Janice Kurbjun
Summit Daily News
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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December 12, 2012
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Breckenridge hosts 2012-13 winter Dew Tour stop

This time, there is no stop in Vermont.

There is no stop in Utah.

This year, Breckenridge is the one and only Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships winter stop, and with it comes not only the halfpipe and slopestyle competition, but also the crowd-pleasing big air contest.

"It's a big, busy winter season for the athletes," said Chris Prybylo, vice president of events for Alli Sports, the organization behind the event as he explained why the Dew Tour, which has historically had three winter stops, is now a single event. "We want to make it bigger, make it better. We want to put on the best event of the year."

The tour still includes a beach and city stop but eliminates two contest opportunities for winter athletes, which has some athletes "bummed."

"It's a bummer to have it minimized. It was a good opportunity to get your name and performance out there. It was well-watched," said ski halfpipe athlete David Wise, though he added that having two World Cup competitions mixed into the schedule in place of the two Dew Tour stops evens out the schedule.

But for Hannah Teter, six-time World Cup victor and gold, silver and bronze medalist in the halfpipe, losing two Dew Tour stops is important because, frankly, they're more fun.

"It's a different contest," she said. "It's what the riders asked for. For example, overall judging versus World Cup judging. ... It's sad it's only one stop because it's one of the funnest stops we have. It brings a tear to the eye."

Nick Goepper, the rookie who exploded onto the slopestyle scene last year with podium finishes in all three Dew Tour stops last year, a silver medal in the X Games and a season-ending rank of second overall, summarized what most veteran athletes are feeling: It's a shame it's now just one stop, but it's also exciting that the powers that be are putting all the energy into one event. With off-mountain entertainment like music from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, a film night, fireworks and more, the fun continues when the lifts stop turning.

"As fun as the other three competitions were, if they're putting all their energy into this one ... it's going to be mega fun - fun times three," snowboarder Maddy Schaffrick said.

Also added is the big air competition for skiers and snowboarders, which all athletes - Goepper included - expect to draw crowds to the mountain for the under-the-lights event.

"I'm stoked that the one event they're having is happening at Breck," Goepper said. "It's probably the best venue for an event this size. ... But there's more pressure in one event instead of three smaller ones. It calls for the athletes to be on their game more and be more prepared and take it a bit more seriously instead of having the mindset ... that there's other stops."

With the beach, city and snow components, the Dew Tour looks to be competing with the X Games for TV time (11 hours of broadcasting is on the docket) and spectatorship, particularly with the big air contest.

"We added big air to the event," Prybylo said. "It'll be a nighttime competition on Thursday and Saturday nights. Under the lights, it adds something for the athletes, but also something for the TV and spectator audience."

Goepper is looking forward to adding big air to his slopestyle repertoire.

"I'm looking forward to hitting a really big jump and doing the best tricks I possibly can," he said, adding that he looks to be on top of this new discipline with the likes of Vincent Gagnier and Tom Wallisch.

"It's definitely a crowd-pleaser," Teter said. "The guys who do big air are insane. They go all-out. ... They do anything to get the crowd going, and that's what sells action sports."

Slopestyle athlete Emilia Wint recognizes the event's potential to become on par with the X Games. It's developing into a tour that includes all the action sports disciplines.

"Dew Tour is upping the ante, they are upping the prize money," Wint said. "They are having it in Breck, which is the best location."


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The Post Independent Updated Dec 12, 2012 01:56AM Published Dec 12, 2012 01:53AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.