Dec 14, 2012, 8:46 AM EDT
With the Sochi Games a mere 14 months away, some of the top Olympics snow sports athletes are in Breckenridge, Colo. for the Dew Tour this week to start preparing their runs for the world’s biggest stage. Here are four events you shouldn’t miss on Friday. (And don’t worry, you can catch them from your work desk here on NBCSports.com)
Women’s Snowboard Superpipe Semi-final (10:30 a.m.)
All three medalists from Vancouver are set to compete at Breckenridge, headlined by gold medalist Torah Bright. The 25-year-old Australian likely has one last shot at adding to her medal count in Sochi.
Vancouver silver medalist and Turin champ Hannah Teter leads a strong pack of American hopefuls, including Salt Lake City winner Kelley Clark and 2012 X Games silver medalist Elena Hight. Veteran Gretchen Bleiler – who came into Vancouver as a favorite and greatly disappointed – will also compete.
Spain’s Queralt Castellet and Cai Xuetong of China are among the best young up-and-comers in the field.
Women’s Freeski Superpipe Finals (12:30 p.m.)
22-year-old Brita Sigourney won superpipe gold at the 2011 Dew Tour stop in Ogden, and became the first woman to stick a 1080 at the 2012 X Games. The Carmel, California native was the top qualifier in the semis.
Lake Tahoe native Maddie Bowman finished 2nd in the final standings of the 2012 Dew Tour, including a win at the Killington event. Just 18, Bowman is the most talent teenager the U.S. has left in the event.
Roz Groenewoud – the reigning X Games Champ and owner of the top score in event history – headlines the Canadian contingent. Teammate Keltie Hansen also qualified for the finals.
Japan’s Ayana Onozuka is a darkhorse in the event. The 24-year old recently made the transition from alpine and finished 5th overall in her first season (2012) on the Dew Tour and 5th in the semis at Breckenridge.
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Finals (1 p.m)
American Jamie Anderson is the lone American in the field, but it’s quality over quantity. The Lake Tahoe native posted an event high 94.25 in her first run and is the clear-cut favorite heading into the finals.
Canada’s Spencer O’Brien and Germany’s Silvia Mittermueller are also top contenders.
Men’s Freeski Superpipe Finals (3:00 p.m.)
Canada’s Mike Riddle’s 87.75 was enough to propel the 26-year-old into first place. Despite a disappointing 4th place qualification, France’s Kevin Rolland remains the favorite to top the podium. Americans David Wise and Tanner Hall should also be in the mix.
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