Eagle County snowboarders Jake Pates, Zoe Kalapos competing in Dew Tour modified halfpipe Dec. 15-16 | VailDaily.com

Eagle County snowboarders Jake Pates, Zoe Kalapos competing in Dew Tour modified halfpipe Dec. 15-16

EAGLE COUNTY — Jake Pates might go down in history as the last man to win a traditional halfpipe snowboarding competition at the Dew Tour.

After unveiling a never-before-seen trick and topping the field in the 2017 Dew Tour, Pates was set to defend his crown this year, until it was announced that the halfpipe competition at the annual Dew Tour freeski and snowboarding event in Breckenridge was opting for a modified superpipe in 2018, a whole new realm of competition.

"They're spicing it up this year," Pates said. "I don't really think you can compare it to anything, it's totally different."

With a spine-style jump into the halfpipe and a quarterpipe-style hip jump out of the pipe, parts of the halfpipe competition that are usually the least exciting — the athlete's entrance and exit from the halfpipe — are now set to be make or break moments for the competitors.

Avon snowboarder Zoe Kalapos was one of only eight women to receive an invite to the modified superpipe competition.

"I think it will be cool to have a competition that's not as serious, because it's not a traditional halfpipe," Kalapos said.

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'REFRESHING'

Of course, anything will be less serious than last year's Dew Tour, which doubled as an Olympic qualifier.

"I think it's definitely going to be refreshing," Kalapos said. "It should take a lot of the pressure off that every one felt last year, and just have fun, be creative and just snowboard the way they want to snowboard."

Pates, 20, pursues snowboarding for one reason — to have fun.

And at this year's Dew Tour, he's expecting the fun factor to be bigger and better than ever.

"I'm just stoked to ride with everyone and shred this course," he said. "You're going to be able to see the artistic side of snowboarding, that's going to be demonstrated out there for sure, so I'm just excited about where the sport is headed right now with this event."

BIG NAMES

Pates said the modified superpipe may have arrived just in time to attract some of the competitors that might not be in the mood to grind it out on the World Cup circuit this season.

Conspicuously absent from last week's World Cup halfpipe season opener were names such as Danny Davis, Iouri Podladtchikov and Ben Ferguson, icons of the sport who have made their mark in halfpipe competition with unforgettable runs in years past.

The athlete roster contains 35 medalists from both the Olympics and Paralympics, with more than 100 athletes representing 14 different countries in total.

"The dudes who are doing it have lots of experience, so it's going to be great to watch," Pates said. "It just makes me smile to be a part of this sport at such an exciting time."

DEW TOUR MODIFIED SUPERPIPE

Snowboarding events

Saturday, Dec. 15

Men’s modified superpipe presented by Toyota, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Sunday, Dec. 16

Women’s modified superpipe presented by Toyota, 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.