A visualisation of the proposed 'Modified Pipe' and jump line. Photo: Dew Tour

While the contest circuit remains a bit of a shambles overall, the Dew Tour is now firmly established as the premiere kick-off event for the world's best halfpipe and slopestyle riders. This year it's back in Breckenridge from 8th-11th December 2016.

Although the venue may be the same as last year, the events sure aren't. This year's Dew Tour is like none that have come before, with several major changes to the competition formats. Here's how it's going to go down in Colorado:

Modified Pipe

The halfpipe contest is now ‘Modified Pipe’. Clearly taking inspiration from Danny Davis’ Peace Park (also backed by Mountain Dew), the stunt-ditch will have hips and jumps at either end that allow riders to add a bit more of their own flavour to their runs. We’re predicting bucketloads of flair, and a headache for the judges... There’s no word yet on the riders, but Shaun White will need more than his stock run if he wants to defend his title.

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Slopestyle

Slopestyle has had an even bigger overhaul; instead of a mixed course, the jump and rail sections will be treated as two different events. Since the word first appeared, the whole point of slopestyle has previously been to see who can combine the best of both in one smooth and varied run. Splitting the two disciplines therefore seems a bit odd. Having said that, there’s a whiff of staleness to the three-rails-followed-by-three-jumps format, and here’s one way to shake it up.

"Will other top-tier events like the Burton US Open and X Games follow suit, giving us a truly varied tour?"

It’ll be especially interesting in the women’s event, where typically the rail tricks have been far safer than what gets thrown down on the kickers. We’re expecting to see way more spinning on and off the features, and perhaps some fresh names appearing on the podium.

Team Event

If that weren’t enough, six snowboard brands will be putting three of their riders forward into the team event (one each for pipe, rails and jumps). Again, we’ll have to wait and see which companies take part, but you can expect to see some top rail rats who otherwise wouldn’t have any business at a slopestyle comp.

Regardless of how things turn out, we’re pleased to see an event breaking convention in this way. Will other top-tier events like the Burton US Open and X Games follow suit, giving us a truly varied tour?

Head to the Dew Tour site for more details.