It is where it all began for one of the world’s best snowboard cross riders.

Now Sugarloaf/USA will be hosting some of the premier riders from around the globe this weekend.

Farmington’s Seth Wescott groomed his Olympic Gold Medal-winning skills in the snow at the Carrabassett Valley resort. In hopes of developing competitors and interest in the sport, Wescott has created the Champion’s Cross Sugarloaf Open. It takes place this weekend at Sugarloaf with time trials Friday afternoon and the competition Saturday.

“Our goal is to create the premiere boardercross tour in North America,” Wescott said, because there has not been a professional tour of this kind since 2002. “As a result, we haven’t seen progress in course design and evolution of the sport. Putting an alternative to the World Cup out there gives a lot more riders a chance to stay in the sport professionally.”

The time trials begin Friday at noon. The competition Saturday begins at noon after a warm-up in the morning. An awards ceremony at 4:30 p.m. and an autograph session at 5 p.m. will follow.

The top 24 SBX athletes currently on the FIS World Cup tour along with other qualifying American riders will compete for more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. Among the names expected are 2006 Olympians like Nate Holland, Graham Watanabe and Jason Smith. Ross Powers won a bronze in the halfpipe in the 1998 Olympics and won gold in 2002. Rick Bower was the 1999 World Cup champion and an assistant coach with the Olympic team in 2006. Italy’s Simone Malusa, with nine World Cup podiums, Michal Novotny, the 2006 Czech National champion, and Austria’s Mario Fuchs, four World Cup podiums will also be among the field as will Nick Baumgartner, who won the USASA Nationals and US Extreme Boarderfest SBX events in 2004.

Wescott will not be competing after breaking his wrist earlier in the year.

The Sugarloaf event is the only stop this year in the United States. A spring date in British Columbia is currently in the works. The hope is the tour could make multiple stops across the U.S. and Canada next year.

Wescott designed the course competitors will race this weekend. The winner wins at least $10,000 in cash plus a Suzuki Motocross motorcycle. The course begins on the Lower Competition Hill and cuts over to Lower Narrow Gauge and features jumps, hips and rollers. The event is designed to be spectator-friendly and it includes viewing areas across the length of the course.

“There is no better representative of the sport of snowboarding than Seth or a better place to take snowboard cross to the next level,” said Sugarloaf President John Diller. “Seth built his dream of winning Olympic gold on Sugarloaf’s slopes. Events like this will inspire the next generation of Sugarloafers to follow in his footsteps.”


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