Wednesday, December 19, 2012

GG hits the Dew Tour!!!!

Winter Dew Tour

One snowy weekend each December, the little town of Breckenridge fills up with elite athletes, avid fans, and a slew of spectators and partiers.  It's Winter Dew Tour, and it's  marks the real beginning of Breck's season.  This year the tour slimmed down from three winter dates to only the Breckenridge stop--the iON Mountain Championships, making the weekend of December 13-16th even more significant on the competition schedule. With a bigger and better vendor village, more activities and music, and the brand-new Big Air event there was plenty of fresh excitement (and  free Mountain Dew) to hype up the crowds....and apparently enough to encourage Ullr (the norse god of snow) to bless Breck with some serious white stuff in the days following the comp!

Grimey Gatsby was busy behind the scenes at this year's Dew Tour, assisting with the production side of the concerts on mountain and in town.  So sadly we didn't get to watch too much of the action on the hill in person.  We've always got an ear to the ground though (even when the ground is snowy!) so we're happy to share some highlights from the weekend....

In the men's snowboarding side of things Mark McMorris was the main attraction.  Hot on the heels of Shaun White, this youngin took home a cool 50 Gs with his wins in Slopestyle and Big Air. White maintained his dominance in Pipe,  but McMorris confidently took the other two events. His impressive performance in the Big Air was a solid welcome of this new discipline to the tour. 

In an effort to ease the pressure of the linked line and really push athletes to throw their biggest and best, the Dew Tour added Big Air this winter. In it's first year it only included male athletes, though we hope to see it expand in years to come.  Always an impressive event, the Dew Tour's Big Air took a simple format:  twelve snowboarders broken into two heats of six riding in an organized jam format for eight minute periods or  five runs (whichever came first) were completed. The top two riders from each heat automatically advanced into the final round. In addition to those four riders, the next highest score from both heats also advanced making for a five-man final.  McMorris, Sage Kotsenburg, Staale Sandbech and Sebastien Toutant made the finals, but McMorris walked with gold after nailing a Backside triple cork 1440 in finals.

                                                                                photo credit: Christopher D Thompson
Sage Kotsenburg on the slope style course

Women's snowboarding had plenty of excitement as well.  After a full day of fresh snow, the Breck super pipe was at less than peak conditions when the ladies hit it for the finals on Saturday afternoon. Nonetheless these shredder chicks managed an impressive display and the event delivered an exciting upset.  Dew Tour veteran Kelly Clark has taken home 5 victories in three years in this discipline (as well as three Dew Cups).  Kaitlyn Farrington came in hot with a solid first run though, which put pressure on Clark as she took a back seat once on her first run.  Farrington brought the heat on her second run, which included a backside 900, a frontside 900, a backside 540, an alley-oop 540, a straight air and a frontside 720.  The ladies of slopestyle lucked out with some better weather for their finals, which Jaime Anderson ran away with after a spotless final run.  

Women's Superpipe Podium

Castel Queralt in the Womens Superpipe Finals

For those on two planks, there was loads of excitement as well.  The men's slopestyle event featured an epic course and less than epic conditions for the finals, both of which pushed athletes to adapt and excel. Aussie Russ Henshaw overtook Semi-Final leader James Woods with his impressive 84.5 mark in the first run of finals. Kai Mahler took the inaugural Freeski Big Air event with a  switch left double misty 1440 double Japan grab, while Justin Dorey soared to victory in the pipe, giving plenty of sweet stuff to the snazzy new camera rigged down the middle of the pipe....a never before used angle that gave spectators an unparalleled view of every run!

Justin Dorey

Women's skiing saw the upset of Breckenridge local Emilia Wint in the slopestyle event.  Wint, the top qualifier going into the final (her qualifying score was an entire five points higher than the rest of the field), lost her favored status after taking a spill on the snowy course during her first run. Canadian Kaya Turski took advantage and swooped in with a stellar first run: switch on front swap on the rainbow box, lipslide to fakie on the next rail, to switch unnatural 360 over the first jump, to switch 540 over the next jump, 270 onto the next rainbow box, and a finale  of a 540 then a switch 720 over the last wo jumps.  Wint ended up in fourth place. In the pipe, Cali native Brita Sigourney carried her high score from the semis into the elite field of six skiers in the finals and came out on top.  

Women's Skiing Slopestyle Podium

Check out a gallery of Skiing Photos from our buddy Christopher D Thompson 

Other excitement on mountain came from the goodies, games and contests over in the vendor village. Plenty of swag and silliness to be had.  There was also a  DJ set from Denver group Two Fresh, live from the base of the Big Air jump!  And on Thursday night the inaugural  "Dew Tour Recognize: Industry Film Awards" was held, shining the spotlight on some of the behind the scenes stars of the snowsports industry.  You can check out all the entries Here.  Saturday night also saw Breckenridge's Riverwalk Center sold out for the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert that capped the weekend with funky tunes and outrageous costumes, stage diving and more!  The Snowboard Streetstyle Rail Jam  was another big hit. This urban course was designed on one of Breck's downtown streets to look like the town might after a colossal blizzard. A dumpster, jersey barriers and parked car were  some of the elements riders hit in this fast-paced jam. Eric Beauchemin  beat out 12 competitors with tricks  like a half cab 360 onto the down barrier and a bunch of steezy grinds across the dumpster.

                                                                                             photo credit: KBS Photography
A competitor flipping over the dumpster in the Snowboard Streetstyle event

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