Seth Wescott became a legend in 2006, when he won the gold medal in snowboard cross at the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. It was both his and the sport's Olympic debut, and Wescott jumped out to several leads so long he was pulling tricks while his competition tried to catch up. In case anyone doubted his dominance, Wescott repeated his golden performance four years later in Vancouver. Now, the 37-year-old Mainer is Sochi-bound and determined to three-peat.
Wescott's sport – a high-octane race that came into its own as an X Games staple – isn't for the timid. Snowboard cross pits four racers wearing full-face helmets against each other on a steep, narrow course though berms, rollers, and jumps. High-speed collisions are the norm.
Wescott, at six-foot-one, 195-pounds, is known for his brains as well as his brawn. In the 2010 Winter Olympics finals, Wescott found himself with the worst possible start position due to a mediocre qualifying time. Instead of chasing the field, he let his competitors get out in front then methodically reeled them in, one by one. He overtook Canadian Mike Robertson on the final two turns for the gold.
When he isn't competing, Westcott prefers to avoid tight quarters and heads toward wide-open spaces. He travels the world in search of pristine backcountry where he can carve fresh lines. When he gave us the lowdown on his favorite places to ride, the conversation spanned four continents and was punctuated by enthusiastic exclamations. The man likes what he does.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Because his close friend and former teammate Rob Kingwill lives in Jackson Hole, Seth Wescott visits at least every other year. Personal connections – and a whopping 4,139 feet of vertical drop – aside, Wescott is a fan of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for leading the industry in providing backcountry access right from the resort.
"The open backcountry gate system is incredible," he says. "You buckle up, hop on the tram, exit the gate, and bam! You're out there. The first few times I went, it just blew my mind."
Jackson is also the home of Teton Gravity Research (TGR). Founded in 1996, TGR produces feature-length films and numerous television series showcasing the world's top snowboard and ski athletes. "Jackson has reached mythic proportions because of TGR," says Wescott. "It's crazy to think that you can go out and ride the same terrain where you've watched generation after generation of superstars tearing it up."
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