Dew Tour continues to evolve halfpipe comps with new modified superpipe
COPPER MOUNTAIN RESORT — Snow Park Technologies Director of Operations Chris Castaneda and halfpipe builder Sam Kiley laughed Wednesday afternoon when asked the names of the two slopestyle-like features to start this year’s Dew Tour modified superpipe.
Castaneda, Kiley and the Snow Park Technologies and Woodward Copper crews had been focused on making the features creative and different from previously built modified superpipe elements.
“We haven’t figured out the names,” Castaneda said with a laugh.
“It’s just such a blend of two different things put together — a hot dog of slopestyle and halfpipe,” Kiley added.
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Truth be told, names are less important than inspiration and what athletes can actually do on the features as halfpipe snowboarding and freeskiing continues to evolve. In many ways, it’s going from the sometimes repetitive traditional halfpipe to more inventive modified courses. After Dew Tour brought back the modified pipe — something athletes referred to as “pipestyle” — last year at Breckenridge Ski Resort, Snow Park Technologies continued the modified trend this year.
The current Dew Tour modified course in Center Village is shorter than last year’s version. That means athletes’ lines have to be tighter and more fluid from the pair of mirrored transition elements at the top of the course that flow into 300-foot traditional superpipe.
Despite the lack of names — and a lack of sleep from manicuring the Dew Tour courses all night long — Castaneda and Kiley did their best to describe the two elements above the traditional pipe.
The first feature, Castaneda said, is a transition to catcher’s mitt feature that then gaps and flows into a cat paw landing. Michigan snowboarder Danny Davis, in many ways the athlete who inspired modified superpipe, described it as a 13-foot quarter-pipe side-hit into a banked landing.
The second hit was described as an inversion of last year’s shark-fin spine side-hit. That means skiers and snowboarders have the option of skiing what Davis described as a 22-foot-tall quarter-pipe at right or left before landing in what is described by many athletes as a “waterfall” that leads into the traditional pipe.
Castaneda remarked that he’s seen athletes throw double corks, something he didn’t expect, off that second feature. Along with the interest in the pipe from traditional slopestyle riders like Jamie Anderson, Castaneda said that is one of the coolest things about this year’s course.
“The way we built it, we have the landings kind of push you into the pipe,” Castaneda said.
The Snow Park Technologies duo also credited Davis with inspiring the modified superpipe movement with his Peace Park concept, something he brought to Woodward Copper this winter for the first time.
As for Davis, his influence isn’t just contained to Dew Tour. Later this month, the Burton U.S. Open at Vail Mountain will have a modified pipe for the first time. While riding the American Flyer lift Thursday morning at Copper, Davis said he’d been trying for years to get Burton to bite on a modified pipe. They’re taking the leap this year with a modified course that splits top and bottom traditional halfpipe portions with a slopestyle-like takeoff and landing in the middle.
Davis actually credited vertical skateboarding for his motivation to shake up the halfpipe scene over the past decade, and he hopes it’s led to a better atmosphere for snowboarding’s continued progression.
“The future is bright,” Davis said. “It’s nice to have different stuff to ride. And the riding, it’s never going to slow down. There’s always going to be a big progression of riding. No matter the terrain, the riders are always going to adapt, and they are going to always progress the spins and the tricks and the flips. I leave that to them, and we focus on making cool courses.”
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