How does an athlete from Bethel, Maine, earn the label “godfather of freeskiing?”

By not being overly obedient to his forefathers, for starters.

“I basically got into it because I didn’t like what was out there,” Simon Dumont said. “I didn’t care for racing at all. I tried moguls for about six months. I didn’t like people telling me how I should ski.”

Other elements of Dumont’s personality have afforded him that mythical status.

He’s 27; hardly an age automatically associated with parenting anything these days, but five years older than Olympic slopestyle gold medalist Joss Christensen.

And as godfathers often do, Dumont already is busy leaving gifts to his community and legacies to his sport.


The greatest local evidence of that vision and generosity — the sixth-annual Dumont Cup — begins Friday and concludes Saturday at Sunday River in Newry.

Dumont created the event. He inspired and helped design T72, the new, 15-acre terrain park trail upon which it will be contested. Constructed the dizzying combination of rails and jumps that will test grizzled professionals and wide-eyed teenage locals this weekend, too.

“It’s our first try at building a course,” Dumont said. “We were up until 3 o’clock (Thursday) morning getting everything ready.”

Christensen, of Salt Lake City, Utah, shocked the world and himself when he ascended to the top of the podium in Sochi.

Ask him where the ascent began and he’ll point to Sunday River, April 2009, and the inaugural Dumont Cup.

“I got second the first year. I was really just starting out. This event helped me a lot to put my name out there,” Christensen said. “It allows anybody who wants to compete. It has become one of the biggest competitions in the sport. It’s a platinum-level event, which is the highest you can get. It’s really cool. It gives a lot of people an opportunity to put on a show.”


Dumont is a 10-time X Games medalist and a world record holder, having launched 35.5 feet out of a 38-foot quarter-pipe at Sunday River in 2008.

“Our visions aligned,” Dumont said of himself and his home resort. “They see the interest in freeskiing. They’ve built an entire trail dedicated to it and to the Dumont Cup.”

When Dumont attaches his name to an event, the stars come out.

In addition to Christensen, the two competitors who helped him complete an American sweep of the Sochi podium in slopestyle — Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper — are scheduled to compete. Kenworthy and Goepper have combined for the past three Dumont Cup titles.

Another past winner, Todd Schlopy, is joined by Olympians Bobby Brown and Torin Yater-Wallace.

“We have a very deep talent pool. We have a lot of Olympic athletes and other professionals, and all the amateurs are getting better and better,” Dumont said. “It’s one of the deepest fields we’ve had. It will be a high level of competition.”


Christensen’s unlikely Olympic year began with the death of his father, J.D., in August 2013.

He didn’t hit his stride until late in the season, leading U.S. team coaches to put him on the roster as a discretionary pick.

“My whole goal this year was just to make the team. It was a really intense competition just to make it, because the team was four people and the U.S. is so strong. There were at least 10 riders fighting for a spot, and it was just a matter of who put it down when the time was right,” Christensen said. “I was able to sneak into fourth place and that was my whole goal. I was really happy just to end up qualifying, and then to come out on top, it’s still so surreal. I still have dreams where I’m trying to qualify, and then I wake up and see the medal there and it’s, ‘OK, that really happened.’”

Christensen passed up on other post-Olympic competitions, but not to rest his body.

He combined his love for the sport with another passion, filmmaking, traveling with two other skiers, a camera crew of three and a still photographer to war-torn Bosnia. When they weren’t recording tricks for a worldwide audience, the team toured abandoned, graffiti-covered 1984 Olympic venues in Sarajevo.

The gold medalist had one misadventure in the foreign land — a bite from a stray dog. He’s still being treated. “Shots on shots on shots,” Christensen wrote on Twitter.


But he won’t miss the unique event that helped start it all.

“I love the format. Anyone can sign up. It’s a jam format, so the pros and judges are skiing along with the others,” Christensen said. “You’re not just getting two runs. You’re getting a full day of proving yourself.”

It’s those wild-card, big-dreamers — Dumont remembers being one not so long ago, as a freshman at Telstar Regional High School — who give the event its personality.

The godfather’s advice to them?

“Just have fun,” Dumont said. “Do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it for the end result, whether it’s the Olympics or X Games or whatever. It’s a journey. Enjoy the journey.”

What: Sixth-annual Dumont Cup


Where: Sunday River, Newry

When: Friday (qualifying) and Saturday (finals)

At stake: $20,000 in cash and prizes

Past winners: Nick Goepper (2011, 2013), Gus Kenworthy (2012), Alex Schlopy (2010), Tom Wallisch (2009).

Competing: Goepper, Kenworthy, Schlopy, Joss Christensen (2014 Olympic gold medalist, slopestyle), Bobby Brown (Olympian), Torin Yater-Wallace (Olympian), McRae Williams, Matt Walker, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, Chris Laker, Vinnie Gagnier, P.K. Hunder, Kai Mahler.

The Simon Dumont file: Bethel native, 10-time X Games medalist, set world record for height on a quarter-pipe at Sunday River in 2008.

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