Winter Dew Tour set to launch at Northstar | SierraSun.com
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Winter Dew Tour set to launch at Northstar

Sylas Wright Sierra Sun
Courtesy of NinjaAndreas Wiig soars over a large step-down table, his favorite slopestyle feature. Wiig is ranked fourth behind Shaun White, Mikkel Bang and Torstein Horgmo in the Winter Dew Tour mens slopestyle standings entering the third and final stop at Northstar this next week. The event starts Thursday and ends Sunday, Feb. 22.
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Shaun White confirmed he is competing. So did Steve Fisher, Andreas Wiig, Kelly Clark, Tanner Hall, Simon Dumont and more. Many, many more.Network cameras will be rolling, competitive juices flowing, uncanny ability on display.These all-stars of skiing and snowboarding have much to gain, given a $1.5 million total prize purse dangling for the taking, and professional pride on the line. Its all just around the corner, as the third and final stop of the Winter Dew Tour the Toyota Championship takes flight in Northstar-at-Tahoes superpipe and terrain park from Thursday through Sunday. If the above tidbits dont provide enough of a clue, its kind of a big deal.The top slopestyle and halfpipe athletes will be there. Its kinda like X Games coming to your home town, Squaw Valley skier Michelle Parker said Thursday in an e-mail interview. There is a lot of progression that goes on in these competitions as well. Its the final stop of the Dew Tour, so people arent just trying to win the contest, but the overall title. Theres a lot of cash on the line. Things are going to get exciting! Be there!!!Parker, who spends more of her time filming in backcountry wonderlands than competing these days, will perform in Saturday nights womens ski slopestyle event. Shes fresh off a first-place finish in the Aspen Open the biggest open slopestyle event in North America and is looking forward to putting on a show for the Tahoe crowd.Im really excited to have my friends and family there, said Parker, a 2005 North Tahoe High grad. It will be fun to be in a familiar surrounding and be able to have home-cooked meals every night, as opposed to staying in a hotel with a bunch of stinky boys around.Snowboarder Andreas Wiig, a native of Norway who now lives in Southern California, is set to compete against the best riders in the business in the mens slopestyle.Through the first two Winter Dew Tour stops at Breckenridge, Colo., from Dec. 18-21 and Mount Snow, Vt., from Jan. 8-11 Wiig ranks fourth in the standings behind Shaun White, Mikkel Bang and Torstein Horgmo.The first two Dew Tours were really good, Wiig said by phone Wednesday from Hollywood, where he was staying with musician girlfriend Marion Raven. The courses were amazing, so I know theres going to be some good riding there (at Northstar) pretty much the best there is as far as park riding. Well put on a good show.Its a safe assumption, as Wiig a Team Toyota athlete will also do battle with prequalified slopestyle riders Mason Aguirre, Scotty Lago and diverse park shredder Chas Guldemond of Truckee, to name just a few more. Local riders Silas Stannard and Brandon Cocard prequalified to compete as well.Guldemond is among nearly two dozen riders on the snowboard superpipe roster that includes Andy Finch of Truckee, as well as White, Fisher, Lago, Danny Kass, Louie Vito, Elijah Teter and others.White leads the superpipe standings, while Truckees Danny Davis ranks second, Lago third and Fisher fourth. Any rider can win on any given day, proven by Davis first-place finish over White in Breckenridge, and Whites win over Fisher and Kevin Pearce at Mount Snow. Davis is not scheduled to compete at Northstar.Asked in a telephone interview Monday if the competition among such an elite field gets heated behind the cameras, Fisher said the athletes generally get along, although a little banter is fair game.For the most part its all friendly competition, he said. At least, I dont know about any heavy trash talk if there is any. I think its more just sarcastic (trash)-giving.A native of Minnesota who now lives in Breckenridge, Fisher said he enjoys any opportunity to compete in California. Most recently, he took first place in a U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix event at Boreal last month.I like it a lot, Fisher said of the Tahoe area. Its always sunny and always warm, so you cant complain about that.Finch also enjoys competing at Tahoe resorts, especially at his home mountain.Anytime theres something around here I enjoy heck out of that, Finch said on Tuesday. I just always enjoy pushing it here. Its so awesome at Northstar, with the local crowd. It definitely brings out the best in me.Elena Hight, a Team Toyota athlete and Northstar-sponsored rider, also hopes to feed off the local crowd en route to a quality finish. She ranks fourth in the womens superpipe standings behind Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter and Kjersti stgaard Buaas.It would be amazing to be able to do well at Northstar, especially because its my hometown and Ill have all my friends and family there, Hight said. Hopefully I place well, but Im just going to have fun.

Those who wish to attend must purchase a lift ticket or gondola ticket if not skiing or riding. Gondola tickets are $15 and can be purchased at any open ticket window. Goldola rides are free Saturday between 4-7:30 p.m. for the mens ski superpipe event. There will also be a jumbo-tron in the Village on the overlook above the skating rink. The superpipe venue is just above the mid-mountain, and the slopestyle venue is on the Lower Pioneer trail, also just above the mid-mountain.

SS: What are your plans for the rest of the season after the Dew Tour? Parker: After the Dew Tour Ill be heading to North Cascade Heli with the Nimbus Independent film crew and Dakine team. Ill be there for a week and then its back to Retallack for some more cat skiing time. There are a couple of trips in the works for after that trip … they will all be with MSP and depend on the snow conditions. SS: Without getting into in-depth medical terminology, what exactly has been the issues with your knee(s)? Parker: I blew my ACL in May of 07. It was during a competition in Switzerland. Thats 100 percent recovered now and feeling great. No more issues!!!SS: Any competitor who you feel is the main one to beat in the womens slopestyle next week? Parker: Kaya Turski has been winning quite a few slopestyle competitions this year. Shes got a lot of talent and is a good competitor. Shell be the one to beat for sure. An awesome girl and a good friend though!! SS: What is your idea of an ideal slopestyle run?Parker: I like to have variety. Mix it up with some rails, some boxes, maybe a cannon box like at X Games, and three to four jumps. Stuff that allows the competitors to through down solid runs and not be held back by the course. Sometimes that happens depending on the course design.SS: Do you have a plan of attack yet, or will you figure that out once you check out the course? Parker: That will be depending on the course set-up. Ill be able to get a game plan when I know whats up with the course. Pretty excited about it though. I guess my plan of attack right now is to enjoy competing in my home town!!SS: Any slick new tricks youve been working on, and will you try them in competition next week? Parker: Been working on a lot of different things. I think Ill be putting a new run together. Maybe throw a 9, 7, backwards 5 … who knows. I usually just pull something off in my run that kinda surprises me. Its usually pretty fun for me to be spontaneous.SS: Which do you prefer, competing or filming, and why? Parker: I prefer filming for sure. What I love about skiing is being in the backcountry and exploring new places with friends. Thats what I get to do when I film. Competing is fun, but its pretty standard and I kinda get bored after a while in the park. Id rather be out in the mountains doing my own thing with less people around. Its more spontaneous and exciting. I feel like I learn more about myself and my friends while spending time with them on film trips.

SS: Who do you consider the girls to beat in superpipe?Hight: As far as the girls competition in the Dew Tour, I think Gretchen (Bleiler), Hannah (Teter) and Kelly (Clark) are always right there also Ellery Hollingsworth and Torah Bright, but Im not sure Torah is competing.SS: What are your thoughts on competing locally in an event as big as the Dew Tour? Hight: It really is cool to be able to compete at home. It makes it that much more special to do well when you have friends and family there watching. And there arent many (major competitions) out here.SS: Do you compete in other disciplines besides halfpipe? Hight: Not right now. I ride a lot of slopestyle, but not in competition. I just do slopestyle as a fun thing for myself.SS: What is the ideal pipe for you? Hight: It really depends on the pipe. Aspens 22-footer was amazing (at the X Games). But either 18 or 22 is fine. And Id say just soft and slushy is my ideal situation. I grew up riding in Tahoe, so Im not used to icy, glistening pipes like the East Coast has.SS: Any new tricks? Hight: Nothing really new. Im working on the same tricks Ive been doing, Im just trying to do them bigger and better. Northstars pipe is amazing, so Im looking forward to getting in there and having fun with it.

SS: How often do you get out to ride in the Sierra?Fisher: Typically once, maybe twice a year. Its an area I dont frequent as much as like.SS: It seems like the pipes in Colorado and on the East Coast are usually pretty hard and icy, whereas the pipes out here tend to be softer. Which do you prefer in competition?Fisher: I like it all. It really depends on if (the pipe) has a good shape or not. There are always pluses and minuses of both. If its soft, you have the risk of it getting destroyed quick, but icy pipes hurt more. But I like them both. I dont discriminate.SS: Knowing that it hurts more, does an icy pipe affect how big you go and what youre willing to try?Fisher: Well, I grew up in Minnesota, and Ive been living in Breckenridge for about six years, so I think Im in the clear when it comes to the icy stuff. Im able to block that out.SS: So with such a busy schedule competing, do you get many opportunities to chase the powder and get some riding time for yourself?Fisher: Yeah, definitely as much as I possibly can in a year. But with the contest circuit fluctuating from year to year, some years I get more chances than others. This year and probably next year, with the Olympics coming up, I probably wont get to ride as much as Id prefer.SS: Are you one of those guys who needs music in your ears when youre competing?Fisher: Nope, never do. I like to know whats going on around me. I cant tune out like that. It doesnt work for me.SS: Growing up, did you have a favorite snowboarder?Fisher: Yeah, Daniel Franck. Hes definitely the guy I looked up to most.SS: How about now, do you have a favorite snowboarder?Fisher: No, I dont really discriminate. I think everyone does their thing and does it extremely well.

SS: What have you been up to this season?Wiig: Ive been doing a lot of contests. Its been a rough season for me because Ive been hurt between contests and kind of forcing it for contests. … But every year its something. If dont get hurt, youre not pushing it hard enough.SS: What is your idea of an ideal slopestyle run? Wiig: In my ideal run Im looking for jumps. My favorite jumps are tabletop step-downs. But as long as it has big jumps, its perfect for me.SS: Did you have a favorite rider growing up?Wiig: Terje (Haakonsen) and Daniel Franck. And Jussi Oksanen. He kind of took over.SS: How about now?Wiig: Now I have a lot more favorite snowboarders. There are so many now. But I still really like Jussi.

ANTICS is proud to be hosting a very exclusive Winter Dew Tour Happy Hour this February in Tahoe. On Saturday, February 21, the best and brightest will be gathering for the coolest party in all the land, featuring DJ sets from Qbert and Shaun Slaughter. All this, and there will be a custom photo booth, and t-shirt silk screening on site, so make sure you sign up! On site parking will be provided.


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