Breckenridge Ski Resort is getting a good return on investment from its Breck Freeride Team and its stepped-up park & pipe programs: Yesterday, Breckenridge snowboarders Eric Willett and Janna Meyen-Weatherby won the Men's and Women's Snowboard Slopestyle contests (respectively) at Snowbasin in Ogden, Utah, the final stop of the Winter Dew Tour. Breck skier Bobby Brown picked up enough points yesterday to win the Dew Cup for his overall Ski Slopestyle performance on the three-stop tour. And five of the twelve competitors in Finals for the Men's Snowboard Superpipe competition on Saturday were from Breckenridge, including third place finisher Steve Fisher, who landed his first-ever double cork 1080 in his second run.
I was in Utah covering the Toyota Championships for another website, but couldn't help cheering for all the familiar faces from Colorado.
"Every time I get a chance to go back home, I'm out on the mountain," says Willett, born and raised in Breckenridge. He's off to Norway now to compete in the Arctic Challenge, and says he's bummed to be missing so many powder days on his home mountain this season. "They've got perfect jumps and perfect snow, and that's where I learn all my tricks so I can come out and put them down in these competitions."
Meyen-Weatherby, 34, is one of the elders of women's snowboarding, but that didn't stop her from defeating 2010 and 2011 Dew Cup champ Jamie Anderson in yesterday's competition. "My favorite part about the Winter Dew Tour? It starts in Breckenridge. I can't wait to get home," she says. It turns out it's hard to focus on competing elsewhere when your home mountain has gotten more than 330 inches of snow so far this season, and powder days as deep as 26 inches.
"I'm stoked to get these contests out of the way so I can go home, go skiing and get some powder," says Brown, echoing the sentiment. "I love the Dew Tour and I'm stoked I won the Dew Cup, but there's no place like home."
Breck Freeride team members in the Men's Snowboard Superpipe competition included Zack Black (11th in Finals), Brett Esser (10th), JJ Thomas (6th) and Fisher, whose quest to land a double cork 1080 began more than a year ago (see Westword's January 2010 cover story) and ended on Saturday, propelling him to the podium. "This year we have a perfect pipe at Breckenridge, probably the best 22-foot superpipe in the world," Fisher says. "I've been working on the double cork in secret back home and couldn't be happier about landing it here in Finals."
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Other Breck Freeride team members competing in Finals at Snowbasin this weekend included Anna Segal (a Breck transplant from Melbourne, Australia who landed on the Women's Ski Slopestyle podium in 3rd), Keri Herman (6th place, Women's Ski Slopestyle) and Duncan Adams (9th place, Men's Ski Superpipe).
And other Colorado athletes competing this weekend included snowboarders Jordie Karlinski (Snowmass Village, 4th place in Women's Snowboard Slopestyle), Cody Boan (Breckenridge, 8th place in Men's Snowboard Slopestyle) and Matt Ladley (Steamboat Springs, 9th place in Men's Snowboard Superpipe). And, last but not least, 16 year-old superpipe skier Alex Ferreira (Aspen) and superpipe snowboarder Natalie Geer (Steamboat Springs) won the Gatorade Free Flow Tour, the Dew Tour's amateur series, earning spots to compete against the pros in next year's Winter Dew Tour.
What are the rest of y'all waiting for?