What do you get when you combine the snowy Maine landscape, a kid
with a plastic skateboard, a pair of 2’ borrowed skis, and a jumping
couch, but no TV? Olympic Gold – that’s what! Appearances in Warren
Miller ski films too.
Growing up in the great outdoors and mountains of Maine, Seth Wescott was the ultimate winter kid. “When Seth was little, I always knew where to find him. He just loved the outdoors,” said Margaret Gould Wescott, Seth’s mom. “We had snowshoes and cross-country skis that we used in the backyard. There was no formal instruction; it was simple and free, we just did things together outside as a family.”
According to Seth’s mom, on those rare occasions when Seth was inside, he was reading a book or jumping on the couch. “We had one couch for sitting and another for jumping. Everyone should have a jumping couch; you can get one at Goodwill for $20. Seth quickly learned to love being upside down and to be very physically active,” said Margaret Gould Wescott.
“Seth’s first skis were 2’ long with leather straps for bindings, hand me downs from his cousin.” Margaret remembers the day when Seth first went skiing at Saddleback. “That was a really important day for Seth.”
“Seth switched to snowboarding at age 10 and that really made him tick,” said Margaret. By age 12, Seth was building jumps and berms in the snow to ride – “no budget terrain parks,” and attracting other kids in the neighborhood to play in the snow.
Seth Wescott said, “It’s all about finding the best tool. My own personal connection with the snow is best on a snowboard, I love laying into a turn and having my head near the snow.”
Seth turned his passion for playing in the white snow into pure Gold at the 2006 Olympics. He won the first Winter Games Gold Medal for Maine in the Olympic snowboarder cross debut, a venue Wescott successfully petitioned the Olympic Committee to include in Turin.
“Seth had a vision; he knew what he loved and knew what he wanted. The capacity to do anything was always part of our family philosophy,” said Margaret. “Money (or lack of it) was never an excuse not to go out and do something.”
Now Seth Wescott is a spokesperson and role model to thousands of kids in Maine. “Seth has such a good heart,” said Margaret. “I love to see Seth talk with a kid and ask how to spell their name for an autograph.”
Seth Wescott said, “I feel like I had such great opportunities growing up to ski and snowboard in the Maine mountains, so I am glad to give back by reaching out to kids and encouraging them to get outside and participate in healthy winter sports.”
Wescott has a way of inspiring Maine’s next generation to jump off the couch, play in the snow, and be a WinterKid. To see him in action, watch the movie "Play Gravity".
Seth Wescott defended his Gold Medal win in snowboard cross from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, when he won Gold again in SBX at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler/Blackcomb, British Colombia. Mainers on the opposite coast were cheering for him from their jumping couches, and at Seth Wescott's restaurant, The Rack at Sugarloaf. Now Wescott is married and designing snowboards at Sugarloaf.
Seth Wescott was honored for his involvement with WinterKids at a fundraiser and has been inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame.
All Stories by Heather Burke
All Photography by Greg Burke.
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