Hoping for a 3-peat, Ferreira hails Dew Tour’s ‘more sustainable’ move to Copper | AspenTimes.com

Hoping for a 3-peat, Ferreira hails Dew Tour’s ‘more sustainable’ move to Copper

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Alex Ferreira airs out of the halfpipe at the 2018 Dew Tour in Breckenridge. Ferreira won Dew Tour gold in both 2017 and 2018, and welcomes the event's 2019-2020 season move to Copper Mountain.
Dew Tour/courtesy

When it became apparent last season that Dew Tour was not returning to Breckenridge in 2019, an air of nervousness beset the many competitors and fans who had invested energy in the event over the last decade.

A competition that takes place outside of the auspices of the International Ski Federation, the Dew Tour attracts the world’s top freeskiers and snowboarders to Summit County every year to showcase the two pillars of their sports — halfpipe and slopestyle competition. During Olympic years, it doubles as a team qualifier here in the U.S.

With a strong brand identity in the sport and name recognition that extends to a more mainstream audience, the event needed to find a new home, and fast, supporters said.

Aspen’s Alex Ferreira won the Dew Tour’s ski halfpipe competition in 2017 and groundbreaking modified halfpipe competition in 2018. Ferreira said while organizers assured competitors the event would find a new home, he was nervous, for a minute, that he might not get a chance to three-peat.

“I knew it was all up in the air, and I knew it was definitely not going to be in Breckenridge again,” he said. “I’m extremely happy that it didn’t just evaporate.”

On Monday, Mountain Dew and the Adventure Sports Network Group announced the Winter Dew Tour will return to Summit County for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons with Copper Mountain as the host venue.

In hearing that Copper will host the event in February, Ferreira said it was a logical choice, as Copper also hosts the Grand Prix, the first contest of the winter season, which takes place in early December, and the USASA national championships, the last contest of the winter season, which takes place in April.

‘The pipe is already made’

A competition-sized halfpipe often takes more than 10 million gallons of water to create through snowmaking. Two seasons ago, here in Colorado, there were competition halfpipes at Breckenridge, Copper, Vail, Snowmass and Buttermilk resorts.

It’s no wonder why Ferreira is one of six halfpipe skiers who grew up in Colorado and competed at Dew Tour last season. This season, Ferreira skipped the first World Cup contest on the calendar — which took place on Friday in New Zealand — but even without him there, Colorado halfpipe skiers took four of the top seven spots.

Ferreira credits not having to travel far as a younger competitor with much of his development in the sport — he trained with former Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach Elana Chase for a lot of his career — and says having 22-foot halfpipes nearby made a significant difference in his progression.

But five competition halfpipes within a 100-mile radius may have been overdoing it a bit in 2017-18, Ferreira concedes. With one less pipe in Colorado this season, hopefully the environment will benefit, he said.

“From a sustainability point of view, it’s definitely much better to have (the Dew Tour) at Copper,” Ferreira said. “The pipe is already made and open before for Copper Grand Prix, and then after the contest it’s a great training facility,” Ferreira said. “And then also they have USASA nationals at the end … so it gets a ton of use.”

Four-day bonanza

The Dew Tour will take place over a four-day period, from Thursday, Feb. 6 to Sunday, Feb. 9. In addition to halfpipe and slopestyle competitions, the Dew Tour will also include its signature Team Challenge, along with para snowboard competitions and “a calendar of fan-based activities,” according to organizers.

The slopestyle event will be held in Copper’s Central Park, and the halfpipe events will be just above the base of Center Village. The Dew Tour festival experience will include live music on the Dew Tour main stage as well as a sponsor village, pro athlete photo-ops, poster signings and more. The Dew Tour is free and open to the public. Center Village will also host the event stage, sponsor activations and Team Challenge competition.

“Between our investments in enhancing the overall ski and ride experience to our designation as an official venue for U.S. Ski & Snowboard teams early season training, Copper’s areas of expertise are providing world-class facilities for athlete progression and a lively atmosphere for spectators,” said Dustin Lyman, Copper Mountain president and general manager. “The Dew Tour is a perfect fit for Copper as we live the action sports lifestyle every day through our Woodward venues and programs.”

A total of six hours of winter Dew Tour coverage will air on NBC and NBCSN. The event will also be live streamed in its entirety on DewTour.com, Facebook Live, YouTube and other major platforms for a total of 24 hours of live coverage.