Friday, January 18, 2013

Dew Tour - Breckenridge

Last month, I had the chance to catch some snowboard and freeski action at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Roz Groenewoud of Canada competes in Freeski Superpipe
The Dew Tour is the first qualifying event for the 2014 Sochi Olympics for halfpipe and slopestyle. Snowboard halfpipe was already an Olympic event, but for freeski halfpipe, freeski slopestyle and snowboard slopestyle, 2014 will see their debut.

Canada (unlike the US) is offering early qualification to freeski athletes who podium in two of five designated events (Dew Tour, X-Games (Copper WC for slopestyle), European X-Games-France, Sochi Test Event and World Championships) as well as a top 16 in either the Sochi Test Event or World Championships. Click here for full qualification process for freeski competitions. Click here for the Canadian snowboard qualification process.

For our Canadian athletes, the Dew Tour was especially important in their quest for Sochi 2014.

In my two days at the Dew Tour, I got to see the Men's Freeski and Snowboard Superpipe qualification, as well as the Women's Snowboard Slopestyle and Women's Freeski Superpipe finals.

I will write separate posts for the Men's Freeski and the Women's competitions highlighting the first qualifying podiums by our Canadians. This first post is an overview of the competition and showcases my favourite photos.

I started my first day by watching the Men's Freeski Superpipe competition from the bottom of the superpipe.

This view gave a great perspective of the full run. 

Matt Margetts
Mike Riddle

Noah Bowman

Mike Riddle
It was great to see the athletes' reactions at the end of their runs.

Matt Margetts
It was also the perfect place to be while waiting for the scores to be posted on the scoreboard as well as listen to the commentators during the runs and hear the interviews.

Mike Riddle
Canada was well represented with three men qualifying for the final:  Mike Riddle 1st, Justin Dorey 3rd and Matt Margetts 5th. 

After lunch, I managed to catch some of the semi-finals action for the Women's Slopestyle, including Spencer O'Brien:

I was quite happy with the photos I took of the freeski competition at the superpipe in the morning, but it would prove to be nothing compared to the photos I would get in the afternoon for the snowboard superpipe competition. Unfortunately there were no Canadians in this competition but it did include Olympic gold medallist Shaun White. 

When I arrived at the bottom of the superpipe, the sun was shining right above the pipe making photo taking from the bottom quite challenging. I decided to climb up the side of the superpipe so that the sun would be more behind me.

Although this didn't give me a perspective on the whole run, it made for some spectacular photos.

Starting with the best snowboarder in the world, I managed to catch a few good photos of Shaun White.

I didn't notice it at the time, but I was happy to see him wearing a Sarah Burke armband when I looked at my photos. She was definitely on my mind while I was at the Dew Tour.

Here are more of my favourite shots:

Benji Farrow

Louis Vito

Spencer Shaw
Watching the competition from the side of the superpipe was incredible to experience the speed and the sound of the snowboarders.

With the competition over, I walked back down to the chalet to meet my friends. On my way, I caught some practice action off a jump by some freeski competitors.

Alex Schlopy
I was happy to see some of this practice. Being a guest, I was on my friends' schedule. When they were done skiing and ready to go back to the cottage, I followed. This meant missing the Freeski Big Air competition that ended the day. It was still an amazing day and I couldn't wait for Day 2.

Stay tuned for my next posts that will showcase the women, including Canadians Roz Groenewoud who was third in the Freeski Superpipe and Spencer O'Brien who was second in the Snowboard Slopestyle. I will also post more photos and details about the Men's Freeski Superpipe where two Canadians Justin Dorey and Mike Riddle were on the podium.

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