Re-imagined superpipe highlights this weekend’s post-Olympic Dew Tour | VailDaily.com

Re-imagined superpipe highlights this weekend’s post-Olympic Dew Tour

Antonio Olivero
Summit Daily News

2018 Dew Tour Schedule

Thursday

Women’s ski slopestyle 9-11 a.m.

Adaptive snowboard 11:15 a.m. to noon

Team ski 12:30-3 p.m.

Powder Awards (Riverwalk Center) 8 p.m.

Friday

Women’s ski superpipe 9-9:45 a.m.

Women’s snowboard slopestyle 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Team snowboard 12:45-3:15 p.m.

Streetstyle (Washington Street) 6-7:45 p.m.

Transworld Snowboarding Awards (Riverwalk Center) 8 p.m.

Saturday

Men’s snowboard superpipe 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Men’s ski slopestyle noon-3 p.m.

‘Girls Who Ride’ Streetstyle 3-4:30 p.m.

Streetstyle open to public noon to 7 p.m.

Sunday

Men’s ski superpipe 9:15-10:15 a.m.

Streetstyle open to public 10 a.m. to noon

Women’s snowboard superipe 10:45-11:30 a.m.

Men’s snowboard slopestyle noon to 3 p.m.

Last week, after taking second place at the first World Cup halfpipe event of the season at Copper Mountain Resort, Canadian 2018 Olympic halfpipe gold medalist freeskier Cassie Sharpe provided a glimpse into her thought process about the most talked about element of this week’s Dew Tour at Breckenridge Ski Resort: The new modified superpipe.

Sharpe didn’t mince words. When she initially saw the renderings of the first-of-its-kind modified superpipe that Snow Park Technologies dreamt up and built for Dew Tour, she was discouraged.

“I thought, ‘this isn’t a halfpipe event,’” Sharpe said, “‘You can’t call it halfpipe.’ I was super bummed on it. Then I had a good talk with my (Canadian) teammates, Noah (Bowman) and Simon (D’Artois), and they really talked it through with me, which made me understand it a little bit better. So, now I’m more on (Aaron) Blunck’s side, to see the creativity and see what people can do with something different.”

Throughout the first three days of the week leading up to the four-day Dew Tour event, which starts Thursday, Dec. 13, numerous freeskiers and snowboarders have posted to their social media accounts their practice runs through the modified superpipe. It’s a fresh take on the concept of the halfpipe contest, and it will feature a side-hit jump above the pipe leading into a three-hit, shortened superpipe.

Then, exiting the pipe, skiers and snowboarders will hit what they are calling a “tombstone” feature to a traditional slopestyle landing. Then, to wrap the course up, competitors have the choice of two hips that they can take or a halfpipe wall into a hip landing.

“Which is just sick,” Eagle snowboarder and defending Dew Tour men’s snowboard superpipe champion Jake Pates said after training on Wednesday. “It’s super dope. It’s been a lot of fun. A little hard to figure out, but I think it’s sick everybody has the same challenge.”

‘It’s going to challenge people’

The new superpipe course has garnered so much attention among the athletes that even Olympic gold-medal winning slopestyle rider Red Gerard, of Silverthorne, made a run through the course earlier in the week. On Thursday, from 12:30 to 1 p.m., the first athletes to compete on the modified superpipe will be the following freeskiers representing their respective brands in the team challenge: Torin Yater-Wallace (Armada), Miguel Porteous (Atomic), Antti Ollila (Faction), Aaron Blunck (Head), Birk Irving (K2) and Hunter Hess (Volkl).

Before he even practiced on the new Dew Tour pipe, Crested Butte’s Blunck said after last week’s Copper World Cup Grand Prix event that, because of the modified pipe, Dew Tour is the one event he’s been looking forward to all season.

“It’s going to challenge people,” said Blunck, who won the Copper halfpipe contest. “You are even going to see people who you might not see in finals normally come out of the woodworks and lay it down because it’s all about creativity, fun times, new creative lines. I’m super stoked for it. I’m stoked to see everyone show what they’ve got on it because it’s a whole new, diverse pipe. It’s going to be sick.”

Pates said to expect much more stylish tricks during both the team and individual superpipe events through the week.

“You just see that first feature,” Pates said, “People are just doing big, slow, cool-looking stuff. It’s going to look sick.”

To 28-year-old two-time Olympic gold-medalist David Wise, a veteran among the dozens of freeskier and snowboard halfpipe athletes at this week’s Dew Tour, the new pipe concept is welcome. At the end of the day, Wise views his beloved halfpipe competition as not only a competition, but an art form. To Wise, very few sports in the world incorporate as much creativity and reward as much creativity as halfpipe snowboarding. So, why not have competitions similar to Dew Tour’s atypical concept become more regular on the World Cup scene to pair along with the traditional halfpipe competition? Other athletes, such as multi X Games superpipe medalist Ben Ferguson, agree. Ferguson posted on his Instagram page on Wednesday that it was “cool to see a different transition setup in contest,” and to “hopefully see more in the future.”

“We have the Olympics, and the Olympics are always going to be a standard superpipe,” Wise said at Copper Mountain on Friday. “And I think that’s great. I think that’s good for the sport. But I’d be happy to see the tour have more creative superpipes, and have more creative pipe features.

“In terms of are we ready, ‘Do I have a run in my head going into Dew Tour,’” Wise continued. “No, but that’s what makes it interesting. It’s kind of like every slopestyle contest. The guys show up, they see the course and then they create a run. Whereas, we pipe riders, we pretty much know what we are going to do before we show up. I do a lot of the time. So I’m excited going in. See how the course feels, see how the tricks feel on the features and have fun.”