Had the great fortune to attend Maine golden boy Seth Wescott’s homecoming celebration at Sugarloaf, and hat’s off to the guy. Wescott’s love for his hometown and state is heartfelt, and Mainers know that. They also know he gives as good as he gets.
A humongous crowd showed up at the ‘loaf to welcome him home, and Seth didn’t disappoint. He rode in amidst throngs of eager kids, then took to a balcony podium, where Maine Governor John Baldacci congratulated him, before turning over the mic. Afterwards, Seth patiently sat and signed autographs for what must have been hours, giving each child his undivided attention for a minute or two as he signed, smiled for the photo, and engaged the kid in conversation.
Back in 1991, Seth said he attended the U.S. Open and watched his biggest heroes refuse to sign autographs for kids. “I said if I ever get to that point, it’s a way to give back; it motivates kids for years to come,” he said. “And I’d rather that than be a jerk.”
Seth is not only a motivator, but also a spokesperson for Maine’s WinterKids Program, which aims to get kids participating in winter sports. He sees his role as a “natural extension of the way I was introduced to the sport.” Neither of his parents skied, so it took initiative to not only take up the sport but keep with it. “Maine’s winters are long and cold, and there’s a lot of childhood obesity. It’s important to get kids outdoors to have fun.” And that’s, what WinterKids is all about.
Training at Sugarloaf
Seth also talked about his connection to the ‘loaf. When asked why he remains anchored here when so many athletes choose to move elsewhere to live and train, he said: “I don’t want to move my home. You can’t get a sense of home by changing your roots. It never crossed my mind to move.”
In high school, he’d look out the thrid floor window and see the back side of Sugarloaf. “I skipped a lot of school,” he quipped. “I feel more at home here than anywhere in the world. We spend so much time on the road.” Then he praised the local facilities—the mountain, CVA, and the Anti-Gravity Center: “These are equally as good as if not the best training and gym facilities anywhere in the U.S.”
Seth is aiming for the 2014 Olympics, and he’s also planning to play a role in Sugarloaf’s future. “Sugarloaf is in my heart. There’s a lot I want to do,” he said. He’s involved with a Vision 2020 program that’s setting long-term goals. “I want to help the mountain implement the potential of what this place has to offer. There’s another whole mountain to develop, so much potential to realize, and I’m excited to get involved to make that reality. The next 10 years are going to be exciting.”
We’ll be watching, Seth, we’ll be watching…