By Jason Blevens
The Denver Post
Breckenridge is getting a second round of Olympic qualifier freeskiing and snowboarding.
The third stop of the Olympic qualifying season for slopestyle and halfpipe skiers and snowboarders — from Jan. 8-12 — is moving from California’s Northstar ski area to Breckenridge, which hosted the first stop of the season with its Dew Tour.
“We were looking forward to competing at Northstar but unfortunately Mother Nature isn’t cooperating at the moment,” said Mike Jankowski, coach of the U.S. Olympic snowboarding and freeskiing teams. “So going back to Breckenridge is really the next best thing. Their pipe and park are world class and we love competing in Breck. So it will all work out.”
Northstar ski area has a base of 18 inches, with only 213 acres of its 3,170 acres open. Breckenridge has a 32-inch base, with 1,432 acres of its 2,358 acres open. Colorado had a strong early start to the season and cold temperatures in November enabled speedy park and pipe construction. Bringing the Jan. 6-12 Grand Prix event back to Breckenridge gives Colorado its third Olympic qualifying week with the world’s top snowboarders and freeskiers competing in both slopestyle and halfpipe.
The International Ski Federation, or FIS, said in a statement that the move was based on Breckenridge’s contest-ready venue and warm weather at Northstar.
“Despite good quality snow conditions at Northstar, the region was not getting sufficiently cold temperatures for snowmaking teams to ensure the huge production of snow required for building a competition halfpipe and slopestyle venue,” read the statement.