If it seems like defending 2020 Dew Tour Slopestyle gold medalist Red Gerard, three-time Dew Tour halfpipe gold medalist Danny Davis, and 2018 Dew Tour Slopestyle silver medalist Julia Marino are perfectly at home at Copper Mountain this week, it’s partly because the resort has played a pivotal role in all three riders’ careers since they were young amateur competitors.

Gerard spent much of his childhood living just down the road, in Silverthorne, CO, and has become such a fixture over the years that the base area terrain park at Copper – free to anyone who wants to hike it – is branded as Red’s Backyard.

Woodward Copper and Snowpark Technologies always builds the sickest parks,” Gerard says, noting that the resort has terrain park riding nearly year-round, with everything from hike parks and beginner zones to Dew Tour-worthy pro setups. “Copper’s jumps have been super on point the past couple years, and I’m always excited to see what they throw together.”

mountain dew snowboarders
Photo Credit: Clavin
Red Gerard.

After a year off from Dew Tour last season, Gerard says the thing he’s most excited about is having fans return to the venue when competition begins at Copper Mountain on Wednesday, with his Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Qualifier kicking off the party at 9:15 a.m.

“Dew Tour does live events really well, and they always make it, so there’s always something to watch for the spectator,” Gerard says. “That’s important! At a lot of the snowboard events, there just aren’t great places to watch it as a spectator, but Dew Tour always crushes it with that and makes it easy for fans to come and have a good time.”

Gerard is not just the defending Dew Tour gold medalist: he’s also the defending Olympic gold medalist. But he says he doesn’t feel a target on his back and isn’t letting Olympic pressure affect him.

“I’m just excited,” Gerard says. “I don’t really care about pressure or anything like that, because that stuff just chips away at the fun. I just want to go out there and snowboard and try to land a run. Let’s have some fun, maybe learn some new tricks, do some runs that we haven’t put together before, but I’m trying not to let the Olympics change me at all.”

mountain dew snowboarders interview
Photo Credit: Clavin
Julia Marino.

Julia Marino, the 2018 Dew Tour Women’s Slopestyle silver medalist, missed out on the action at Dew Tour in 2020 after fracturing her left wrist at X Games a few weeks earlier, but was on-site and managed to get some powder laps in while she was at it.

Now, she says, she’s thrilled to be back and in good health and is eager to try the Cab double cork 1080 she’s been working on bringing to competition.

“I had done it before, but not like the way I did in Saas-Fee this fall,” Marino says. “I changed it up a bit and was hyped to put that one down. Double cork 1080s and 1260s are where it’s at for female snowboarding right now, and I’m also really excited to have learned a bunch of new rail tricks in the off-season: you always want to balance the jumps with something really cool in the rails, so I’ve been trying to think of a couple of new things to do.”

Danny Davis, a Dew Tour competitor since the first winter event was held in 2008 and a 3-time Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe gold medalist – started a partnership with Copper Mountain 2019 to bring Peace Park branded terrain parks to the mountain. This year’s Peace Park at Copper is scheduled to open in January 2022, inspired by the wildly creative riding at the long-running Peace Park contest series founded by Davis and his crew.

Davis says he didn’t mind the pause the pandemic put on his contest riding, but is grateful to be back at Dew Tour, as both a rider and a fan.

mountain dew snowboarders interview
Photo Credit: Yoshida

“Last year, I didn’t do a single contest, really, and that was kind of a trip for me just taking a full year off,” Davis says. “I haven’t done that since I was like 13 years old. I got to spend time in the backcountry it was just a trip to take a whole winter and just ride near home and actually be a Tahoe local for a second. But it’s fun to be back in the mix: an Olympic year always brings a bunch of new progression, so I’m really anxious to see if everyone can put together runs with these new triple cork 14s. I’m in the contest, but I’m also a fan: it’s fun to be here firsthand and get to see what goes down.”

Davis says he’s especially interested in seeing what his longtime former Burton teammate and halfpipe rival Shaun White will bring to the contest.

Yuto Totsuka has been on one, and these Japanese riders are going to be hard to catch, but I watched Shaun take such a slam the other day and just get right up, and I was like, ‘This guy is incredible.’ He’s still crushing it and has the fervor to just go for it. It’s pretty sick. He has his work cut out for him, but you can never cut Shaun out.”

Danny Davis.

Though the Dew Tour is doubling as a qualifying event for the U.S. Snowboard Team on the road to the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Davis – who represented USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics – says he isn’t even trying to make the Olympic team this time around. He says that participating in the film “Dear Rider,” a documentary about Burton Snowboards founder Jake Burton Carpenter, reminded him of a funny moment with Carpenter.

“I was hanging with Jake in Sochi, and he looked around at the whole media circus around us and said, “Just a couple more weeks, and we’ll have our sport back.”

Jokes aside, Davis says he’s eager to see who makes the team and how things go down in Beijing.

“We enjoy and we take it for what it’s worth,” Davis says. “It was fun seeing Red get on all the late night talk shows when he won gold four years ago, or Sage Kotsenburg four years before that, so it’s fun to have snowboarding in the limelight for a minute. Jake always wanted to get more people snowboarding, make it more accessible for people to snowboard, and to grow snowboarding so that everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy it. And so the more we can kind of show how rad it is, show what kind of good characters are involved in snowboarding, the more the world gets a taste of it. So it’s pretty cool. But then we get our sport back right after it, and I’m always looking forward to that, too.”

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