Mountain Dew Spring Open debuts with $20,000 cash purse for Park Lane jam on April 2
2016 Mtn Dew Spring Open
What: A laid-back jam contest held on the lower three jumps in Park Lane, with a $20,000 prize purse split between male and female skiers and snowboarders
When: Saturday, April 2 beginning at 10:15 a.m.
Where: Park Lane at Breckenridge
Registration is available at the event and limited to 35 males and 15 females per division. The contest is open to skiers and snowboarders, with a minimum age of 13 years old for all four divisions. The $20,000 prize purse is split between finishers: $3,000 for first, $1,500 for second and $500 for third. An awards ceremony begins at 3 p.m. at the base of Peak 8, followed by an after-party until 5 p.m. at T-Bar in One Ski Hill Place. For more info or to register, see the Spring Fever tab at www.breckenridge.com.
Breck is bringing back the Park Lane jump jam.
This Saturday, in an ode to long-gone contests like the Spring Massive, the Breckenridge park crew plays host to the inaugural Mountain Dew Spring Open — a laid-back, low-key public freestyle event with a prize purse that’s anything but.
So what’s on the line this weekend? A cool $20,000 split evenly between male and female skiers and snowboarders with the best and biggest and gnarliest runs through the lower Park Lane triple line.
“The weather looks good, the course looks good and we’re looking for people to just throw down all day,” said Greg Davidson, the Breckenridge terrain park manager. And throw down they will, with a mix of local pros, amateurs and relative unknowns all vying for the fat cash purse.
The event gets started around 9 a.m. on Saturday with an open-practice session for all competitors. Registration is available online or on-site before the event, but it’s limited to 35 male and 15 female skiers and snowboarders, with a minimum age of 13 years old for all four divisions. (In other words don’t wait until the last minute — the men’s ski division is already full.) At just $30, Davidson hopes the Open will draw a full field of competitors who either can’t afford or simply don’t enjoy serious events.
“What’s exciting about this to me is that this isn’t sanctioned,” he said. “It’s completely open-entry, and that makes it more accessible to the crowd here. You have your competitor crowd and your freerider crowd, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like those two crowds mix much.”
But an open format doesn’t mean the competition will be boring. After all, the lower three jumps are a few of the first to open and last to close in the U.S. every season, and, for nearly five months, locals have been perfecting 1080s, 1260s, corks and the occasional double, over and over. This is home for them, and Epic Pro team members like Asher Humphreys are expecting the best — as always.
“I’m mostly excited that we’ll be competing on home turf,” he said, a 20-year-old Breckenridge native and pro of six years who’s been hitting the Park Lane line since he was 8 years old. “It’s the jumps I ride every day, and I’m super comfortable on this mountain, so I think it will be a fun event for everyone.”
He isn’t the only pro registered for the Open. He’ll be joined by a who’s who of local rippers: ski slopestyle Olympian Keri Herman; recent World Cup slopestyle champ Silvia Mittermuller; Dew Tour snowboarders Benji Farrow, Brett Esser and Eric Willett; and veteran freeskiers Cody Cirillo and Mark Nowakiwsky.
For Nowakiwsky, a 22-year-old Breck local who’s been out of the slopestyle circuit all season following an ACL injury, there’s nowhere he’d rather return to competition than his home hill.
“I think this is awesome. The thing I’m most excited for is that Breck is my favorite terrain park, hands down. It’s why I still live here and make Breck my hoe mountain. I’m always excited for contested here because you know the jumps will be good.”
Even though the field is stacked with pros, Humphreys, Nowakiwsky and the rest know that doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed a payday at the 3 p.m. awards ceremony. The park is always packed with high-level skiers and riders, Nowakiwsky said, and the lower three-pack is still considered a medium line. That means triples and quads are off the table, and so style and effortless perfection will likely be the deciding factors for a panel of pro-level judges.
“It will be cool to see what people will do on a little bit smaller course,” he said, expecting to throw a combination of cork 720s and switch 900s oozing with style. “It really levels out the playing field, I think. You have to perform your tricks well. There won’t be one person with one crazy trick.”
On the snowboard side, Humphreys agrees. He’ll try to outdo his hero and fellow Epic Pro teammate, Olympian Willett, with a combination of 900s and 1080s, all paired with a combination of nose grabs and chicken salad grabs. They’re much simpler tricks than the switch and cab 1260s he’s been perfecting this season — that’s the standard for a top-tier men’s slopestyle rider these days — but he hopes it only makes the competition that much fiercer.
“To be honest I think it will come down to style,” Humphreys said. “I work on being as calm as possible in the air, making it look as perfect as possible and that might set me apart.”
The freeriding mentality — style and soul instead of a dizzying huckfest — is the Open’s biggest claim to fame. Well, that and $20,000, but Humphreys still hopes to see more events like this come to Breck in the future.
“You get so caught up with being serious at big events, and this is a way to come out and find the fun again,” he said. “They’re bringing that back: a way to relax and enjoy the contest.”
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