Updated: December 20, 2010, 12:16 AM ET

Winter Dew Tour preview

What to expect at this week's first stop of the Winter Dew Tour.

Symms By John Symms
ESPN Action Sports
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Alli SportsWe're so excited for this weekend's first stop of the Winter Dew Tour, we created a collage.

You feel that? It's Winter Dew Tour time again. And the opening stop of the season takes place this week at Breckenridge, Colorado. Here's what you can expect to see.

Superpipe
The superpipe course is a brand new 22-foot pipe this year. Men's and women's superpipe finals take place Saturday. Here's who to watch out for.

Justin Dorey and Mike Riddle were unstoppable in last weekend's US Halfpipe Grand Prix. The Canadian teammates finished one and two, respectively, in the opening pipe contest of the season. To have them do it again at this week's Winter Dew Tour opener at Breckenridge wouldn't be a surprise. They just have more tricks at their disposal (Dorey's repertoire, which includes a double cork 12, double 9s on both walls, and a switch double 12, spurs a lot of talk among his competitors).

Alli SportsWatch out for the Canadians. Pictured: Justin Dorey.
There's another national one-two threat to remember at the Winter Dew Tour kickoff. Frenchmen Xavier Bertoni and Kevin Rolland opted out of the Grand Prix, but they'll likely be back into the mix this week. With a couple Winter X gold medals between them, Berto and K-Roll are evidence that France is the future of halfpipe. Or is Canada?

It's neither. That is, it's not specifically either one of those countries. Rather, it's the common features that they share: coaching, structure, regimented training and a strict focus on halfpipe skiing throughout the year. To put it simply, halfpipe skiing is a team sport now. France and Canada have teams, so expect French and Canadian skiers on podiums — especially at this mid-December Winter Dew Tour stop, where the free agents are still shaking off the rust.

On the women's side of things, I'm predicting that Roz Groenewoud will win. Like her teammates Dorey and Riddle, Roz looked superiorly ready for the Grand Prix. And with a run that includes down-the-pipe fives on both walls, a switch five and a grabbed nine, she's doing a lot of things that her competitors still haven't found the time to try.

Alli SportsBuilding Breck's new 22-foot pipe.

Slopestyle

Breckenridge has a reputation for having the slopestyle course with the biggest and best jumps of the series. And this year they've added a fourth jump to the course. We talked to a few key competitors in this weekend's slopestyle event, the finals of which are taking place Sunday.

Are you ready? What have you been doing this fall?
Tom Wallisch: "Fall and school [at the University of Utah] was good. Definitely got to ride at PC a good bit. No big jumps but tons of features to have fun on. I feel pretty good going into the contest. Definitely stoked on having a few days to warm up on the course before finals though."
Gus Kenworthy: "I've been skiing as much as I can at Breckenridge and Keystone and really working on dialing in my tricks before Dew. I've been hitting up Woodward almost every day as well, just trying to stay fit and make sure that I'm on the top of my game when the contest rolls around."
Cody Ling: "I spent a lot of time at a local gymnastics place called Gleason's, training on the trampoline. I am really stoked about the comp but definitely a little nervous."

How do you like the course?
Matt Walker (On the DL until January): "When I first saw the course I thought it was going to favor rail riders because of the closeout and the down-flat-down stair set. But now I've seen some videos and skiers are doing 270 disasters to forward on the down-flat-down. So it's just like any other slope course."
Jacob Wester: "I'm definitely looking forward to those two last big jumps. They look super fun and I think we're going to see a whole lot of back-to-back action go down there. I know I'm going to do at least four flips off them. The closeout rail is the one I'm the most nervous about. I really don't know what to do on it yet."
Sammy Carlson: "The course is really nice this year. The flow is different than most courses. I like how there are rails set up between the jumps, instead of having the jumps all together. Stoked for the gap to rainbow rail!"
Tom Wallisch: "The course is pretty crazy — definitely really long and stressful. It's a cool course though with a lot of creative options. I think it's a pretty decent course for me. The more features in a course the better for me, I feel."
Bobby Brown: "The course is perfect. I am super stoked that there are four jumps. Breck usually sticks to three but they changed it up this year."

Alli SportsAll fingers point to Tom Wallisch.

Who are you watching out for?
Jacob Wester: "At the moment Russ Henshaw and Bobby Brown look like they will take top two, with the best back-to-back doubles I've ever seen. It's going to be wild!"
Bobby Brown: "The list could go forever, but the one guy who catches my eye is Wallisch — he's way too good."
Gus Kenworthy: "There are a ton of guys who are looking really good. Obviously guys like Bobby [Brown], [Tom] Wallisch, Andreas [Håtveit], Russ [Henshaw], Sammy [Carlson] and PK [Hunder] are going to be heavy hitters. Ian Cosco, McRae Williams, Alex Schlopy and guys like that also pose major threats."
Ian Cosco: "Top competitor in my mind right now has got to be Mr. Tom Wallisch. Always on point and everyone knows he will deliver."
AJ Kemppainen: "Bobby Brown is always hard to beat and he's been riding very well. I also like to watch Phil "B-Dog" Casabon because he has a such sick style: Very creative tricks and most of the time he still manages to reach the finals even without the standard dub flips."

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