Earlier this week, Breck pipe builder Nick Symon was hard at work prepping Freeway for the influx of world-class athletes looking to compete on a world-class superpipe and slopestyle course.
"We're fine-tuning the halfpipe and getting it perfect," Symon said Sunday, adding that his team's goal is to have it peak today, the first day of key competition. Once the course was finished, the park crew's job would be far from complete - Symon expected the crew to switch to 24-hour shifts for the duration of the tour.
Little snowfall forced the Breck and SPT crews to "nip and tuck" wherever possible, including shortening the 22-foot superpipe 40 feet to 570 feet and making the slopestyle jump landings narrower.
It's still ideal, though, snowboard halpipe contender Benji Farrow said.
"The pipe is awesome. All the SPT guys have done a great job and its riding really fast so you should see some good amplitude. It's also a bit longer than most pipes (meaning) room for an extra hit in your run," he said.
The week's new snow should make a nice product by whitening the slopes and smoothing out the snow surface.
"It helps the pipe ride better," Symon said.
The halfpipe may be standard format, but the slopestyle course has upped the ante.
"It's probably going to be the most challenging (course) I've seen," Symon said. "All the features are large and super technical. There's nothing easy about this course. ... (The athletes are) going to be earning their money this year."
There's not a lot of time to recover between jumps, and new features from sponsors Toyota, iON, Breckenridge and Mountain Dew will change it up for athletes.
"If you falter or wiggle, you're going to be out," Symon said. "They'll be out of breath at the end of the course."
Wind could also be a factor, slopestyle skier Kyle Mack said Wednesday, two days before his semi-final event.
"The course was amazing! The wind was a big factor on speed, but overall, Breck killed it on the course and I had fun," he said.
In his First Look video showcasing the slopestyle course, title sponsor iON Worldwide athlete Nick Goepper commented on the course's fluidity.
"The jumps link together real well; they're real smooth. They're big enough to do some sick tricks," he said.
The athletes are practicing and getting the feel of the snow - and during those practice runs, Goepper's fellow slopestyle contender Simon Dumont hurt his wrist and is out of the Dew Tour competition.
The big air competition takes place on slopestyle's final booter, which is roughly 65 feet tall with a hefty cheese wedge to kick skiers and riders into the air. The bottom line is, the park crew wanted to make it possible for athletes to throw triples, Symon said.
"The money booter is at the end, where all the big tricks are going to go down," Goepper said. "It's the biggest jump. It's right in front of the crowd, in front of the village. It's going to be sick."
Symon called the Dew Tour a "mini X Games" that's "awesome for Summit County" because of it's exposure. And creating a world-class on-snow facility is paramount to that exposure being positive. Not to mention, if it snows during the event and fans see that on TV, it's a priceless marketing bonus.
"It's a great product and it's a good team effort," Symon said. "It's worth its weight in gold for the business it brings in."
Brita Sigourney was able to take the top spot with solid amplitude and big spins. Her run consisted of an alley-oop 180, left 900, alley-oop 540, left 540, right 540 and a left 720.
"It feels so great to win today. I went way past my expectations. This is my first comp coming back off a knee injury and I am just so pumped to be here again. The new one-stop format adds a lot more pressure but it is really fun."
1. Brita Sigourney - 89.50
2. Maddie Bowman - 83.25
3. Roz Groenewoud - 82.50
4. Keltie Hansen - 79.25
5. Ayana Onozuka - 77.50
6. Anais Caradeux - 74.00
7. Angeli VanLaanen - 71.25
8. Megan Gunning - 68.25
9. Manami Mitsuboshi - 65.75
10. Mirjam Jaeger - 64.25
11. Katrien Aerts - 62.00
12. Annalisa Drew - 57.00
Torstein Horgmo blew away the competition under blue skies today at the men's snowboard slopestyle semi-finals at the iON Mountain Championships. He secured the top spot in his second run, starting with a big 240 gap to lipslide on the flat down rail, followed by a gap to backside lipslide on the down flat down kinked rail. He attacked the first pair of jumps with a frontside double cork 10 and a deep backside double cork 10. Horgmo closed out his run with a 450 lipslide on the rainbow box, cab double cork 1080 and a switch back 1260. Maxence Parrot and Breckenridge local Eric Willett finished in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
1. Torstein Horgmo 95.00
2. Maxence Parrot 89.00
3. Eric Willett 88.50
4. Chas Guldemond 88.00
5. Sebastien Toutant 87.00
6. Sven Thorgren 86.25
7. Roope Tonteri 82.25
8. Mark McMorris 81.50
9. Sage Kotsenburg 81.00
10. Ulrik Badertscher 79.00
11. Staale Sandbech 77.75
12. Peetu Piiroinen 75.75