Dumont’s Cup of good cheer

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It was only a few years ago that Simon Dumont started mulling over the idea of a big freeskiing event in Maine.

Now the Bethel native is looking to make the Dumont Cup bigger and better as it attempts to surpass the success of last year. Dumont will be hosting this year’s event at Sunday River. The action begins Friday with qualifiers and is completed Saturday.

“Sunday River and I always had a good relationship,” said Dumont, who set the world quarter-pipe record at Sunday River in 2008 when he aired 35.5 feet out of a 38-foot quarter-pipe. “I’ve been skiing here since I was three, and it pretty much sparked my career. We started to talk, and we ended up doing a quarter-pipe and everything came together well for that. I ended up breaking a World Record here. We figured why not keep coming back to Sunday River and make the best of that relationship.”

Dumont didn’t start skiing professionally until 2003 and won the Whistler Invitational Superhit and was fourth in the US Open.  Since then he has eight Winter X Games medals, a Guinness World Record and has become one of the biggest names in freeskiing.

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He used that success to back his hopes of creating one of the best East Coast events. The first Dumont Cup came to fruition last year.  Dumont was pleased with how that unfolded and is excited to try and top that this year.

“I think it went really well,” said Dumont, a graduate of Telstar Regional High School. “A lot of talent showed up. The course was really good. It was slushy, which you don’t really get often during winter events. Everything went perfect. You couldn’t ask for a better kick-off to the Dumont Cup.”

Dumont, along with a variety of other professional freeskiers, will compete and judge skiers on a slopestyle course located in Rocking Chair Terrain Park. Dumont designed the course himself. Other pro skiers participating include Tom Wallisch, TJ Schiller, Peter Olenick and Jossi Wells.

The event has $20,000 in cash and prizes for the top three finishers. Qualifiers will be held Friday in two sessions, from 10 to 4:30 p.m. That will determine the top 40 amateurs that will advance to Saturday. During the semifinals and finals, professional and amateur skiers will compete side-by-side. There will be a top three determined overall as well as a top amateur from the two-day event.

The competition is open to 150 skiers, which is double last year’s size. There is expected to be a deeper field and more racers from all over the world participating. The course should be improved as well.

“Now we’re going into the second year, and we’ve got some high standards since it was such a great first year,” said Dumont. “There’s more kids. The jumps will be a little bit bigger and a little bit better.”

Dumont was working on the course most of the day Thursday trying to prepare it for action. A practice run was held in the afternoon.

“We’ve got two extra rails,” said Dumont. “The jumps are a little bit bigger and a little bit smoother. Why mess with a good thing when it worked last year? So we’re sharpening it up and making sure everything we do is a little bit better and little bit more professional.”

With another success this year, Dumont says this event could build some longevity and evolve into a major stepping stone for the sport and its participants.

“A big event on the East Coast is something really necessary,” said Dumont. “There’s a lot of talent out there that goes unrecognized. With the Dumont Cup, we’ll be around to help a lot of kids spark their career and spark interest in freeskiing.”

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