CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Seth Wescott was more interested in playing the part of a proud papa than a conquering hero Sunday after he won his first Sugarloaf Banked Slalom on Sunday.

Wescott, the owner of the only two Olympic boardercross gold medals, founded the two-day event three years ago and has seen it nearly double in size during that time. So he was more willing to crow about what he had created than what he had shredded on Sugarloaf’s Sidewinder.

“We had 86 the first year, 115 last year and we got to 157 this year, so it’s cool to see it growing that quick,” Wescott said.

Wescott’s paternalism extended to the man he beat for first place, World Cup snowboarder Alex Tuttle of Stratton.

“I’ve been mentoring him for the last few years and he’s gotten onto the U.S. national team now, so it wasn’t like it was going to be a gimme with him today,” Wescott said.

Wescott turned in the fastest time during Saturday’s two qualifying heats and went even faster Sunday, posting a winning time of 1:18.35, more than three seconds ahead of the 22-year-old Tuttle (1:21.90). Ryan Flynn, the 2012 champion, finished third in 1:23.18.


Tuttle, who attended Mt. Abram High School and Carrabassett Valley Academy,  is in his third season on the World Cup circuit. He flew in from Spain on Friday night to make his banked slalom debut Saturday, “super jet-lagged,” as he put it.

“I’ve always been in Europe racing the last two years. I was stoked to get here,” said Tuttle, who arrived back home early Saturday morning. “It’s just a perfect atmosphere for an event. It’s super laid-back. Everyone’s just out to have a good time It’s not nearly the same as racing in the World Cup.”

Tuttle and his fellow competitors encountered nearly perfect conditions throughout the weekend and a challenging course that tested their technique and endurance.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever ridden,” he added. “The approach is totally relaxed. Just stay high in the banks and generate speed. It’s not like you typical alpine race where you’re trying to jam at every single pin. Running it loose actually ends up being faster.”

As runner-up to Wescott, Tuttle earned a spot next year in the most famous of all banked slalom races, the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom (LBS) in Washington state, which served as Wescott’s inspiration to create an East Coast equivalent.

Wescott already sewed up a coveted spot by winning this year’s LBS.


“I’m stoked to go,” Tuttle said. “I’ve been wanting to go for years.”

Lindsay Stewart of Cape Elizabeth also earned an invitation to the LBS by defending her female title.

The 15-year-old had to rally to defeat CVA graduate Emily Eames, finishing the winding course in 1:33.60 on her second run to edge Eames best time, 1:33.82. Tessa O’Brien (1:34.66) was third.

“It’s been so fun,” Stewart said. “I didn’t expect this at all because Emily is such a good rider that I thought for sure she was going to win.

“There was a little more pressure,” she added, “but this year, the course was more technical and longer. The banks were a little bit smaller, so you really had to focus on riding high and pumping out through the end. I definitely wasn’t riding that well on Saturday, so I just wanted to come out (Sunday) and do the best I could.”

Wescott had similar personal goals Sunday.

A shoulder injury limited the 36-year-old to his role as organizer last year. Healthy again, he appears to be rounding into his old form after last month’s win at the LBS, an experience he likened to “being a kid in a candy store,” and a race he still holds in high esteem, even higher than his own race.

“At Baker, I still get to compete against some of my heroes,” Wescott said.

Who knows how many people left Sugarloaf Sunday saying the same thing?

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