Dew Tour 101: Who to watch, what to know and where to go at Dew Tour Breckenridge 2016 | SummitDaily.com

Dew Tour 101: Who to watch, what to know and where to go at Dew Tour Breckenridge 2016

It's been a wild and crazy year since Dew Tour was last in town.

For starters, the largest pro-level snowboard and freeski competition in Summit County lost its longtime production company, Alli Sports, just a month after things wrapped up last December. New overseers TEN: The Enthusiast Network — home to Transworld Snowboarding, Powder magazine and more action sports properties — took over this summer and brought a new format to the franchise. The biggest addition: the Team Challenge, designed to showcase teams of three affiliated with big-name brands like Burton, Armada skis and more.

Then, Mother Nature happened. After a long and dry November, TEN and Breckenridge made the tough decision to cancel the proposed modified superpipe. They replaced it with a modified slopestyle competition — one jump and four jib lines to make up for the lack of snow — and also added an adaptive snowboard banked slalom, which is set to make its Winter Olympic debut at PyeongChang in 2018.

Now, the schedule has been revised (see sidebar) to make up for Mother Nature's latest temper tantrum: round after round of snow this weekend, with occasional (and unpredictable) breaks. Seriously, it happens like this every year.

New face or no, Dew Tour is still the go-to early-season contest for big-name pros. Here's a look at the Olympic and X Games riders and skiers to watch on the slope course, jib line and downtown streetstyle course.

Snowboard slopestyle | Dec. 9-10

Recommended Stories For You

One jump, two scores, no course. This year's snowboard and freeski slopestyle begins today (Dec. 9) with the lone big-air hit at the base of Peak 8. It might seem easier than a complete course with three back-to-back jumps, but Silverthorne local Red Gerard says looks can be deceiving.

"It's not easier, not at all," the 16-year-old Gerard told the Summit Daily when the new format was announced. "It's a little harder, actually. There's more pressure to perform. You can nail your rail run, but then you also have to land those jumps. It's more true snowboarding, for sure."

Gerard, who made finals and placed fifth overall last season in his Dew Tour slope debut, promises to be a force on the slope jump with a backside 1440 and double 1260. But the big news this weekend is the return of Canadian superstar Mark McMorris, who suffered a leg injury last season. This is his first major competition on North American soil since then, and he's got something to prove with more amplitude than most and boatloads of style.

On the women's side, 2014 Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson is the lady to beat. She throws down tricks that could make a men's final, with inverted 1080s and 1260s. Hot on her heels is McMorris' Canadian teammate, Spencer O'Brien, a five-time X Games champ and 2013 FIS Snowboard World Championships slope gold medalist.

Ski slopestyle | Dec. 9-10

Can 14-year-old Estonian phenom Kelly Sildaru defend her ski slopestyle crown? If she's learned anything new since blowing away the women's field as a 13-year-old rookie last year, chances are good she'll top the podium again. The future Olympian returns to face U.S. veterans like Devin Logan, the 23-year-old East Coast native who already boasts an Olympic slopestyle medal.

The men's field, though, is where the real heavy lifting starts. There are veterans galore — Olympians Aaron Blunck, Gus Kenworthy, Henrik Harlaut and Jossi Wells — and a handful of newcomers like Fabian Bosch. The start list is loaded with past X Games big-air champions, which should make the jump finals early this morning (Dec. 9 from 9-10:30 a.m.) one hell of a show.

Of course, don't miss the ski and snowboard slope jib finals, held all day at Peak 8 on Dec. 10.

Adaptive banked slalom | Dec. 9

Here's a sport to keep your eye on. Not long ago, snowboard banked slalom was added to the Olympic and Paralympic roster, and that only means competition has turned tougher than ever before.

Now, adaptive snowboard banked slalom makes its debut at Dew Tour on a custom course at Peak 8. The course was designed by Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy, who owns and operates a nonprofit training outfit, Adaptive Action Sports, out of Copper Mountain with her husband.

Not sure what to expect? Think of a banked slalom course as a ski slalom course on steroids: rather than race on a flat surface, snowboarders race on a snake-like course with berms, rollers and other pump features. The g-forces are real and the speed is serious.

Expect to see plenty of Paralympic hopefuls and current World Cup pros in the start gate.

Ski and board streetstyle | Dec. 9

There's something insanely satisfying about the Dew Tour streetstyle. For years and decades, snowboarders have looked at the handrails and ledges and drops in historic downtown Breckenridge and thought one thing: let's ride them.

This is their chance — kind of. From 6-8 p.m. tonight (Dec. 9), under the holiday lights in the heart of Main Street, six boarders and six skiers get to jib on a custom rail setup built just for them. It's not exactly like grinding the real thing, but the vibe is just the same. Plus, no destruction of property tickets.

For snowboarders, keep an eye on three-time champ Darcy Sharpe and a slew of names only known to hardcore fans, including guys like Burton's Zak Hale. For skiers, defending champ Sean Jordan looks to claim the title for a second year.

Team Challenge | Dec. 11

TEN's biggest contribution to Dew Tour is the brand-new Team Challenge, a spin on the now-defunct Transworld Team Challenge. What was once a magazine promotion is now a bona fide competition, with six snowboard teams and six ski teams. All are built around particular brands to showcase that brand's style of riding. Each team has three riders: one jibber, one jumper and one team captain. The team with the best combined score after competition on Dec. 11 takes home to inaugural title.

This contest will be the toughest to predict — and likely the most entertaining to watch. Brands like Burton, Ride, Atomic, K2 and Faction are bringing their best pros to Dew Tour, and most of them are guys who rarely compete for a crowd. They're used to filming on urban streets and backcountry booters, but they still put on a wild show.

2016 Dew Tour schedule

Friday, Dec. 9

9-10:15 a.m. — Men’s individual ski slopestyle jump finals, Peak 8

10:45-11:30 a.m. — Women’s individual ski slopestyle jump finals, Peak 8

12:45-2 p.m. — Men’s individual snowboard slopestyle jump finals, Peak 8

2:30-3:15 p.m. — Women’s individual snowboard slopestyle jump finals, Peak 8

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Men’s and women’s adaptive banked slalom finals, Springmeier

6-6:45 p.m. — Snowboard streetstyle comp, Main Street Breckenridge

7-7:45 p.m. — Ski streetstyle comp, Main Street Breckenridge

8:30 p.m. — Transworld Snowboarding Riders’ Poll Awards, Riverwalk Center

Saturday, Dec. 10

9-9:45 a.m. — Women’s individual snowboard slopestyle jib finals, Peak 8

10:30-11:45 a.m. — Men’s individual snowboard slopestyle jib finals, Peak 8

12:30-1:15 p.m. — Women’s individual ski slopestyle jib finals, Peak 8

2-3:15 p.m. — Men’s individual ski slopestyle jib finals, Peak 8

5 p.m. — Ski and snowboard film screenings, Blue Stag Saloon

6 p.m. — Concert with Joey BadA$$, A-Trak, D.R.A.M., Riverwalk Center

Sunday, Dec. 11

9:30-10 a.m. — Men’s snowboard Team Challenge jump finals, Peak 8

10:30-11 a.m. — Men’s ski Team Challenge jump finals, Peak 8

11:45 a.m. to 12:15 — Men’s snowboard Team Challenge jib finals, Peak 8

1-1:30 p.m. — Men’s ski Team Challenge jib finals, Peak 8