BRECKENRIDGE " Charles Gagnier and Jossi Wells are just a couple of the names that are gunning for the inaugural Winter Dew Tour's ski slopestyle title.
Their quest for the podium starts today in the preliminary round at 12:30 p.m. on Peak 8 in Breckenridge.
A total of 35 riders will duke it out for 12 spots that advance to Saturday's final.
In slopestyle, the course features 2,250 feet of step-ups, rails, boxes and tabletops.
The skiers have the choice of what route to take through the course, earning points from judges based on the execution of tricks and difficulty.
After two runs for each skier, the best point total is taken for their overall score.
Nearly half of the event's 35 riders were chosen through the open qualifying held on Tuesday.
Henrik Harlaut of Sweden led all qualifiers with a second-run score of 84. Gus Kenworthy of Telluride was the lone Coloradoan to advance.
The Dew Tour's freeskiing events are considered to be among the best in the sport and have attracted a slew of the world's top riders. Even the open qualifying rounds featured riders from seven different countries.
Gagnier, a Canadian, is looked at as one of the favorites in the event. Only 23, the Victoriaville, Quebec native won both the U.S. Open and X Games titles in 2005, the latter ended a three-year streak for Hall.
Gagnier is also credited with inventing a trick called the "octograb," in which he grabs the tail end of one ski with his right hand and the front tip of the other ski with his left hand.
Wells is another international skier. The New Zealand native won a silver medal at the 2008 X Games in the pipe and finished second at the U.S. Open Big Air contest.