With just one event left in the inaugural season of the Winter Dew Tour, the points race and the entire season come down to the Toyota Championship at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, held Feb. 19-22 in Truckee, Calif. The world’s best winter athletes are in a tight chase for the Winter Dew Cups and a share of the $1.5 million prize purse offered at the end of the three-stop series.
With a solid podium finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe, Olympic gold medalist Shaun White could win a Dew Cup in both the snowboard superpipe and slopestyle disciplines and in the process become the first athlete to win Dew Cups on both the summer and winter Tours. White won a Dew Cup in skateboard vert during the ’07 Dew Tour.
With a first and second-place finish this season in the superpipe, White leads the race in that discipline with 190 points. The Carlsbad, Calif., native can clinch the Dew Cup with a first or second-place finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe, but he has to look out for Danny Davis, who holds the second-place slot in the Tour standings. Davis, who won superpipe in Breckenridge, Colo., can win the Cup if White places third or worse and if Davis earns his second victory of the season.
While White is favored in slopestyle, he still has to finish strong. With 190 points, White can clinch the slopestyle Cup with a podium finish at the final stop. But, his closest rival in the point race, Mikkel Bang, can steal the Cup away via tiebreaker if White finishes fourth and Bang places first.
The race for the Cup in women’s snowboarding is just as tight, with superpipe and slopestyle still up for grabs. Olympic gold medalists Kelly Clark (’02) and Hannah Teter (’06) are in a tooth-and-nail fight in superpipe, with Clark holding the top spot, thanks to a victory and a second-place finish, with 190 points. Teter isn’t far behind with 165 points, but if Clark finishes on the podium, she is the Dew Cup champion. However, if Clark ends up in fourth place in the final superpipe competition of the season and Teter wins, the year-end title belongs to Teter because of the tiebreak.
Women’s snowboard slopestyle is even closer with just 25 points separating Spencer O’Brien (190 points), Jamie Anderson (175 points) and Jenny Jones (165 points). O’Brien clinches the Dew Cup with a first or second-place finish, but Anderson can win it all if she captures the top spot in Lake Tahoe and O’Brien falls to third. Jones isn’t out of the picture and can win the Cup if she takes first, Anderson finishes second and O’Brien ends up fourth. The three competitors would have the same amount of points, but Jones would win the Cup due to a tiebreaker.
The tightest races this season are in the freeski disciplines, where just about anything can happen. In superpipe, Tanner Hall is tied for the lead with Justin Dorey at 180 points, but Simon Dumont controls his own destiny and trails by only ten. It’s do-or-die in Tahoe, and any one of these stars can earn the Cup with a victory.
A similar scenario is taking shape in freeski slopestyle, where any of the top three competitors can walk away with it all. JF Houle and Per-Kristian Hunder are tied with 165 points and hold a narrow lead over Bobby Brown (160 points). Houle is coming off a victory at the second event of the season in Vermont, but he shouldn’t get too comfortable. No single athlete has won more than one event all season in any discipline.
The third and final stop of the inaugural Winter Dew Tour season, Northstar-at-Tahoe, will be broadcast LIVE on NBC with additional broadcasts on USA Network.
NBC Saturday, Feb. 20th 2:30pm-4:00pm EST SKI Slope Men Finals
NBC Sunday, Feb. 21st 4:00pm-6:00pm EST SNB Pipe Women/ Men Finals
USA Network Friday, Feb. 19th Midnight-1:00am EST SNB Slope Women/ Men Finals
USA Network Saturday, Feb. 20th Midnight-1:00am EST SKI Pipe Men Finals
Similar to the Dew Tour’s summer competition structure, the Winter Dew Tour will be based on a cumulative points system as the top snow athletes battle it out for a piece of the $1.5 million prize purse and the chance to take home the Dew Cup at the conclusion of the season in February.
The complete 2008/09 Winter Dew Tour schedule is as follows:
Event Date Location
Stop 1 Dec. 18-21, 2008 Breckenridge, Colo.—Breckenridge Ski Resort
Stop 2 Jan. 8-11, 2009 West Dover, Vt.—Mount Snow Resort
Toyota Championship Feb. 19-22, 2009 Truckee, Calif.—Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort