course. Sammy Carlson and Andreas Hatveit, the reigning champ, should also contend. The prelims are set for Friday at 10:30 a.m. with the finals on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
WOMEN’S FREESKI SLOPESTYLE/HALFPIPE: Although the women’s freeski events aren’t exactly official in the Dew rotation (they aren’t in all three stops), the field at the Nike 6.0 Open should showcase everything the female contingent has. Canadian Rosalind Groenewoud and American Jen Hudak are hands down the biggest names but should be challenged by a slew of slick skiers. The prelims for pipe are Thursday at 3 p.m., and the finals are Saturday at 9 a.m. Slopestyle prelims are Saturday at 2 p.m., with finals the following day at 1:30.
For more information about the Dew Tour and the Nike 6.0 Open, visit allisports.com.
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