Last week was a big one for women's park and pipe skiing. Alli Sports, the parent company of the Dew Tour, officially announced that they'll be hosting four times as many women's events.
Now, two of the three stops on the Dew Tour, Breckenridge’s Nike 6.0 Open and the Toyota Championships at Snowbasin, Utah, will include women’s competition in both halfpipe and slopestyle.
In the past, female athletes had felt slighted and undervalued by their exclusion from the event—last year, women were only included in one event at one resort: pipe at Snowbasin. Letters and petitions sent to Alli were largely ignored. “Without communications we were left to assume the worst,” says Jen Hudak, who placed second at the event last year and first the year before.
This year, all of the top-ranked girls drafted a letter to Alli sports explaining what they wanted and why. Then, Hudak sat down with Chris Prybylo, the event director, to figure out the best way to include women’s competitions. “It’s nice to hear it straight from the horses mouth that they want to help,” she says.
The prize in the women’s events will be smaller than in the men’s but Hudak says some incentive is better than none. And, in a push to bring women’s skiing in to the mainstream, the women’s events will be more thoroughly included in the media coverage, which Hudak says is huge in promoting the sport.
There are 25 slots for competitors in each event, and the women’s events, unlike the men’s, which are invitational, are fully open. Hudak says that’s a good thing. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to compete more and against other people,” she says. “It opens the doors for new girls to be involved and work their way up.”
Hudak says that her goals for the sport and Prybylo’s are similar. He wants to make the women’s tour as lucrative as the men’s, and she wants to see her sport grow as much as possible.
“I’m excited for the prospect of sitting on an airplane, telling someone what I do and having them understand that I’m a skier and not a snowboarder,” she says.
This year's Dew Tour stops are:
Nike 6.0 Open Dec. 16-19 Breckenridge Ski Resort
Winter Dew Tour Killington Jan. 20-23 Killington Resort
Toyota Championships Feb. 10-13 Snowbasin, Utah