Pro skier Alex Ferreira favors move to Copper Mountain as ‘more sustainable’
When it became apparent last season that the Dew Tour was not returning to Breckenridge in 2019, an air of nervousness beset the many competitors and fans who had invested energy in the event over the last decade.
A competition that takes place outside of the auspices of the International Ski Federation, the Dew Tour attracts the world’s top freeskiers and snowboarders to Summit County every year to showcase the two pillars of their sports — halfpipe and slopestyle competition. During Olympic years, it doubles as a team qualifier here in the U.S.
With a strong brand identity in the sport and name recognition that extends to a more mainstream audience, the event needed to find a new home, and fast, supporters said.
Alex Ferreira won the Dew Tour’s ski halfpipe competition in 2017 and groundbreaking modified halfpipe competition in 2018. Ferreira said while organizers assured competitors the event would find a new home, he was nervous, for a minute, that he might not get a chance to three-peat.
“I knew it was all up in the air, and I knew it was definitely not going to be in Breckenridge again,” he said. “I’m extremely happy that it didn’t just evaporate.”
On Monday, news broke that the Winter Dew Tour will return to Summit County for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons with Copper Mountain as the host venue.
In hearing that Copper will host the event in February, Ferreira said it was a logical choice, as Copper also hosts the Grand Prix, the first contest of the winter season, which takes place in early December, and the USASA national championships, the last contest of the winter season, which takes place in April.
‘The pipe is already made’
A competition-sized halfpipe often takes more than 10 million gallons of water to create through snowmaking. Two seasons ago, here in Colorado, there were competition halfpipes at Breckenridge, Copper, Vail, Snowmass and Buttermilk resorts.
It’s no wonder why Ferreira, of Aspen, is one of six halfpipe skiers who grew up in Colorado and competed at the Dew Tour last season. This season, Ferreira skipped the first World Cup contest on the calendar — which took place on Friday in New Zealand — but even without him there, Colorado halfpipe skiers took five of the top eight spots. That included Breckenridge born-and-raised local Jaxin Hoerter, a U.S. Freeski Rookie Team member who earned seventh place with a score of 83.60.
Ferreira credits not having to travel far as a younger competitor with much of his development in the sport — he trained with former Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach Elana Chase for a lot of his career — and says having 22-foot halfpipes nearby made a significant difference in his progression.
But five competition halfpipes within a 100-mile radius may have been overdoing it a bit in 2017-18, Ferreira concedes. With one less pipe in Colorado this season, hopefully the environment will benefit, he said.
“From a sustainability point of view, it’s definitely much better to have (the Dew Tour) at Copper,” Ferreira said. “The pipe is already made and open before for (December’s) Copper Grand Prix, and then after the contest it’s a great training facility,” Ferreira said. “And then also they have USASA nationals at the end … so it gets a ton of use.”
The Dew Tour will take place over a four-day period, from Thursday, Feb. 6 to Sunday, Feb. 9. In addition to halfpipe and slopestyle competitions, the Dew Tour will also include its signature Team Challenge, along with para snowboard competitions and “a calendar of fan-based activities,” according to organizers.
This story is from VailDaily.com
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