Who and what to watch for this year at Dew Tour, now at Copper Mountain
COPPER MOUNTAIN RESORT — From the modified superpipe in Center Village over to the slopestyle course in Woodward Copper’s Central Park, Dew Tour takes over Copper Mountain Resort from Thursday through Sunday.
Over the four days, Dew Tour also will feature streetstyle and team challenge competitions. But the eight men’s and women’s ski and snowboard modified superpipe and slopestyle competitions are the main events.
Here’s what you need to know:
Men’s ski slopestyle
Qualifier: 8:45 a.m. Thursday at Central Park
Final: 1 p.m. Saturday at Central Park
First to drop in Thursday morning will be 16 men’s freeskiers vying for nine spots in the final alongside automatic-qualifier and 2019 champion Evan McEachran of Canada.
The top contenders figure to be 22-year-old Colby Stevenson of Park City and Andri Ragettli of Switzerland, who just topped Stevenson last weekend to win the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain in California.
As for Stevenson, he won the inaugural ski knuckle huck and ski slopestyle at his rookie appearance at X Games Aspen last month. That said, top contenders like McEachran don’t look at him as a rookie.
The defending Dew Tour champion McEachran described Stevenson as “the greatest skier in the world for the past couple of years” after the X Games slopestyle final.
Summit Daily prediction: Colby Stevenson
Men’s snowboard slopestyle
Qualifier: 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Central Park
Final: 10:45 a.m. Saturday at Central Park
It’ll be a loaded field in Thursday’s 16-rider qualifying round. Canadian Darcy Sharpe is riding high off a last-to-first gold medal win at X Games Aspen. It’ll be interesting to see if his rail-riding prowess translates to this year’s Dew Tour rail section, which features many different flowy options for riders including a rail to redirect ride on the first jib pad and a wall ride farther down the course.
Without Silverthorne local Chris Corning on the start list, Summit County residents Red Gerard and Kyle Mack — Ohio and Michigan natives, respectively — will be the Summit County riders to root for Thursday.
For Gerard, Thursday’s qualifying round figures to kick-start a hell of a day that could conclude with winning Snowboarder Magazine’s Rider of the Year award for his prowess in competitions and in the backcountry last year. As for Thursday’s round, though, Gerard figures to have maybe the most stylish line through the canon rail to redirect feature and the wall ride.
Norwegian and defending champ Stale Sandbech will be waiting for nine qualifiers in Saturday’s final. Canada’s Mark McMorris and Max Parrot look to make up for slope struggles at X Games.
Summit Daily prediction: Red Gerard
Women’s ski modified superpipe
Final: 12:30 p.m. Friday at Center Village
Estonian teen phenom Kelly Sildaru is the unquestioned queen of women’s freeskiing, dominant in both the halfpipe and slopestyle courses. That makes it that much more interesting to see what she might have in store for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe, which many athletes refer to as “pipestyle” over traditional halfpipe.
But after Sildaru narrowly edged Canada’s Cassie Sharpe at X Games, the prideful and high-flying Canadian surely will have all the motivation to capture a Dew Tour championship.
Summit Daily prediction: Kelly Sildaru
Women’s snowboard modified superpipe
Final: 9 a.m. Saturday at Center Village
How cool is it that American slopestyle and big air legend Jamie Anderson will compete in the modified pipe? Without American star Chloe Kim, Anderson will look to knock off top American halfpipe contender Maddie Mastro, international stars in Queralt Castellet of Spain, Jiayu Liu of China and Haruna Matsumoto of Japan.
Summit Daily prediction: Maddie Mastro
Men’s ski modified superpipe
Final: 9 a.m. Sunday at Center Village
Maybe the most loaded of finals at Dew Tour in terms of American talent, there’s no shortage of potential U.S. podium placers in men’s ski modified superpipe.
Riding high on his dominant five-double-cork championship run at Mammoth Mountain last week, Crested Butte’s Aaron Blunck looked stylish as ever on the modified pipe at Copper Mountain during practice Wednesday. But the man who beat him at X Games last month and at Dew Tour last year, Alex Ferreira of Aspen, figures to have something to say about that No. 1 spot.
Other contenders to keep an eye on are twice-reigning Olympic halfpipe gold medalist and U.S. veteran David Wise, who is skiing well despite a broken femur in the offseason. Young Americans in the high-flying Birk Irving of Winter Park and the powerful Hunter Hess of Oregon also could steal the show, as could the return of New Zealand’s Nico Porteous.
Summit Daily prediction: Aaron Blunck
Men’s snowboard modified superpipe
Final: 10:45 a.m. Sunday at Center Village
Can anyone stop Scotty James? Maybe the modified superpipe can? After 10 consecutive wins in halfpipe events, including in the modified pipe at Breckenridge Ski Resort last year, it doesn’t seem likely the Australian star will be defeated.
Park crews remarked Wednesday how they could recognize James’ tracks on the modified course’s features based on where they were — signaling just how big he’s airing. That’s not a good sign for the rest of the competition.
But if anyone is to best him, Mammoth Grand Prix champ Yuto Totsuka is at the top of the list. A group of creative American riders, led by Danny Davis of Michigan and including Chase Josey of Idaho, Jake Pates of Eagle and Toby Miller of California, also will go for broke.
Summit Daily prediction: Scotty James
Women’s snowboard slopestyle
Final: 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Central Park
If Anderson doesn’t steal the show in the modified pipe Saturday, she’ll have a shot at redemption in her traditional arena Sunday. Her X Games Aspen medal last month is proof the 29-year-old is still at the top of her game.
With last year’s runner-up Julia Marino out due to injury, young American Hailey Langland also has the bag of tricks to tame this course no matter the weather. And then there’s Austrian star and defending Dew Tour champ Anna Gasser, who will look to make up for going home empty-handed from X Games.
Summit Daily prediction: Anna Gasser
Women’s ski slopestyle
Final: 2 p.m. Sunday at Central Park
If Sildaru doesn’t win the modified superpipe earlier in the week, she’ll be the betting favorite Sunday on the slope course. Sildaru won this event in Aspen last month.
If there is anyone who might be able to knock off Sildaru on Sunday, it’s Sarah Hoefflin of Switzerland. The 2018 Olympic slopestyle gold medalist proved with her silver in Aspen last month that she’s ready if Sildaru leaves it for the taking.
Summit Daily prediction: Kelly Sildaru
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